Saturday, January 14, 2012

Joys of Parenting

I was recently out to dinner with some friends who don't have kids. Corrie and I were talking about how tough it has been getting used to life with two beautiful and straight crazy little girls. They commented that hearing all the difficulties doesn't quite "sell" the idea of parenthood to them. That conversation got me thinking ... though parenting is challenging (and will only get worse as the girls get older!), there are many amazing, joyful and fulfilling moments too. Below are just a few from the past few months.

  • As Ania nearly lost her mind during a drive yesterday, Corrie turned around and held her hand. Ania quickly squeezed Corrie's finger and held on for dear life ... and instantly stopped crying. A simple touch brought peace to the car. Eva then proceeded to sing a lullaby to "help" Ania fall asleep. Priceless.
  • Ania smiles. BIG smiles. I could stare into her eyes for days.
  • Every single day I come home from work I can see Corrie feeding Eva dinner through the kitchen window. As soon as my car door shuts Eva erupts with excitement because Daddy's home. There's no greater feeling then the shrill of excitement that comes from her mouth as I walk through the door.

  • Eva put on her own underwear. Awesome.
  • In December we went to Disneyland. Eva is a daughter after my own heart ... she excitedly rode the Matterhorn as a 2 year old! She gave huge hugs to every character she met and chased Goofy down the street in Toontown. Ania was a champ and rode quietly in her Baby Bjorn like it was the best ride in the place.

  • I was trying to choose a show for Eva to watch and asked her what she wanted to learn about. She is eating up the ABC's right now, so I assumed she'd want to watch a show about that. Instead, she quietly responded, "I want to learn about God." Slays me.
  • Watching all our friends, babysitters, and family members love our little girls just as much as we do brings joy to my heart. It's fun getting to do life together as one big extended family!

Though everyday isn't a walk in the park, it is these moments, memories ... these glimpses of grace and goodness ... that can bring sanity and joy to the soul.

May these thoughts be an encouragement to reflect upon similar moments in your own life today.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

How Do You Say Ania?

Our little one has finally arrived! We wanted to share a little bit more about her name and her birth. It took a little while, but all are doing well.

Last summer we took a vacation to Hawaii. While there we bumped into three moms at the beach who all had little ones that were Eva's age. While Eva played, Corrie started talking to one of the moms and found out they were all from Poland. Adam's family has a Polish background, so we started asking her about popular Polish names. The first one she shared was Ania, and Corrie and I were both pretty sure we had found our girl name. Ania (more commonly spelled and pronounced like Anya ... the Russian version), comes from the Hebrew name of Hannah which means grace. We know that we are always in need of God's grace, so we are happy to have this little daily Polish reminder as part of our family. Her middle name, Louise, was the name of Adam's late grandmother on his Mom's side. We're happy to honor her as well.

As for the birth story ... we'll be sharing limited details here. All you moms can get the play by play from Corrie :) Last we posted, we were still waiting. Literally within a few hours of sharing that news, and after drinking 2 ounces of castor oil, contractions started. Both of our parents excitedly made their way down, but the labor had subsided by 10pm. Corrie went to sleep, but was kindly awoken at 2am with more contractions. Around 6:30am we headed to the hospital just to get checked for peace of mind and they admitted us on the spot. Corrie labored in UCSD's Birthing Center ... the only one found in a hospital west of the Mississippi. The place is kind of like a medical day spa. The staff was incredible and we felt extremely lucky to have a Polish nurse who was with us every moment. A volunteer doula was also on hand the entire time as well. At 5:17pm, little Ania Louise was born!

Ania nearly slept through the night and we all got some much needed rest. We hope to come home from the hospital tonight or tomorrow morning. Until then, enjoy the pictures. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers through this process. So grateful to have such a great community.

Special thanks to Erica Ruse and Mai Pham for watching the newest big sister, Eva Jean, yesterday. The two just met for the first time!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Waiting Place

Corrie was due on October 15th. It is now October 21st and the baby still has not arrived. Like a fine wine, roasted turkey, or aged cheese ... some things just take a bit of time. We have both been learning how to live in the moment. Not that we really want to learn a life lesson right now, but we have enjoyed long walks, visiting every children's attraction in San Diego and just enjoying some calm with Eva and friends before the storm of Baby #2.

This morning Corrie had her midwife appointment, so here is the latest. In order to deliver in the Birthing Center at UCSD Hillcrest, she must start labor before next Sunday. We're keeping our fingers crossed and  hoping that baby comes before then. If not, she is scheduled to be induced next Sunday morning. She will receive regular stress tests until then to make sure all are healthy ... and today's results were great.

So we continue to sit and wait.

I also think my mother may have a hysterical pregnancy going on. She likes to text and send emails and do fire drills with my dad as they "pretend" to leave for the hospital. Provides good comic relief, and reminds us how excited everyone is for the arrival of our little one.

And Corrie just took a shot of castor oil. No joke.


Excerpt from Oh! The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss

The Waiting Place … for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Eva meeting Elmo at SeaWorld ... she kind has a crush.

First time with paints at the New Children's Museum.

Riding a turtle at the San Diego Zoo.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tic Tock

We are still waiting for our second little pumpkin to arrive. Never easy to live in the in between, but isn't that the case for most of life? We are attempting to take in all that a San Diego fall has to offer. Literally had a beach day last weekend. Corrie had her last day of work on Friday and is no hurry to deliver this baby. Due date is on Saturday. I keep thinking she will deliver early. We'll see!

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Summing up Summer

A lot of ground to cover. Life has been full and change is in the air around the Klekowski household.

Since our last post ...
  • Remember that trip I took to Haiti!? Our church did a huge effort to help Children of the Nations start a ministry there to children living at the epicenter of the earthquake. We hoped to maybe raise $100,000 ... we ended up raising nearly $250,000!! Corrie and I learned a ton through the experience and were blown away by everyone's generosity.
  • In May, Corrie took a new job as an employment attorney at Paul, Plevin, Sullivan, & Connaughton LLP. After several years at a smaller firm, Corrie was ready for a change and wanted to focus her practice. Though the job is a bit more demanding, she enjoys having a much smaller commute and really loves working downtown.
  • In June, we took a much needed vacation with some friends to Maui. Eva loved the hiking backpack as she got to see waterfalls that were "gorgeous" ... her words, not mine :)
  • This has been the first year since 2005 that I have not visited the continent of Africa, but Corrie and I still got to see some big dreams come true. Several years ago, Corrie connected with an amazing Malawian human rights attorney. The two of them came up with the idea to host a human rights clinic in a local village. The goal was to help educate and empower people about their basic rights and teach them what to do when they are violated (which, sadly, happens a lot). Through a lot of planning, a team of passionate people from our church hosted the first clinic in July! In addition, I had an idea for creating an Intern Exchange program for college students between our church and our sister church in Malawi. Four Americans and four Malawians swapped lives for a summer and their lives will never be the same. It was an eye opening and amazing experience for all involved. Corrie and I also got to host Pastor Sean (of Flood Malawi) and his wife for a few days as well.                                                                        
  • We attended several weddings and I got to officiate two of them ... one of the highlights of my job!
  • We once again entered the US Open Sandcastle Competition and took 2nd place. Though I still think we should have taken home the prize, it was a blast to spend the day building something out of nothing. Though she probably should have rested, Corrie joined the team with a 6 month old baby in her belly.                                                                     
  • The summer started with a change for Corrie and ends with a change for me. After 12 incredible years of college ministry (I started doing this as a freshmen in college!), I will no longer be a College Pastor at the end of this month. The reality of this change has not sunk in and though I am so grateful for the hundreds of students that I have gotten to know over the years, I am excited to move on to help our church pursue new endeavors. For several years we have been talking about expanding our church through new campuses and it is looking like we will be headed in that direction over the next year. This change will free me up to help lead the charge. Our College Group is in great hands. Along with an incredible volunteer team, a gifted guy I have been training (Adam Wright) for the past year and a half will be taking over.
  • Corrie just turned 30 yesterday and I follow on September 22nd. Eva turns 2 on October 4th.                                                     
  • Last, but certainly not least, Baby #2 will arrive (hopefully) sometime around October 15th. Though our hands will be full, we can't wait for the new addition. We'll keep you posted regarding all the exciting details of his or her (we both think her) arrival.

Just writing all this is making me tired. Corrie and I believe in living life to the full, but are learning the importance of rest as well. Thanks for journeying along with us.

In other breaking news ... Eva is starting to potty train. She took her first poop today and exclaimed, "It's a snake!" I think we're in for a ride with this one!

God bless,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eggs That Cost Me Nothing

Above is the evidence of my latest attempt to get one good picture of my moving-non-stop-furrowed-brow-goofball-girl-who-likes-to-color-on-her-forehead-and-in-her-ears.
Okay, well, first, I’m pregnant. 3.5 months along. Due October 15th. Feeling great. Not going to find out gender. Very excited. Hope we can handle another crazy monkey in the house.
Second, Adam is back from Haiti. It has been an adjustment to reconcile “normal” life here with the images and stories he witnessed there. He has been wise and intentional about taking the time to process those experiences.
The result of his trip is that Flood (our church) has decided to commit to helping Children of the Nations build a school in Haiti. As part of this commitment, Flood is attempting to raise $100,000 by Easter. More info here.
Adam and I feel strongly burdened to participate significantly in this campaign. I won’t recount all the moments or thoughts or urgings that swirl together to make up a conviction. But the result of the last few months is that we feel convicted to give an amount to the project that really requires us to sacrifice.
It is less about the amount, more about what it costs us to give. Looking through the bible recently I was reminded of how often God asks us to give to the point of our own discomfort. Like David says in Samuel 2:24, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord, my God, burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” Or, for example, in Mark 12, Jesus watches people putting money into the temple treasury. Many rich people put in large gifts, and then a poor widow puts in two small coins. Jesus says of her, “this poor widow has put more into the treasury thank all the others. They gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”
It is easy for me to give out of my excess and think myself generous for the gift. I am always the rich people giving out of their wealth large gifts that cost them nothing. Reflecting on this, Adam and I wanted this gift to be significant to us personally. So, we committed to a spending freeze for all of Spring. Basically our loose rules are that we are allowed to purchase necessities, but can’t purchase things that we just “want.” The money we save, goes to Haiti. And it should hurt.
Living on less has allowed me to see how little of what we spend is really necessary. Most everything I want I realize after pausing and thinking about it, that I really don’t want that much. Most of my wants are fed by impulsive desires just to soothe or reward myself and not by a true appetite for the item desired. To look those impulses in the eye and refuse to indulge them has been empowering. Though, I must admit that gift cards have come in handy these last few weeks. And it also helps that I am pregnant and therefore uninterested in new clothes.
I have also realized how much opportunity there is to share and re-use. Most of the things we want, we can find to borrow for free. If you want it, chances are someone has it and is not using it.
So, the result of all of this is twofold: (1) I realize that I can’t out-give God. Even when I try to sacrifice, it doesn't feel like sacrifice. It feels more like a gift to me than from me. (2) We need someone to donate plastic Easter eggs so Eva can have an Easter egg hunt in the backyard.
And if you happen to drop a gift card in one of the eggs for Eva’s parents, that will be accepted too. Or better yet, drop a Benjamin in an egg and we will add it to our gift for Haiti.