Wednesday, August 17, 2011

For Mamas and Dadas

In Beth Moore's book, Things Pondered, she has a sweet section on children. While I haven't experienced all of these things just yet, it was just too good to splice and dice. Maybe some piece of this writing will remind you of days with your children and touch your heart like it did mine.

I Like Children

I like the way they're always full of they have a mind of their own from the very beginning and arrive just in time to be two weeks late. I like the way they look like little strangers the moment you feast your eyes on them...totally unrecognizable yet freshly detached from your own body. I like the way they come to your hospital room in a plain white blanket, wrapped so tightly and with such precision you wonder if they'll have to wear it to college. I like how they look in their baby bed the very first time you tuck them in it it--so small you decide they better sleep in your room. :)
I like the funny expressions they make while they're dozing and how they crack an awkward smile as if they've tagged an angel. I like the way they yawn with their whole bodies and how the stork bites on the backs of their necks are often as plain as day. I like the way they never go for the applesauce disguising the pureed liver. I like how they smell after their grannies bathe them and bring them to their mamas. I like the soft bristles of their brushes and how their hair looks when you first get it to part.
I like the way they love you more than anyone else on earth has ever loved you. I like how they quiet to your whisper after all your friends and relatives have desperately tried to calm them. I like the first time they reach their arms out to you. I like having the prerogative not to lay them down for a nap and rocking them instead for all three house if you have a mind to.
I like the way they learn to entertain all the patrons at the restaurant with a spoon on the metal tray of a high chair. I like how they first say Mama and Dad with twenty syllables each. I like the dimples their knees make when they first learn to stand. I like how they learn to walk because they want to get to you. And, boy, do I like footie pajamas...until the next morning when no telling what is in the footie. I like the way the know they're going to Mother's Day Out the instant they wake up. And they're not in the mood. And I love sleepy hair. You it looks all fuzzy on one side when they first wake up.
I like the sudden discovery of sentences as their thoughts take the form of endless, delightful vocabulary. I like how you nearly die laughing once you realize what they're trying to say. I like the way neighbors don't realize they've just been insulted because they can't understand a word out of their mouths. I like the way "R's" don't appear in their alphabet until they are at least five years old. I like their simple rules of socialization...move or I push...gimme or I bite.
I like how little girls think pink chiffon dresses are divine and little boys wear their cowboy boots with shorts. I like the way little girls prefer umbrellas and little boys--puddles. I like how they look on the first day of kindergarten--from the front. Not from the back. I like taking pictures of them with their friends every year on the first day of school...that is, until you come across that very first on in the drawer. And you cry. 'Cause it went too fast. And you can't go back. I like the way they know it's time to go even when Mommy doesn't agree. Because that's the way it should be.
I like how your children like you even better when they're grown. And how, if you're really lucky, they might have children of their own. And you can try it once more.
And maybe do a little better. Because I like children.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Twiddling my Thumbs

Well, 40 weeks have nearly come and gone. We are 5 days away from our estimated due date, and I find myself a little anxious, very excited, and mostly just sitting around twiddling my thumbs...waiting for any sign that labor may be around the corner.

My sister-in-law has told me that little Olivia will come when I'm good and miserable. I don't think I've reached my breaking point just yet, but I will say that having a uterus the size of a watermelon and a bladder the size of a tangerine definitely has cut into my sleep-time. And pregnancy brain has most definitely got the best of me. (One day I put some trash down the laundry shoot and my dirty socks in the trash can...whoops.) Oh, and the special side-roll-push-up I have developed to get off the couch or out of bed would put some of our armed forces to shame.

On a serious note, this pregnancy has really been a blessing. The fact that this little one has hijacked my body (and my mind, my heart, my emotions, etc. etc.) has been a refreshing reminder that "it's not about me". Too often I allow our me-centered culture to creep into my heart and I focus my day on my needs and my wants, when there are people around me that I could serve with my time and my prayers. I pray that this "sacrifice" called pregnancy will bend my heart to make sacrifices for all the other people God has purposefully placed in my life.

Here are a few pictures to hold you over till Livie makes her grand debut:

12 weeks pregnant

38 weeks pregnant

Finished Nursery

We've read all the baby books, pacifiers have been sterilized, nursery is complete, and our bags are packed:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Year in Review

The year of 2010 has come to a close, and I can hardly believe how quickly it flew by.

We have so much to be thankful for... we were married in January surrounded by our amazing family and friends. We then settled into our home in Cleveland, OH where Chris continued his fellowship training in Cardiology, and in February I began work as a PA. In June, Chris finished up his 1st year of training and was awarded the "CICU first year fellow of the year award". How proud is this wife? :) August brought news that we were expecting our first child. And although it was bittersweet, in December we celebrated the life of my grandpap, Charles Friend.

One of my uncles spoke at the funeral, and I think what he said is relevant to everyone as they begin a new year, so I'd like to share it. He said that Grandpap's passing is a pivotal moment in our lives. Things will never be the same without him here with us. And when we come to a pivotal moment in our lives, we have to pivot. We take a slight turn off the path that we were on and head down another. It may not be comfortable or easy at first, but eventually you will see that life and joy are found on this path, too.

And so, 2011 begins...I have pivoted and find myself here. Ready to start a new year, where I will once again witness that God's mercies truly are new - every morning. Where Chris and I will celebrate the ups -and downs- of a 2nd year of marriage. And where we will prepare for and receive the birth of our little girl. (Yes, I said GIRL!!)

Meet Olivia Joy Huff. "Olivia" is just a name we have always liked, with the nickname of "Livie". "Joy" is my Grandma Erenrich's middle name. My Grandma truly is joyful, and has the heart of a servant...if Olivia turns out anything like my Grandma, we will be honored.

(For those of you who can't get oriented to the ultrasound are looking at a profile view of her laying down. Her two feet are almost straight up in the air, kicking my abdomen. I can't wait till I can actually feel those precious kicks.)

I pray that whether you had a tough year or an awesome year in 2010, that you pivot into 2011 expecting it to be filled with new and exciting opportunities and experiences. Love you all!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


In September, Chris and I found out that we were pregnant, and he quickly tagged me with the nickname, Preggosaurus Frex. (Pregnant with freckles.) I must admit that at 4 weeks along in my pregnancy, when my washboard abs were still present (just kidding, I've never had them in my life), I found this name to be quite endearing. Chis would come home from work and say, "What up Preggosaurus Frex?", and I would smile and laugh like a little school girl. forward to 13 weeks pregnant, when my body is growing and stretching in awkward ways, and suddenly being compared to T-Rex isn't quite so cute. I can only imagine how endearing it will be when I am 40 weeks pregnant and can no longer see my feet!

I must admit that being pregnant isn't exactly what I thought it would be. I thought it was all about having that "pregnancy glow" and resting your hand on your growing belly. They fail to tell you that the "glow" is really just an oily, flushed face. Or that I wouldn't know the difference between being hungry and being nauseous. Or that the movies and tv shows that used to make this emotional girl's eyes water, would now embarrassingly send her to the bathroom to try to muffle her sobs. I'm also pretty sure that if you put me in the field with Cody (our Labrador retriever), I could probably sniff out the duck before he could.

With all that being said, Chris and I are very excited about the whole thing. We tried to pray for our little one, but in the beginning found this to be very difficult. How do you pray for something that you can't see or feel, and truthfully have trouble believing even exists. But then I found a weekly pregnancy devotional/prayer book called "Expecting" by Marla Taviano, and read the following...

"... I pray for my soon to be child. I so want her to get off to a beautiful start in life. I want her to be strong and independent and unique and glowing. I want her to know love and hope and faith. I want her to be everything she dreams of being-everything YOU dream for her..."

"God, please bless my child with discernment and wisdom. May he know the difference between good and evil, truth and falsehood. And may he never be separated-divided-from Your love."

"May our home be the place she runs to when she needs shelter from the storms of life. May our home be a place she feels comfortable bringing her friends. May our home be a place where she learns about Jesus and feels His presence."

Brain: "Help him to use his mind in hundreds of positive ways. Although IQ doesn't matter, bless him with intelligence so that he might use it to be a blessing to others. Help him to love you, Lord, not just with his heart but with his mind."

Heart: "I so want my child to be tender-hearted, never calloused or uncaring. I want his heart to be pliable-easily squeezed with joy and even easily constricted with pain. I hate to think of his heart being broken, but a hard heart lacks the capacity to know true love. Lord, will you give him a soft heart, yet protect it as well? May he have a heart for the things you love."

Ears: "Lord, may she use her ears to listen to you. You speak to us in that still, small voice, and if we're not ready and listening, we can miss it. Help her not to miss your voice, Lord. Help her to hear your call on her heart and life-and heed it."

Eyelids: "I so want my child to fix his eyes on good and healthy things. Help me to fill his little corner of the world with beauty and brilliance. And help me to point out your hand at work in the world at every opportunity."

Neck muscles: "God, I pray that he will be able to hold his head high, to be confident in who he is. And may that same neck that holds his head up also help him bow his head low in worship to you, his Creator."

Hands: "May she be less worried about keeping her hands physically beautiful and more concerned about attending to the needs of others. Bless those little hands, God. May they not be idle, but may they always be reaching out and touching the lives of every person she meets."

And then I ran to the bathroom to muffle my sobs! :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I am WAY behind in the world of blogging, but I happen to have a few things brewing that will be coming your way shortly. In the meantime, I wanted to share a blog post from a friend.

A few years ago I traveled with a few friends from college to Zambia, Africa. Jacob Schwertfeger was one of those friends. After Jacob graduated, he married an awesome girl, Jessi, and they headed back to Zambia as missionaries. It has been four years since the Schwertfegers began their journey, and with Sunda (their 4 year old daughter they adopted) and baby Kya (their most recent addition to the family) in tow, they continue to spread the gospel through Overland Missions.

If you've ever let your circumstances and emotions run your day, Jessi's latest post is for you... "Today I decided"


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

To all you MAMAS

When my mom was younger, she dreamt of having a house full of six wild and crazy boys. But what she got instead was this...

...three sweet rotten, well-behaved orinary, girls. Aren't we cute? and weird because we let our mother dress us up like grandmas for a photo shoot.

There is an infamous story that still gets told now and again around the Erenrich household that exemplifies how at times being a mother can be quite frustrating. It was dinner time at the Erenrich's, and my mom came home from a long day at work to slave away in the kitchen making her yummy spaghetti. (Abby, Rachel, and I were probably about the ages we are in the picture above.) My mom hands us each a plate so that she can fill it up for us, and asks us to carefully take it outside to the back porch, where we happily ate most of our meals in the summertime. Abby went first, and she was about to the back door that opens out onto the porch when she spilled her entire plate of spaghetti everywhere. Flustered, my mom decided to get Rachel and I outside before she dealt with the mess and could get Abby another helping of spaghetti. She filled Rachel's plate and sent her through the living room, out the front door and in through the gate to the back yard. Well, Rachel almost made it all that way, but at the gate she toppled her spaghetti all over the metal fence. My poor mom! I don't even remember if we ended up dividing up the remaining spaghetti among us, or if we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...but I know it must have been impossible to work all day, then come home and cook dinner for a few clumsy kids.

(I realize this looks bad because I just told a story that makes me look like an angel because I didn't spill my spaghetti. But don't be fooled. I was the most misbehaved child of the three and just so happen to at times have the benefit of going last and watching and learning from my older sisters.)

Anyhow, my mom, who lost her own mother when she was just 13 years old, raised each of us like a pro...and I like to think we turned out okay...

So whether you are a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) working hard like June Cleaver who always looks beautiful in her pearls while she cleans who makes moms everywhere feel inadequate.

...or a mom who is balancing a full-time job, a house, and kids her...

...or a mom who is dealing with a husband who is at times more work than the this one...

...whoever you are, and whatever crazy thing motherhood has thrown at you, this weekend is your weekend to enjoy. Briefly, while you carry on with the working, cooking, cleaning, and mothering.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a couple other mamas that are special to me this year. The first one is my mother-in-law...
Without her there would never have been this little guy...

...who turned into this handsome man...

And the last two mamas are two of my best friends. Stephanie is a mother to Noah, who is almost 2, and she just gave birth to Gwen about a week ago...
And miss Danielle will be a first-time-mama to a little boy this fall...

In the comments section I would LOVE to hear the best OR the most ridiculous present you've ever received or been given for mother's gives me something to look forward to in the years to come. :)


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Politics, Tiaras, and Tim Tebow

I have never been one to get deep into politics. In fact, there are times when I don't even allow my toes to touch the water. (Please, no lectures on the importance of voting.) Nevertheless, there is one political subject I do dare to dive into from time to time...and it just so happens to have a little to do with Mr. Tim Tebow and tiaras.

I'm sure most of you caught the Superbowl commercial that showcased Tim Tebow's mother telling her story of how the doctors suggested she abort her baby due to negative risks and circumstances surrounding her pregnancy. She chose life and now that little baby is a good-looking, smart, nationally-recognized athlete, who does mission work in the Phillipines in his spare time. Pretty impressive...and a pretty clever way for Focus on the Family to slip a pro-life message into one of the most watched television events of the year. And while I am a fan of Tim Tebow and his obedience in representing God on such a large stage, I happen to be pro-life for other reasons...God? Absolutely. But sister, Abby.

Not much was recognized as out of the ordinary with Abby until she was about 3 years old. She has multiple diagnoses with mild mental retardation, mild OCD, and mild cerebral palsy all being within the mix. We have often wondered if Abby had been born in this decade if she would have been given a more accurate diagnosis. And there is also the question as to whether my parents would have been given the option to abort if anything odd had been detected on ultrasound or blood and fluid tests.
Even if they had, my parents would never have considered it, because I know that they believed with all their heart that God had given them this child for a reason...or as I like to believe...for multiple reasons.

I believe one of those multiple reasons Abby is here is to make people laugh. Abby calls my dad her "old man", my mom her "moo moo", Rachel is "Roach" and I am "Matika"...and I can bet you that atleast 10 others of you reading this have been nicknamed by her, as well. She has a few famous quotes floating around out being from the night she was laying in a hospital bed. She had a nurse holding each of her arms out trying to get an IV started and she exclaimed, "Now I know what God felt like." And about the time the movie "Dead Man Walking" came out, our elderly dog was walking in circles and falling down stairs...every time we heard a boom you would probably hear Abby say, "Dead dog...dead dog walking."

In addition to Abby's humor, she also has a softer side. I remember taking her to see "Herbie Fully-loaded". There is a scene in the movie when Herbie is trapped in a monster truck rally show and they are all trying to run him over. Abby turned to me and on the verge of tears said, "I wanna go home." She cares a lot about other people and is always asking how you are doing...her facebook wall-post of the century goes a little something like, "Hi (insert your name here), hows your day?"(repeat :) ) She supports an orphan in the Dominican Republic through Compassion International, has donated her hair to Locks of Love more than once, and has aspirations of teaching inner-city kids in New York how to dance. (Warms your heart, doesn't it?)

In the last few years, Abby's development has sky-rocketed. God is the ultimate reason Abby is who she is today, but He has definitely used multiple vessels along the way to ensure her progress. First and foremost, my parents...God could not have picked a more compassionate and patient father or a more fun and disciplined mother to be her best friend. Secondly, I'd love to mention names of others of you that have been there and are still there, but I'm pretty sure this post would turn into one of those genealogy chapters in the Bible that most people skip over...there are just so many people, and you know who you are. Whether you gave her a hug in public and made her smile that bashful grin we all know and love, or dressed up with her on Halloween, took her to the movies, had a frozen frappe-whatever with her, baked cookies with her, or danced around in her room doing one of her crazy workout dances...know that my family is so thankful.

(I know this is the never-ending post, but please bear with me, i'm almost done...)

For years Abby sat back and watched as Rachel and I received awards and recognitions for different things...but one night last May, Abby got her shot to outshine us all. My family, aunts, uncles, and friends filled up a whole row at the Miss Ability Pageant 2009...a pageant put on for young people with disabilities that allows them to sing, dance, interview, wear frilly gowns...the whole bit. Now, maybe she wasn't up there saving children in the Phillipines, making the Dean's list at the University of Florida, or winning the Heisman trophy...but I will tell you that when they announced Abby as the winner and put that tiara on her head, there wasn't a dry eye in our entire row, and I'm betting you couldn't have shoved even one more ounce of pride in our hearts. It was truly one of the most amazing feelings I have ever felt in my entire life. Look at her poise...

I would not be who I am today without this girl in my life...and I know many people out there are in similar situations with children/siblings/friends, etc. and know exactly what I'm talking about.

Am I betcha...

**If anyone wants to, feel free to share a funny moment you've had with Abby, or something hilarious you've heard her say...Rachel and I have always said we were going to keep an Abby's Quote's Book, but we are quickly forgetting us!! :)