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3 months old.

Today marks 3 months since a delicious little cupcake joined our lives on a blustery Christmas morning.  This little one has seen her fair share of snow in her mere 90 days of life (So glad I ended up choosing this one!).  But spring is here, and with it comes long walks to show her just how much she will love the great outdoors. 

Thus far, Dhara has been a pure delight.  She is so curious, she has quite the stare for pretty much everything she lays eyes on.  Her hand-eye coordination is picking up — with much wobbling, she’s able to purposely touch my face.  She holds her head up so high when she’s on her tummy.  She still has that bashful smile where she smiles and hides her face in your shoulder.  We think she’s going to be a calm one — not a crazy wild little beezer like I was.

She talks alot.  Lots of fake crying too.  I’m not sure what she’s thinking when she fake cries.  I wish I knew.  But it’s so fun to watch, because it sounds like she’s complaining about something.

Dhara has also recently noticed that she has hands.  She will accidentally see her hands, and then stare at them as she turns them back and forth.  She also loves to look in the mirror and see the other little baby girl staring right back at her.  She always seems so mezmerized by that girl.  She loves to smile and talk to her.  She doesn’t yet realize that the other baby girl is her.  It’s the sweetest thing to see!

She likes to stand on her feet.  She also likes to put her fists in her mouth — a habit we are trying to get rid of!  She enjoys licking your face and eating your nose if she can catch it in time before you move it away.

our baby story.

I decided to document our baby story because I feel like it’s a special one.  The following story involves a wife’s desire to have a baby, a husband’s desire for one too, a medical condition that made it hard, and a great great God who supernaturally granted the desires of His children’s hearts.

***

Back in August of 2008, my endocrinologist diagnosed me with a quite common condition found in women these days.  The condition makes it harder to have children — not impossible — but harder.  At the time, I was really discouraged, but Greg was not.  He believed by faith that nothing is impossible for God, and he encouraged me to do the same.  By faith, God would give us children. 

When given my diagnosis, my brain went straight to, “I’ll never have kids.”  It was something I thought about often.  I didn’t share this with Greg, because I didn’t want him to know I cared so much.  It meant being really vulnerable, and I wasn’t ready to go there yet concerning this womanly desire that dates back to when the world started going round.  It’s one of woman’s deepest longings.   

It remained a fear in my heart as we moved to Illinois for a 10 month internship in campus ministry.  We always said we’d try for our first child during the internship, so that by the time the internship was over, I’d be 9 months pregnant and ready for the next season of our lives.  It’s funny how our plans don’t always work the way we want them to, because 8 months into our internship, I still wasn’t pregnant.  And the thought, “I’m never going to have children”, kept playing over and over in my head.  I continued to keep this fear from Greg.  He believed in faith for our children, but I only believed in what I could see. 

I remember the time when Greg and I were sitting in our small living room — Greg on the couch, and me on the floor — and he said, “I want a baby.”  I nodded my head in agreement, thinking, “ohh, God knows I want one too, babe.”  One thing I really admire about my husband is that he always chooses to pray when he doesn’t know what to do next.  So that’s what we did that very moment.  We began praying.

That same month there was a couple that visited our church.  They came and were a part of our bible study that weekend.  Somehow the topic came up, and they shared how the wife could not conceive because she had an inverted uterus.  Their story was amazing because even though children seemed unlikely for them, they decided to stand on the promises of God, and believe that God was God of the impossible.  All three of their children were at the bible study with them.  I was so moved by their story that I whispered in Greg’s ear, “I want them to pray over us.”  He agreed.  They gladly prayed over us, and I could sense that they believed what they prayed for and who they prayed to. 

A few weeks later, Greg and I went to a conference in northern Illinois.  During one of the breaks, we were sitting in a Starbuck’s, and I don’t know what came over me, but I began telling Greg all my fears.  I’m usually a private person when it comes to sharing my fears, so I was surprised by my openness.  Greg was surprised by my fears because I never shared them, but he never made me feel stupid.  He encouraged me like a husband should encourage and love his wife.  He led me to Psalm 16:5, “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.”  After feeling somewhat comforted, I continued to read my daily readings for that day, and for that day was God’s rhema word to me in Acts 2:39: “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.”  Also, in Psalms 6:8-9, “Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.  The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer.”

I stopped in excitement once I read these passages.  I couldn’t believe that God was speaking right to my fear.  It wasn’t a passage I looked for, rather, it was part of my scheduled reading for that day.  I was completely moved by the Word of the Lord.  I felt so uplifted and safe knowing that God heard me and He knew my fears.  That same day at an altar call, our pastor, without knowing our situation, prayed children over us.  As we were kneeling, side by side, at the head of the church, Greg and I looked at each other with surprise because neither of us told him our desire for children — and it was something we talked about just a few hours earlier!

The very next week, at church, our pastor announced that a couple in the church was expecting a baby.  After church that day, a woman in the church came over to us and patted my belly congratulating me on the pregnancy.  She thought we were the couple expecting.  I corrected her and said that it was not us.  She quickly apologized, but then retracted her apology, saying, “No, I think you are pregnant!  Are you sure you aren’t pregnant?”  I shook my head and told her she was mistaken.  Then with a glimmer in her eye, she spoke faith over me, and said that I too would soon be pregnant if I wasn’t already.

A week later, I was sitting in church during a sermon, and I quietly heard the words, “you’re pregnant”, in my head.  I quickly shook those words away thinking it was my mind playing tricks on me, because it tended to do that alot.

A week later, Greg and I were at home on a quiet Saturday morning.  He was making cinnamon pancakes for breakfast, and I was putting the finishing touches on a baby quilt for a friend.  I casually mentioned to him that my menstrual period for that month was late — this being a common occurrence for me because of my medical condition — so it didn’t surprise me that I was late.  He said I should take a pregnancy test.  I disagreed because it was probably like all the other months of being late.  He requested that I just try and see what happens.  I said no.  That morning Greg went to the grocery store.  As soon as he left, I quickly ran to the bathroom, took out my dollar store pregnancy test, and took the test.  The results didn’t look very promising after the first minute.  I knew it — it was just like all the other months.  As I was about to throw the stick away, I noticed that there was a very faint “positive” line.  It was so faint, I was almost sure I was seeing the “positive” strip through the stick.  So I took another test.  The same thing happened.  So I took a third test.  The same thing happened again!  (Hey, these were dollar store tests, so I didn’t feel as bad taking three!). 

When Greg came back from the grocery store, knowing me so well, he asked me if I took the test.  I told him to go to the bathroom and tell me what he thought.  He took one look at the faint lines on all three tests and told me I was pregnant.  We both just looked at each other and smiled.     

***

Many would say, “coincidence.”  I say, God works miracles.  I know how I felt during those many months of desiring and wanting, and not getting.  I know how it felt to not know what to do, and cry out to God because there was nothing I could do.  And then to have supernatural appointments like God speaking to me through his Word or people praying my desires without them even knowing my desires, and lastly, getting pregnant immediately afterwards!  God makes Himself known.  We have to decide whether we believe by faith in Him, or not.  “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.  The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  Psalms 34:17-18       

I sit here today, holding my cozy sleeping baby in the crook of my left arm, and thanking Jesus for hearing our prayers, for holding my tears in a bottle, for speaking directly to me through others, for using other people to prophetically speak children over Greg and I, and lastly, for the gift of our Dhara dear.  She sure is a precious soul.  Thank you, Jesus.

“If I am faithless, You remain faithful.  You cannot deny Yourself.”

3 weeks old.

Her eye color remains a dark brown, while her jet black hair is slowly turning brown.  She’s a funny one, this Dhara.  She sleeps with her eyes open so she can watch if you put her down.  A smart little cookie indeed.  She wakes right up so we have to start the sleep dance all over again.  Before taking these pictures, she tricked me twice!  So we got Aunt Zuma to do her aunt thing and get this baby down for a nap so the photo hungry mommy could get her fill. 

[red ruffle cardigan sweater, from Gap + floral cotton dress, from FabIndia.] 

2 weeks old.

Already 2 weeks old!  I look at her now and wonder how ever did she fit in my belly?  Dhara has been more awake these past few days.  She has a fascination with staring outside at the earth in white.  I wonder what she thinks of this new world she’s in — compared to her previous world of warm amniotic fluid, closed quarters and muffled noises.  I had a sweet time today putting ribbon in her hair, cute cloth diapers on her tush, and preparing our little girl for stories of Narnia by giving her her first wardrobe experience.

[cloth diaper in joel dewberry deer print in green, from esbaby.]

baby smith handmade #2.

Project #2:  Shawl Collar Sweater.

I have always been one for a nice, thick, comfy sweater.  The kind that reminds you of fall leaves and winter snow.  The kind you wrap yourself in for a woodsy bonfire.  Shawl collar sweaters are especially nice for this.  I have a few myself, and thought that my little girl would like to feel as cozy as I feel when I’m in them.  This baby sweater in peacock blue is a comfy addition to any baby girl’s wardrobe. I used Debbie Bliss’ Ribbed Baby Jacket pattern in size 0-3 months found via Ravelry.  As for yarn, I used a beautiful skein of Manos del Urugu’ay yarn to knit this sweater.  The yarn has got a folksy handspun pure wool kettle dyed finish.

The finished sweater has got cuffed sleeves and a big brown button for kicks.  Baby clothes don’t have to be so baby anymore.  When choosing the yarn for this sweater, I remember walking into the yarn shop with a specific type of yarn in mind.  I told the lady behind the counter that I wanted to make a baby sweater, and she directed me to all the “baby yarns” in baby yellows, pinks and light purples.  I shook my head.  “Nope, this is not what I had in mind.”  I walked over to the bins of Manos yarn and instantly fell in love.  She disagreed with my selection for a baby sweater, but I bought 2 skeins anyway.  I love how warm this sweater makes me feel inside.  Makes me think of a log cabin and warm banana bread.  Thanks to Lakshmi for her help with the pattern!

[peacock blue skein of yarn, from Manos del Urugu’ay.]

***

Other Baby Smith Handmade Projects:

Project #1:  Scalloped Blanket.

What is Baby Smith Handmade?

baby smith handmade #1.

I’ve been meaning to post photos of Baby Smith Handmade projects, but got so wrapped up in preparing for baby, that I’ve not had time to put the finishing touches on these projects.  But this past weekend’s blizzard was a much needed time to spend on completing them.

Project #1:  Scalloped Quilted Blanket.

This blanket is oh, so cozy.  Two pieces of thin flannel sewed together to make a baby blanket that could work for all seasons.  I loved the striping on the fabric — it reminds me of the 70’s for some reason.  The quilting really makes this simple blanket into something special, I think.  And to top it off, back in September, Greg gifted me with my own custom-made susie mey clothing labels for finishing my Berean coursework on time!  Crafted and woven in Great Britain, these labels are so fantastic — they make sewing much more fun because you get to personalize what you’ve made.  I’ve always wanted to start my own children’s line…maybe one day I’ll get the chance.

What is Baby Smith Handmade?

sarah jane studios.

Greg and I were up last night in our new room hanging photographs and tapestries and preparing for baby.  My parents have been so gracious to let us have their 1st floor guest room for the unseen future — photos of that to come once I’m done nesting.  : )  Anyway, it’s a great sized room for this next season of our lives.  

For a couple months now, I’ve been on the search for a piece of artwork to place over the baby’s crib.  Something just for her.  I really love local artwork and always prefer that over the artwork found in department stores or store chains.  I was looking for something whimsical, nostalgic, girly and even childish.  I came across Sarah Jane Studios, and was delighted to see her sweet vintage designs for children.  She pretty much has a print for every season or month.  So, I chose December’s print, “Winter Cheer”, since baby will be a winter baby.

What Sarah Jane says about this print, “I remember as a girl sitting at my kitchen window at the snowy forest behind our house so calmed by the misty grey that winter brings.  I really love the magic in the winter forest…so delicate and quiet.  But then the Cardinal would come and draw my complete attention.  He was like a sign of hope.  My heart would race, and I would beg him to stay a while.”

It’s kind of neat too, because the crib faces our backyard window, which is a backyard of woods with cardinals and blue jays swooping in and out of the trees.  It will be a good reminder of living at grandma’s house for a time in her life. 

Coming in at a close second was Kiki + Polly’s, “Scooter” acrylic print by Oregon based artist, Lisa Golighty.  (Both Sarah Jane and Lisa Golighty have sweet blogs too!)   

[“Winter Cheer” print, from Sarah Jane Studios + “Scooter” print, from Kiki + Polly.]

folksy baby.

Behold are some darling little shoes from Ivory + Moss.  They’ve got a great selection of natural and eco-friendly baby shoes.  While I was on the subject of gifts, I thought I’d share about these folksy little shoes that my sister got for the baby.  I just love things that are folksy, warm, and cozy — not to mention shoes that are warm and folksy!  Give me that any day!  These handmade ‘Little Lamb Mary Janes’ are made of a natural felted wool, a faux leather vegan sole, and a wooden button closure.  Just darling!  Thanks Beckster!

A perfect match with this organic cotton kimono sweater from Nature Baby.  It’s got that great feel of soft Indian cotton.  So comfy and so, so sweet.

[“Little Lamb Mary Jane” felted wool shoes, from Ivory + Moss + organic cotton kimono sweater, from Nature Baby.]  

armoire.

Greg’s parents gifted Baby Girl Smith with a very thoughtful present — a beautiful armoire.  They wanted to give her something she could grow with and take with her when she leaves our home for a home of her own.  This armoire is truly fantastic.  We came across it in a neat store in downtown Baltimore.

It is an antique piece from the British/Indian rule.  The owner of the store, a humanitarian lawyer, purchased it from Rajasthan in North India and says that the armoire is about 110 years old.  Made from teak wood and about 7 feet tall — this is a true wardobe in every sense of the word — it was such a beast to get home (so very heavy)!  It reminds me of the armoire/wardrobe in the Chronicles of Narnia — just not as deep.  : )  Thanks Dad and Mom for such a precious gift — we’re pretty sure it will be a very special piece for Baby Smith all her life!

[antique Indian wardrobe, from A People United + painted Moroccan doorknob, from Anthropologie.]