Last week we finally saw Jeff’s book on a bookshelf. Almost one month to the date from when it released. Having been in the music business for five years, I thought I knew a thing or two about street dates. But let me tell you… the book industry is almost nothing like the music industry. It is so hard to sit and wait and wait… and wait and wait to hear numbers. It could be sixty days before we get an idea of how well the book has done. That just seems plain crazy to me.

Anyway, all that aside, it is encouraging to hear how more and more people are finding it on bookshelves and that some stores are carrying more than what they initially did. And we also know that the second printing has been done and orders are coming out of that. So there is still lots to be encouraged about! Plus, there are the tons and tons of encouraging words from so many people!

So I think we’ll do it again. And by we I mean Jeff. And by think I mean will. The second week Jeff’s book was out, he signed a contract for his second book! So look out world, he ain’t going away! I am so proud. Jeff has always been a writer. And he was already a published author, but now that there is a second book on the way, he’s like an author ya’ll! And that also means I will get another photo published – that’s what happens when you’re married to a photographer (insert mischievous grin here). But that’s not what it’s about… he’s writing a second book!

There’s been a lot of dreaming going on in just these almost six years in Nashville. And even before that, too. I dreamed about working in the Christian music business, so I packed up and moved here, very naively I found out, after I got my job. I had no idea how competitive the job market was or that there were sooo many colleges just in the area, not to mention across the country, that had entire schools dedicated specifically to music business! And yet here came little ol’ me with her general business administration degree and no music industry experience, and by the divine planning of God and His ordering of my steps, six months after I moved to Nashville I sat down at a desk in the very company I had walked into over a year before while praying they’d just look at my resume (that’s not how it works, by the way).

And while that chapter of my life is now closed and, in the moment, it was hard to do what felt like walking away from a dream… I am now living a dream we had always talked about as if it were a “when” instead of an “if,” even though most times I wondered to myself if we could ever really pull it off. And even when I had the highest of hopes, I never thought the when would be as soon as our first was born. And so I don’t look at this summer as giving up on a dream, but jumping from one to the next. And I am so thankful my feet never had to touch the ground. I do not know why I am counted worthy.

And then of course we can go back to this book business. I always knew Jeff dreamed of writing a book, so I was surprised a couple of years ago when he said he didn’t know what his dream was. I told him I knew what it was – to write a book. Sometimes we get so busy or we can get so discouraged that we can lose sight of our dream. Or sometimes they change, and there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t know what it was for Jeff, but he jumped right back in and, not even a year later, he had his first book deal. And it is one heck of a good book too!

I am so glad that Aiden will grow up in a home where his parents can say that they had a dream come true. Dreams don’t have to be career oriented – they can be about anything. These were just the recent ones to us that stick out in our minds the most. And I want to make sure they are celebrated so we never forget and so that we can always remember the Lord’s faithfulness and goodness. An Ebenezer if you will. I am so thankful that Aiden will have a father that he will see daily live and work for his dreams so that Aiden will be encouraged to dream and to imagine. The kid will have no shortage of imagination if he takes after the Goins men, and he will also see no shortage of dreaming if he just looks to his daddy.

I think it so cool that Aiden was here to see Jeff’s dream realized. He was here when the book released, and he was here to celebrate with us and all of our friends. And he was here when we finally saw it on the shelf. At weeks old he was in the midst of seeing dreams, big life-long dreams, reazlied and hard work paying off. I hope his whole life we can encourage and cheer him on to do the same. Yes, I want him to have some sense of realistic expections and to know things are not simply handed to you. I know not every dream comes true. After all, I never became a backup dancer for *NSYNC. But I do not want him to be afraid to dream and to reach for the stars. I do not want him to underestimate himself, and I hope that we, as his parents, with the help of a whole lot of prayer and discernment, can help keep him grounded while still being his biggest fans.

Aiden turned 10 weeks the same day the book released. We got creative with his weekly photo to help remember the week.

Outtake from the 10-Week shoot.

Surprise “Wrecked” launch party Wednesday night.

Complete with “Wrecked” cupcakes.

When you have a 10-week old, it’s not always easy to get out. So you make things.

Surprise!

Just a handful of our great friends.

We have the best friends!

The man of the hour.

August 1st, 2012

Spotted August 30th, 2012!!

Barnes & Noble!!

Daddy and Aiden

The first of many family photos in a bookstore.

Today I woke up just a stay-at-home mom. Maternity leave over. No more paychecks for Mommy. I can’t believe we’re already here. Aiden, had you been born on your due date, today would have been my first day back. You would have been nine weeks old. Instead, today you are 13.5 weeks old. I cannot believe it. This weekend I took your three-month photos!

As I was looking through those on the computer, I came across your newborn photos. I could have cried. I know you have changed so much, but my goodness you have changed so so much. If I ever needed confirmation that staying home to spend time with you was the right decision, that was it. Oh how I would miss so much, I am sure! I don’t know if all babies change as much as you do, but I feel like you change so incredibly much since you came into this world so tiny. I’m warning you now that you probably got one of those moms that sobs at every small or big life event, and I am giving you permission now to just roll your eyes and say, “oh, mom!”

To most, okay just about everyone else, you are still a little boy. But, to me, you are so big now! I mean, on Friday at three months and one day, you weighed 8 pounds 12 ounces, over twice as much as what I brought you home at: 4 pounds 3 ounces. As I carry you around in your car seat and “complain” at how heavy you are now, your Grammy laughs at me and teases me about how I’ve got another thing coming if I think this is heavy. After all, you are just now the average size for a newborn and you are 3 months old!

If you can’t tell, I’m having a hard time believing that you are 3 months old already. On Friday you will be 100 days old! You act like such a big boy, not wanting to be held like a baby while you’re awake. You always want to be sitting up so you can look around and these days you even protest to sitting at times and rather insist on standing. And while we haven’t mastered a guarantee smile every time we go fishing for one, we are almost guaranteed one anytime we put you under a mobile. Boy, do you know how to flirt!

I love you lil’ man, and I am so thankful for your hard-working daddy that made it possible for me to stare at your face for hours on end each and every day. I can’t imagine spending my days any other way. If I’m having a hard time believing you were ever this small, Lord help me on your first birthday!

Aiden holding his head up on his due date.

June 24th, 2012. Since October, we had been planning on a little boy to arrive around this day. Well, little isn’t probably the most accurate word – we, ok I, were bracing for a 10 pounder.

On May 23rd that all changed, though. We were at a follow-up appointment just to check to make sure Baby G’s heart looked great (which it totally did) after an arrhythmia was detected the week before.  Arrhythmias are apparently fairly common and often correct themselves at birth, which they were confident would be the case with his. We were on our way out after getting the all clear when the tech noticed Baby G’s stomach was measuring two weeks behind.  When they called the specialist back in, he rambled on about some technical term that pretty much meant the placenta had crapped out, resisting the blood flow coming from baby.  It was nothing we could have done differently or prevented. Sometimes these things just happen. Since we were already at 35 1/2 weeks, the specialist was actually excited because baby could be delivered safely, and he told us it was much safer to have a premie and treat baby outside the womb rather than try to ride it out since it’s so important the placenta works properly for baby’s well-being.

So around 4:00pm on Wednesday, May 23rd, we found out we were going to be parents… and in just a matter of hours (it ended up being 5 1/2 to be exact). And Jeff was scrambling trying to notify the necessary people, including my parents who were also celebrating their 31st wedding anniversary that day. First grandchild equals best present ever, yes?

We had the car seat, but it wasn’t installed yet. That was the one thing our dear friends who were also pregnant told us to make sure we did well before the due date. They learned that the hard way with their first – they hadn’t installed it prior to going to the hospital and it wasn’t the easiest thing to accomplish. And apparently the hospital won’t let you leave until baby is safely secured in the car.

We had been attending birthing classes, but still had two to go. One class yet to come was the one that involved the hospital tour. At least the class we had just attended the night before taught us all about epidurals and c-sections. With that,  the videos and the breathing techniques already crossed off the list, I figured we had at least made it to the important ones.

I had just washed a handful of baby clothes the week before… but I did not have any premie clothes and maybe only had one or two newborn outfits. After all, we were expecting a 10 pounder, so we basically started registering for 0-3 month clothes.

But even if we had had premie clothes, I had yet to pack the hospital bag… after all, we were still a month away!

But at least we had accomplished the last big project for the nursery – the bookshelves. Baby G had a room. He probably wouldn’t use it for the first couple months of his life, but at least he had a room.

********

Now that the scary parts of delivering early are over and we have a healthy and beautiful baby boy, we chuckle from time to time about the beginning of Baby G’s story. Even before he was born, he made it clear to us that he was a very determined and strong-willed boy. He was incredibly active in the womb, which is why I am not surprised that the kid was practically born holding his head up, and that made obtaining photos and information at the ultrasounds interesting.

There are two moments I remember the most vividly from the first ultrasound at 19 weeks. One moment is the first time I saw Baby G’s profile. I had to burn this image to memory since he did not cooperate for photos at this appointment, but thankfully we got one more shot later and it was exactly as I had remembered it. The other moment is the temper tantrum he threw towards the end, when he was obviously done being messed with. It was so funny to see a baby standing up inside of me, stomping his feet as he hid in the furtherest corner in me he could find. Since this was my first child, I didn’t know exactly what I was feeling or if what I thought I was feeling was accurate. But there were several times when I told Jeff that it felt like Baby G was stretching completely out from head to toe, stretching my insides, and it was so funny to see how right I was on that screen. I don’t think we ever saw him completely in the fetal position. What a little busy body.

And with his birth he once again reminded us that we can plan and plan all we want to, but things don’t always go the way we hope nor do they always happen when we want or expect them to. And I am sure this is a lesson he will teach us over and over again as he gets older.

I don’t wish it on any parent to hear the words “we need to deliver” weeks early, nor do I wish them to hear on the operating table “if your baby doesn’t cry, we will have to take him away and you won’t see him.” I have never been so thankful to hear a baby cry or to hear everyone attending to him in the room laughing because he was peeing all over them.

Aiden Jeffery: May 23rd at 9:29pm. 4lbs 9oz and 17.5 inches long.

But despite those scary couple hours on that Wednesday afternoon and evening, I would not change a thing about our story. It is the story God had already written for us and knew would come to fruition. And He was obviously present in every moment of Aiden’s birth and every minute since and before. I didn’t think we would ever be so thankful for an arrhythmia, because had we not been monitoring that, we would have never caught the placenta issue (or caught it later when things could’ve already started going terribly wrong).  We would not have been continuing to do ultrasounds. And we got out of that hospital with Aiden never once being treated like a premie, but getting to room in with us from the very first night and never needing any intervention other than a little bit of supplement to make sure he was getting enough food.

Because everything went so “smoothly” at the hospital, it was difficult to really appreciate all that had happened. It wasn’t until we brought Aiden home and he was left solely to our care that I would be overwhelmed sometimes with thoughts of all that could have gone wrong. We brought home a four pound baby and four weeks early too! That’s just plain ridiculous. It has overwhelmed me to tears many times, and I just have to thank God for blessing us and Aiden and taking care of us. It is undeniable that God has big things in store for Aiden – he is definitely supposed to be here.

And as much as I try to make time stand still with photos and mental pictures because he’s already changed so much as he grows and fills out, going from premie to “normal” baby, I am finding that I’ve already started taking this precious gift for granted. In the middle of a couple of our rougher days, dear friends came to meet him. Seeing them hold him and rock him and love on him as if he was one of their own grandsons, I was reminded of what a gift his life is and that I need to soak in every moment and stop wishing it away. Even when he’s fussy and crying and I am exhausted, I need to not wish for days where he can better communicate with me or not be on a 2-3 hour schedule. Because with those changes also comes growth and the passage of time… and I want to make sure I take advantage of every moment God has given me. Every moment.

Thankful I’ve already known this lil’ man for a month and been able to do this every day since.