11 Months

Clearly, Lucy is not a fan of the monthly photos anymore.

Here are some quick updates on our girl, as well as a post I never meant to write, but couldn't help.

Food: Lucy eats well; not much has changed there. We're trying to wean her off the bottle by introducing the sippy cup. She's not having it. I've had glimpses of her teenage self during this period of transition. She's rather talented at throwing things in protest.

Milestones: Baby girl is chatting up a storm these days. She still babbles most of the time, but it's becoming more consistent with her experiences, such as pointing and "asking" something in an inquisitive tone of voice. She can say "mama", "dada", "gah" or "dah" (both of these mean dog), "ki ka" (kitty cat), "neh ka" (necklace), "ah dah" (all done), "baba (bottle), and, her absolute favorite, "uh oh" which she likes to use whenever she purposefully drops something. Also, Lucy can sign "milk" and "bottle" (which can basically be used interchangeably), "mama", "please", "all done", "food" and "eat (again, used interchangeably), and "more". It's so fun to watch her learn language skills and see how quickly she picks everything up!

Lucy is also taking a few steps on her own. She can stand easily without support and move, but she usually gets so excited about walking that she'll start waving her arms and fall over. It's adorable. Full-fledge walking is coming soon...

Teeth: 6 (four on top, two on bottom)

Height/Weight: At her last appointment a month ago, Lucy weighed 22 pounds and was 28.5 inches long. She is already growing out of some of her 12 month clothing and wearing 18 month sizes.

Favorites: Mama, daddy, family and friends, being in new places, watching people, eating, playing, reading, sleeping, putting every. single. thing. in her mouth, bath time, Lamby (her stuffed lamb), being outdoors, sweet flavors, making music, dancing, and singing (she is starting to imitate melodies...and it kills me every time!)

Dislikes: Being in the car for too long, missing naps, playing alone in her crib for longer than five minutes, having her teeth brushed, having her face wiped, loud noises


One more month. That's all. And then baby Lucy won't be a baby anymore. She's already moving so quickly away from that particular category that it make me feel sort of panicked. And also sort of relieved. Sometimes I still can't believe we made it through the first month. Lucy was (is) such a sweet, easy-going child, but the emotions...oh, the emotions. The anxiety. The crippling fear that somehow I was going to end up breaking her and myself in the process. But that fear, although not completely gone, has slipped quietly under the bed of truth I now rest on and it only comes out in the dark moments, when the light isn't keeping it hidden and just as frightened of failing as the rest of us. That's all fear really is, I've decided. Insecure. Hoping to be noticed. Wanting to succeed. But it never will because it can't really. It's not real. Thank God for that.

As we get well into this new season, I've discovered a peace that certainly surpasses all understanding. Things aren't always easy, but that's what makes this peace so rich. So encompassing, like a favorite sweater, or a cup of coffee, during a winter storm. And having this peace, experiencing all these wonderful new joys during my favorite time of year, has given me a more intimate look at my Jesus, how He loves to love us. When I watch Lucy sleep, I feel what it must be like for our heavenly Father: the deep, burning desire to give her all the good things in the world. The hope that she will come to know and love her Savior, and that His love will pour out of her into everyone she meets. I see flashes of her future - talkative and curious at age four, gentle and imaginative at age seven, awkward and angsty at age thirteen, independent and headstrong at seventeen - and pray that she will come through every stage knowing a little bit more about how much we love her. And, yes, I pray that she will love me back. Because I might be an adult but being a mother makes me needy for love in ways I've never been before. I have felt it in the way it's meant to be felt: fully, unconditionally, down to the marrow of my bones. And there's no coming back from that.

I love you, Lucy darling. That's all there is to say.

A Walk with My Best Girl

Yesterday, after work, I took Lucy on a walk around the neighborhood. It was a perfect crisp afternoon and the leaves are starting to fall around here, so we couldn't pass it up. At the risk of sounding incredibly redundant, I just love this season. The last three months of the year are an eternal favorite, not least of all because of the holidays, particularly Christmas, but also because of the smells, the sounds, and the beautiful colors. The only downside to it is that cooler weather means winter is around the bend, but let's not talk about that now. Let's just talk about these pictures.

*Lucy's hat was a gift from a relative who is living as a missionary in Latvia with her husband

Lucy Picks a Pumpkin

Because it's an absolute must this time of year, and because it's Lucy's first Halloween ever. Here are a few photos to celebrate baby girl's first trip to the pumpkin patch. We plan on carving ours this week. And roasting seeds! Yum.

Because that just happened.

This is the blog post I've been waiting to write since, well, before blogs began. Definitely before I started this one, that's for sure.

I may have mentioned a few weeks back that I had submitted my novel to a small independent press near the end of summer. After two years of slugging it out, querying agent after agent, and receiving moderate success in terms of compliments and book requests but absolutely zero success in terms of acquiring an agent, I decided it was time to look elsewhere.

Earlier this year, a dear friend of mine was waiting on her acceptance letter to grad school. It was a tough time for her, filled with all the typical uncertainties we face when confronted with the approval of others, and I remember she said, "If I don't get into this grad school, I'll never be successful." And I, oh so blissfully unaware of the rejection letters still to come my way, told her, "You will be successful. You are already successful. And this school is just one of the many routes you can take to get where you want to go." I didn't realize at the time how true those words would come to be in my own life.

Sometime later, I was scrolling through the #MSWL (or "Manuscript Wish List") posts on Twitter. Funnily enough, this hash tag was created by one of the agents I met at the Atlanta Writer's Conference two years ago, the very same agent who had, days prior, rejected my query (it was a nice rejection, though, I must add). #MSWL is a place where agents and publishing companies can tell authors what kind of work they're seeking and a small press was looking for realistic young adult fiction.

Whaddya know? That's exactly what I write.

So I submitted a query and three sample chapters. Two weeks later, I got a full book request. And for the last five weeks I've been trying my best not to imagine the all-too-familiar sinking feeling that comes when I get a kindly-worded rejection letter in the mail.

Thankfully, I don't have to...because next week we start contract negotiations.

In other words, my book is being published, y'all! 

*Please let's pause for a moment so I can put down my computer and do yet another happy dance*

 Yesterday morning I received a response from the publishing team and wasn't quite sure what it meant. They told me how much they loved the characters and the book, and how it had sparked what they called "lively discussion" amongst them. And then they told me what they thought should be added to/taken away from the story to make it better. Of course, that's to be expected. But still. I had to think about that for a minute. What relieved me from my momentary discomfort, however, was the fact that they asked how I felt about their suggestions. What did I hope to accomplish with my story? So I told them. And five hours later, I got this response:

"Great! We're in agreement on the direction of the story. We'll start contract negotiations at the beginning of next week. We're looking forward to fleshing out this story with you and making a powerful statement to the teen community on the dangers of bullying."

I only got to the third sentence before I started ugly crying. Then I walked to the bedroom, held the phone out to Pierce, and we celebrated with lots of "Ohmigod"s and tears (mine) and hugs right there in the doorway of our bedroom. Lucy missed out on the festivities because she was sleeping. But I told her about it later. She threw her black beans at me, so I guess that's her way of saying congratulations.

I know I have a long road ahead of me. After the contract comes the edits. And after the edits comes the approval process. And after the approval process comes publishing day. Eventually, we'll get to the book release party (because I fully intend on having one of those, no matter the size of the print run). But I don't care. I really don't. Because this happened. It really and truly happened. And all my hard work has finally paid off.

I can't wait to see what comes next.

A Very Nunnery Weekend

We spent most of our time this weekend enjoying the perfection that is fall weather. We went to a softball game to cheer on Pierce's office team, which he decided not to join but more than made up for with his incredibly excellent sideline trash talking, and Lucy enjoyed her first fall festival (complete with petting zoo!) on Saturday at the monastery in Conyers. Mama here got to visit with friends and family, take a few walks around the neighborhood, and enjoy a homemade pumpkin spice coffee (or three). All in all, it was truly the perfect way to start this season.

Also? Gilmore Girls is on Netflix. Let the binge-watching commence!

A short little video of our weekend. Hope you had a great one, too!