Titus Adams Mosher: 21 Month Update

Yep, you read that correctly.

I thought I’d be someone who stopped saying, “Oh, my child is ____ months old,” after the first 12 months. Nope. Not sure why it stuck, but it did.

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I discontinued the monthly updates back when Titus turned a year old because his health was well on its way to bouncing back and, honestly, those posts were getting pretty boring to write and I have a baby book to write in. However, Titus still has some skills to work on even though his pediatrician removed his failure-to-thrive diagnosis last August.

Ty’s currently going through bi-monthly physical therapy to work on his gross motor skills. We started out with some pretty small goals. His personality is really hard to work with — not that he’s a difficult child, he’s just extremely unmotivated (so me, times like a thousand). He’s too laid back — if that’s even a thing.

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So, back in August, one of our first goals was to get him to use his pointer finger. Lazy Titus wanted to use his entire hand to point at something or for any fine motor skills. He mastered that quickly (now, I’m trying to get him to stop pointing at people in public. Whoops).

Now, 7 months into physical therapy, our goal is to see Titus walk independently within the next few months. We’re impressed with how quickly he’s catching on to his gross motor skills — he seems to get a little faster and stronger each day. But he’s still very cautious. Little by little, he’s getting more independent and more adventurous.

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One thing we considering is getting him orthotics. The orthotics will act like little braces for his feet, helping him with his muscle tone, stability, balance, and the bone structure in his heels. The way his feet look and work right now is typical for a child who is just learning to walk, however it’s not typical for a kid his age. For now, we’re giving him some time to see how he progresses and hopefully we won’t need to buy the orthotics.

Also, his favorite word is “car”, he loves “num-nas” (bananas), he likes to pray and dance (not at the same time — we’re still Southern Baptists deep down), and today he started jamming his finger up his nostril for fun. So, all in all, I think we’re raising a pretty healthy little boy!

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I Had A Bad Day

I think an alternative, but equally powerful title for this post could be: “I’m Really, Really Tired.”

Tonight, I stood at our front door and pointed my car key fob at the door knob and pressed the unlock button. This is not an exaggeration.

Life is exhausting right now. Dustin and I feel like we’re solo parenting 95% of the time, because he’s asleep when I’m awake and I’m at work while he’s at home. Then, once Titus is in bed, I start my second job and by that time Dustin is at work, then I go to sleep. I can’t even keep up with the two sentences I just typed, let alone live them.

We’re tired. And I know we aren’t the only ones who are tired. Humankind is exhausted, because life is just exhausting. I don’t know when the exhaustion stops, or if it ever does. Will I just be tired until the day I die? It feels that way sometimes.

The biggest problem with being tired is when I lose sight of who I am. I start viewing myself as a martyr. I think my family is out to get me. In my exhausted state of mind, Dustin is killing me with the dirty dishes in the sink. Titus is killing me with disobedience.

Then I overreact. Once I realize I’m overreacting, I apologize to Dustin. But the cycle starts all over again the next day. And I think to myself, “I’m just having a bad day.” (Also, isn’t it really terrible that family usually gets the brunt of our off days?)

But my days aren’t so bad. They’re actually really great. I’m finding more and more that what I really need is rest.

Complete, unadulterated rest. Rest in Jesus. When I don’t spend a part of my day filling up my mind with truth, I can guarantee it’s going to be a “bad day.” It’s going to be a day when I believe lies — the tiny little arrows penetrating my heart.

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You aren’t good enough. Ouch.

You’re a bad mom. Ouch.

He doesn’t love you. Ouch.

But truth covers those wounds like a healing balm. I remember who I am and I remember my calling.

In this moment, exhaustion subsides. When Jesus says, “I know you’re weary, but my burden is light,” I breathe a sigh of relief and the weight shifts.

What Would Jesus Do For Refugees?

Silence is something I can’t take for granted anymore. Sometimes I wake up early enough to brew tea the old fashioned way, sit with my feet tucked under me in our recliner, and watch the sun rise from my favorite corner of the living room. When all is still, I think of the long-haired little boy sleeping soundly in his crib. His belly is full. His arms and legs are sprawled out in a position that only babies can sleep in. He breathes slow and — when he’s in a deep sleep — he softly snores. He is content, safe, and happy. 

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I love my silent home. I can think and plan and pray and read. 

Today, my home is silent, but my thoughts are carried to the mothers who aren’t experiencing the peaceful blanket of quiet.

I think of gun shots. Aircrafts. Crying.

I think of screams and the wailing of parents who watch their children suffer because there is no peace where they live. 

I think of the people whose lives look simultaneously very different and very similar to mine. We love our children. We pray for them. We would do anything to protect them.

Except — it is much easier for me to do that, than for the Syrian woman who holds her dying infant in her arms. By the grace of God, I was born here. 

“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)

No human being should be forced to endure the terror that strikes your heart when your child is in danger.

No human being should be afraid for their lives.

And no human being who is criminally trafficked, targeted, and driven out of their country should be denied aid. 

While Americans spend a leisurely Sunday morning freely worshipping as the Body of Christ, men helplessly watch their wives taken. Women cry out in desperate sorrow as their children die right before their eyes. Children witness the murder of their parents and siblings.

“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)

True help, true love begins with the Church. 

I am pro-life in every sense of the word. Age has shown me that the pro-life movement can’t stop with the unborn. The pro-life movement values children in the womb, mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, aunts, and grandparents of every race, religion, and ethnicity.

Christ called the hungry and broken to Himself. Shouldn’t we be the hands and feet of the One who sacrificed His life for the sake of millions of other lives?

Would I value my life over the life of a child growing inside me? No.

Should I value my life over the lives of millions of people left hungry and shelterless? Would Jesus?

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:25-36)

For facts about the Syrian refugee crisis, click here. For ways to assist and love refugees in Lancaster Country, click here.

I Did Not Know Fear Until I Became a Mother

Photo by Juliana Bird Photography.

 

I’ve done a couple of things in my life that made me afraid. Nothing crazy or especially dangerous. I’ve been around other people doing dangerous things, but I tend to be a bystander in those situations. I’d rather be safe than sorry, as they say. I didn’t know real fear, though, until Titus was the size of a pea in my belly.

Once I knew he existed, fears flooded my mind. I memorized the list of things you should never do when you’re pregnant. No soft cheese, deli meat, swordfish (gross), alcohol, cold medicine, or caffeine for me. I stuck to the list, because I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t.

The day after I hit the 6-week mark, I started throwing up. I didn’t stop throwing up until 6:00pm on June 18, 2015 — right before Titus was born. There was a stretch of time that I threw up over 20 times each day. I remember sitting on the bathroom floor, eating tiny pieces of ginger candy and sour gummy worms because I knew I had to eat something for this baby that was inside of me. Something had to get to my stomach so that he could grow (Reality check: babies grow even when you throw everything up. They steal your nutrients and calories no matter what because they’re itty bitty little thieves and they will keep taking things from you until the day you die. I know this because tonight, half of my dinner went into Ty’s mouth instead of mine.). I was so afraid of my body wreaking havoc on his body. I was so afraid to get up in the morning because I knew I’d spend the whole day kneeling in front of a toilet.

The day Titus was born, the OB told me not to push because pushing would make his heart stop beating. I was so afraid to push.

Then, six months later, the pediatrician said Titus was failing to thrive because he wasn’t getting enough food from me. I was so afraid of not being enough for him.

Almost every day, the same, cold hand of fear grips my heart. I look at pictures of children in Aleppo, and I fear for their lives and cry for their mothers. I see the hate that consumes this world, and I fear that Titus will have a very different childhood than my own.

And this week we’re preparing for Titus to have another hernia surgery and I can’t help but be a little afraid. I know what fear feels like. I know there are scarier things I could experience, but being a mother is the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I think a lot of parents feel this way. Within moments of becoming a parent, your life suddenly becomes less, and your child’s life becomes much, much more. Someone else’s life is very dependent on you. It’s easy to be afraid because the overwhelming amount of love we feel. But we know that perfect love casts out fear.

Fear is a motivator. Fear drives me to my knees. I didn’t know fear until I became a mother. I also didn’t know the real power of prayer. I didn’t know what a candid conversation with Jesus looked like. I didn’t know empathy and compassion until I became a mother. I didn’t understand perfect, unconditional love which can only come from Him.

But now I do. And the knowledge of these things is worth every ounce of fear that comes my way.

Another List of New Year’s Resolutions

Every January, I get something akin to a New Year’s high. I love setting goals. I love reading about ways to improve my life, and I love throwing myself headfirst into projects. Dustin called me out on this the other day as I stuffed our fifth bag of clothes I wanted to donate. I sat down on the bed and sighed, and he said, “Oh, stop. You love this.”

I can’t deny it. I do love it. I start each year with many, many goals and find that very few stick. This year, however, I have one specific goal and two general goals.

1. Complete my reading list.

Last year I set out to read 75 books in one year. I didn’t quite reach my goal. I slowed down once I started working full time again, and it’s one thing that I wish I would’ve followed through on. So this year I have a very specific list of books I want to read. Classics, contemporary, theological, and secular. I’m motivated to start this year of reading and complete my list!

2. Grow in my marriage.

This past year wasn’t easy for Dustin and me — and up until now, we’ve had it pretty easy. I’m not quite sure how to measure this goal yet, but it’s something that God has put on both of our hearts. We want to fight for our marriage, even in the moments, days, and weeks when marriage feels secure and smooth. Our goal is to never let our guard down.

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Image by Juliana Bird Photography

3. Embrace health.

This means many different things for me. I’ve had a difficult time balancing work and marriage and motherhood and housework and cooking and health in general. This goal is less about me and more about my family. I want to move us toward health.

My first step was donating all of the clothes we don’t need or wear. Next, I’m starting whole30. Each step will move my family toward contentment and health. And I’m just really excited for what this year hold for us. What are your goals for this year?

Shop Small Favorites: Baby Scarves and Hand-Dyed Onesies

When I first found out we were having a boy, I had a brief grieving period (Dustin might say I was being dramatic, so don’t ask him) over all of the adorable girl clothes I couldn’t buy. I thought it would be nearly impossible to find cute clothes for Titus.

 

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Images by Juliana Bird Photography.

However, Instagram has become one of my go-to places for baby clothing. Some of the best small shop owners have the most beautiful Instagram feeds! I love shopping for Titus by looking through their photos.

Will & Tess not only has a gorgeous Instagram (just check out her flat lays!), but her hand-dyed clothing and scarves are the cutest! The colors are rich, and they don’t fade. These clothes are baby and kid basics, but in the most beautiful hues! I think Titus’s French Roast onesie is perfect for him. It goes with everything and it’s an amazing color for this season.

I also can’t get enough of her scarves! We have the charcoal gray Will Scarf, and it’s the softest thing in the world. Plus, it’s an infinity scarf that will grow with him.

Now through Monday, November 7, you can get 25% off your purchase with the code THANKS25. Have fun shopping!

 

Onesie and scarf c/o Will & Tess. All words and opinions are my own.

Halloween Weekend

 

"Mom, what are we doing?"
“Mom, what are we doing?”

 

 

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Images by Juliana Bird Photography.

I was never into Halloween. I hate it when people wear costumes. At amusement parks, I try to stay far away from those shady people with giant felt heads who use gestures instead of words, but I have a hard time avoiding characters at places like Disney. It’s like they know I feel uncomfortable. They can smell my fear through their weird masks and they want to hug me with their over-sized gloves. When I was a little, I put my head in my arms and cried all the way through dinner at Chuck E. Cheese when those dumb characters got up on stage and danced. Don’t even get me started on clowns.

However, Halloween has two things going for it: Candy (duh) and cute baby costumes. I love it when kids wear costumes, but I draw the line at adults. Don’t try to convince me, I have no time for your silly reasons!

Titus was only slightly tolerating this costume, but Mama was LOVING it. Cutest, grumpy giraffe ever. I just really need to take advantage of the fact that he doesn’t get to have an opinion yet. Someday, he’ll want to dress up as a ninja or a firefighter (Dustin’s dream) and I’m going to have to deal with the fact that he won’t want to be cute — he’ll want to be cool.

Similar costumes here, here, and here (I love this one for girls!).

 

The Slippery Slope of Comparison

Six months ago I started down the slippery slope of comparison.

It all started with nothing. I mean, nothing was happening. Titus was not doing anything new. His “failure to thrive” diagnosis was weighing on my mind. Instead of watching him learn how to crawl, stand up, and walk, we rejoiced over little victories — like a pound gained.

I was acutely aware that my child was not up to speed with other kids his age. He wasn’t interested in moving anywhere or saying any words. He was perfectly content to sit in one spot and play quietly by himself or sign “please” when he wanted something.

But every time a stranger in the grocery store, a distant relative, or a friend of the family said something like, “Oh, I bet your hands are full with him! He’s probably getting into everything!” I had to smile a little and tell them, no, Titus was content to stay put.

Sometimes I got an uncomfortable look — like they knew this wasn’t normal. Sometimes I got unsolicited advice (with good intentions, of course). Sometimes, rarely, they accepted the fact that sweet Baby Ty is on his own timetable and he’s just fine.

Unfortunately, it was hard to tell myself that.

Six months ago I also had to shift my thinking from stay-at-home mom to working-full-time mom. I blamed myself for Titus’s lack of progress. I wasn’t a good enough mom. I couldn’t teach him anything. I should be home more.

Six months ago, I started to compare myself to other moms on social media. I’m not proud of the fact that I did this. I was jealous they were able to stay at home. I compared their babies’ accomplishments to Titus and what he could do.

And just like that, my joy was stolen.

 

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It’s taken six months, but I’ve slowly gained back my joy. I often forget how blessed I am when the messiness of life surrounds me. I’m thankful for Titus’s health — that he has gained weight (nobody comments on how tiny he is, anymore!), for a place to live, a husband who loves me, and the precious gift of salvation.

Then, three weeks ago, I went to bed with tears of joy and thankfulness in my eyes, because Titus crawled. In front of me and Dustin and family. He crawled, and my heart burst with pride for him. It was something that I felt I would never see. Walls of discouragement, envy, and fear came crumbling down in my heart, and I felt God’s peace settle over me.

Why should I worry? His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me. And Titus. And he loves both of us more than I could ever imagine.

 

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Titus – six months old

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Titus – 11 months old

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25 Things I Learned in 25 Years

Twenty-five is both a monumental and insignificant age. Monumental, because it’s closer to 30 than to 20. Insignificant, because nothing changes. There’s nothing glamorous about the age 25, except, something magical happens at midnight on your twenty-fifth birthday and, suddenly, you’re able to rent a car without paying any extra fees.

Regardless of the perceived importance of my age, I’ve made it a practice to sit down and take a good long look at my life once a year on my birthday. I think about where I am in life and where I want to go. I think about goals and I make ambitious plans. Sometimes those plans are successful other times they fall to the wayside.

This year, I’ve made a list of what I’ve learned in the past 25 years. Learning from your choices, good and bad, is how you grow as a person. So here is an annotated list of conclusions I’ve reached within a quarter of a century:

1. Wake up early.

I can’t prove this scientifically, but I swear I’m happier on the days I wake up early. Getting out of bed before six a.m. just makes me feel productive, and that feeling carries throughout my day. There’s nothing like the peaceful stillness in the early morning hours before everyone else wakes up.

 

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2. Make your bed.

This also puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day, which might be proven scientifically. Plus, it’s what adults do. So just make your bed.

3. Love is a feeling. And a choice.

I’ve felt love plenty of times. But loving someone for life is more than a feeling – it’s a choice. I choose to love my husband every single day. Life is messy, and it’s not easy either. But even when I’m not overflowing with love for him, I choose to say, “You’re the person I want to be with. You are the one my soul loves.”

 

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Photo by Juliana Bird Photography

4. Energy fades.

Coffee is life.

5. Laughter is an essential component to friendship.

My favorite friendships are the people who can make me cry from laughing so hard. Those are the types of people that can pick up a friendship right where you left off, even if it’s been months since you’ve connected with them.

6. Laughter is an essential component to love.

Learn to laugh instead of fight. I’ll admit, I haven’t mastered this yet (hi, husband!). If you can find the common ground to laugh in the midst of an argument, you can make that relationship work. You may not laugh every time, but you will know when a person brings joy to your life.

7. Sleep is precious.

Enjoy sleep before you have a baby. Soon you’ll be asking yourself how you stayed up until four in the morning in college and still went to an 8:30 a.m. class.

8. People disappoint.

You will be disappointed by a person close to you at some point in your life. Don’t be surprised. No one is perfect.

9. Relationships don’t always last, but the world won’t end.

I remember my first break-up. That awful pit-in-your-stomach feeling just stuck around for days. I thought I would never get over it. But then I realized the sun was still shining outside the four walls of my bedroom. I got up, went on an adventure, and moved on.

10. Your parent could become your best friend.

I remember watching Gilmore Girls when I was younger and longing for the friendship of Lorelai and Rory. I had to grow up a little bit, but I realize now just how valuable my relationship with my mother is. She is one of my closest friends because she knows me best and she’s been rooting for me for 25 years.

11. “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

This quote from Theodore Roosevelt runs through my head every time I scroll through Instagram. The grass is always greener on social media. Comparing your life to others will only hurt you in the end. So don’t play the comparison game. You’ll never win.

12. Money is important, but it’s not most important.

There were a couple of months of my marriage when I could only think about money. How much money we made, how much we needed, how much we wanted, and plenty thoughts that started with the sentence, “If only we had more money…”

Money is necessary, but it can’t be your focus. People should be your focus.

13. Stay out of debt and you’ll experience freedom.

Debt bogs you down, ties you up, and takes away most of your paycheck. We are finally on the path to paying off our student loans within a few years. But if we knew then what we know now, we would’ve worked harder to stay out of debt. Even if that means a less prestigious college or working harder during school, it’s worth it. I promise.

14. Treasure experiences, not things.

The things I treasure most are memories of playing Haitian orphans, holding my baby for the first time, and hiking in Colorado. There’s a world outside of your tiny bubble. Spend your extra time and money discovering it.

 

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15. Community helps you grow.

Find people that challenge you. You have so much potential! Sometimes you need people who love you to bring it out of you and push you to work harder.

16. Working out is not easy.

After high school, it’s the worst!

17. Sacrifice is part of healthy relationships.

Learn how to let go and put someone else first.

18. Time moves quickly, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Even your longest day is only 24 hours. Be intentional. And 25 years can fly by.

19. It takes courage to be different.

Your opinion may be unpopular. People may not like you. Don’t let that change who you are.

20. Differences are okay.

Learn how to have a rational conversation with a person who disagrees with you. You might learn something new.

21. It’s okay to get married young.

Marriage isn’t for everyone. Getting married young isn’t for everyone. But don’t let anyone look down on you if you do get married young. How boring would it be if everyone’s lives looked the same?

 

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22. Be humble enough to learn.

Humility means saying, “I don’t know. Teach me.”

23. Make a budget and stick to it.

Self-control is key.

24. Words hurt more than you may know.

The first time I wrote an article that garnered a lot of attention, it got a lot of nasty comments. I remember wondering how people could be so mean. Ever since then, I’ve tried to be more cautious with the words I say on social media. Just because you can’t see the person, doesn’t mean they aren’t reading what you’re writing. Think before speaking (and typing).

25. Perfection is impossible.

Trying your best is good. It’s also okay if you aren’t the best. Stop chasing perfection and give yourself some grace.

On Teaching My Baby to be Brave and Kind

This summer, I’ve found that my favorite time of day is bedtime. The sun is just about to set as I put Titus to bed. I put his blanket over my shoulder and he settles into me and pats me on the back as I pray for him.

I pray he will be strong and brave and kind.

Strong like his daddy. Strong in his beliefs. Strong enough to make a decision and firmly stand by it.

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Brave enough to stick it out in a tough situation. Brave enough to speak his mind. Brave enough to choose the right thing to do, even if it’s unpopular.

It’s only lately that I’ve added “kind” to the list of things I pray for Titus.

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It seems like tragedy rises with the dawn each day. Another life taken, another person harmed. I read the news and I’m sad Titus will grow up in this world. I’m sad that he will ask questions that I never had to ask as a child. I’m sad because he will probably need to be brave someday, and it won’t be easy.

But Titus doesn’t just need bravery. He needs to know how to be kind. He needs to know what it means to have a tender heart. I want him to be able to reach out to someone with love when they don’t deserve it. I want him to give generously.

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Kindness leads to hope. In a world as dark as this, one tiny flame of kindness can light up the night and fill it with hope. Hope for new beginnings. Hope for the future.

For now, I’ll hold Titus, watch him fall asleep, and pray he grows up brave and strong, as long as his heart stays tender and kind.

 

Chelsea and Titus

Images by Juliana Bird Photography.