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Monday, January 30, 2012

Jake's Blessing

On January 1st, 2007, my long-forgotten childhood crush knocked on the front door. He was handsome and charming and wonderful, and he swept me off my feet. Exactly five years later, on New Year's Day, he blessed our baby boy.
It was fitting to celebrate our past five years together by marking a major milestone on our new path ahead. The past few months with Jake have been such a dream that experiences such as this seem to be the little pinches that confirm, yes, this parenthood thing is really happening. He is really ours.
Baby blessings are an important ordinance in our church, in which babies are officially given the name which they will be known by on the records of the church and are then given a special blessing to help guide their lives ahead. The night before Jake's blessing, after all the holiday festivities had died down, Matt and I laid in bed and talked late into the night, discussing our final thoughts on what we would like Matt to say in the blessing. It was a beautiful thing to spend so much time vocalizing our hopes and dreams for the life of our little boy and the man that he will become. We found it to be a formidable task to condense such things into just a few minutes of speech.
Jake wore booties made by his Great-Great-Grandma Chamberlain.
The morning of the blessing, we timed things ever-so-perfectly to make sure Jake would be a happy, sleepy baby during church. We woke him up earlier than usual, bathed him, played with him, fed him and swaddled him, but despite our best efforts, he was wide awake at 11 o'clock. When the time came, Matt took Jake in his arms and stood in a circle with our dads, my Grandpa Smith, Matt's brothers, my uncles, Jordan, and Chase, to give Jake his name and a blessing.

Matt thanked our Heavenly Father for our sweet little baby, and blessed Jake that he would be happy and find joy in the gospel and in the world around him. He blessed Jake that he would have the courage to stand for what is right, that he would live a life of integrity, and that he would one day lead his family in righteousness. Matt blessed Jake that he would desire to draw closer to our Savior, and said a few more words before closing in Jesus' name. It was beautiful.

Jake was calm, content and quiet throughout the entire blessing. He just didn't want to miss it, I suppose.
I was so grateful that my grandparents could be there. Both of them have had many health struggles throughout the past few years, and though my Grandma has struggled the most, it is now my Grandpa who is on dialysis and whom the doctors are most concerned about. The simple fact that he was able to participate in Jake's blessing will always be so special to me, and the simple act of sitting next to him and Grandma during that church meeting will forever be one of my most cherished memories.

After Jake's blessing, my Grandma took her frail, arthritic hand, and lovingly squeezed mine. Minutes later, as the Sacrament was passed, I held the water tray for my Grandma and watched as my Grandpa lifted the tiny water cup and gently fed it to my Grandma. It hadn't occurred to me before that this was something she could no longer do herself, and watching my Grandpa help her was so sweet and tender that it brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to freeze that picture of them forever.

I thought of them, fifty years ago, blessing their first baby. I thought of all the happiness and hardships they've encountered throughout their lives. I thought of the immense, enduring love that they share and the compassion that they so openly bestow upon one another. I thought of the incredible examples that they are of what a marriage should be. I thought of how much they mean to one another. And then I remembered my Grandpa's illness and the doctor's warnings and my mom's worry, and I wondered who would be there to help my Grandma take the Sacrament when he is gone. I felt the tears welling again as I pictured her heartache, and then all at once, my mind came back to the reason for the Sacrament, our Savior and His Atonement.

In that moment, I felt so much gratitude toward Him and His mercy, and His plan of happiness that will allow all of us -- my Grandpa and Grandma, Matt, Jake, and I, and all those in our families -- to be together forever. This knowledge brings so much happiness to our lives.
After taking a few pictures outside, we drove to the seminary building where my mom hosted a delicious lunch for our family and closest friends. Matt's parents and siblings had all made the drive down, and many of my aunts and uncles came to support us as well. Our friends Chase, Ali and Brian were also able to attend. We spent the next few hours passing Jake around as we visited with our guests.
It was so wonderful to share Jake's special day with so many people that we love and that love him, too.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Today, I braved my first track workout since Jake's birth. The weather was beautiful, the track was empty, and I couldn't help but smile as I pushed my limits. Oh, it felt so good to run hard again! But then, as I rounded the final corner of an 800M repeat, I noticed that I had company. And not just any company.
A big coyote stood about eight feet in front of me, eyes fixed on mine, mouth open.
This Google images coyote was not my running buddy, but you get the idea.
It, obviously, startled me and I let out a bit of a shriek. That's probably not the appropriate procedure when you encounter a huge coyote, but I didn't stay to find out. Which turned out to be a good thing anyway, because approximately thirty seconds after walking into the gym, I found myself standing over a toilet emptying my stomach. Afterward, as I finished my workout on the elliptical, I admitted to myself that perhaps my body still isn't ready to go quite as hard as it did pre-baby. (Also, that perhaps adding a leftover brownie to my pre-workout breakfast wasn't the best idea...) But hey, speaking of my baby, that's who this post is really about!

I'm still playing catch-up on here, but am happy to report that I should be fully up-to-date in two weeks thanks to a slower-paced January. That said, please enjoy random pictures of my Jake throughout the month of December.

He turned 3 months old at the beginning of the month.
One Sunday afternoon, we headed down the road a couple miles for a Christmas card picture session. Then we came home and cuddled.
The rest of the month, Jake did rather exciting things such as eat, play and sleep. Okay, he did more exciting things, too, but I've already blogged about all those. So, eating. Jake became enamored with eating anything that came near his mouth, such as his parent's fingers or his stuffed animals. His favorite thing to "eat," however, is his own hands (preferably two at a time) -- despite Matt's explanation that his fists will never fit in his mouth.
Playing is just as much fun for us as it is for Jake. We come up with all sorts of silly games all day long and Jake is all sorts of expressive, so it's fantastic.
Ah, and sleeping. The holy grail of babyhood. Jake was really good at it prior to our trip to Utah for the holidays, although he's always been closer to the minimum "recommended" hours of baby sleep. He likes to be awake so he doesn't miss anything! But if he has to sleep, he prefers sleeping on his parents. Or at least in his parents' bed. Or at the very least, with his mobile on, because clearly, being alone in bed when it's quiet is bo-ring.
We love that little guy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Jake finally made his debut at Matt's office last month. He dressed for the occasion in his soft airplane sweater and Air Force socks, and then braved our only wintery day to visit his Daddy. Jake saved all of his smiles for Matt's coworkers and instantly wrapped all the ladies around his little fingers. He was so charming, in fact, that his presence was then demanded at all of the adult-only holiday parties. What can he say? He's a popular little guy.
Being the center of attention sure is tiring, though.
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