Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy Birthday my CLAIRE!

First, a note to let you know that we have new pictures on flicker- see link on side margin to "Our pictures"
Here is 2 quick pics of the birthday girl though (we celebrated early over xmas vacation).

A year of motherhood is coming to a close- a long,
stressful, but joyous year. Just 365 days ago, I was in a delivery room pushing out an LIFE! Hence, I have learned and changed a lot since that LIFE took over MY life.
My friend Jeanine recently said that women change the most of their entire lives in their 20-30 year period. It is true for me. From single, thriving college student in IL to wife, mother, and KY worker in just a 3 year span.

The other year we grow the most is that very first one of our lives. From birth to wobbly heads to crawling to pulling up to walking- all the while our minds and motor skills enhancing.
A few weeks ago Claire hid on me for the first time. For two whole minutes I called her name and searched the apartment for her. I finally heard her giggle when I walked past the couch she was tucked behind. She has a mind of her own now- and quite the strong will to go with it!
Claire has taken her first steps and eaten her first cake. She is still quite loud and quite verbal. Also in the upper % for size! Man, can this girl eat!

As for her birthday parties, the first was a Care Bear theme. Family and friends in WI all went out to a kids restaurant fulls of games and play rooms. Claire enjoyed the carousel. She paid most attention to the other children around her. Two young girls named Anna and Grace came to one of her parties. Their mother later reported that since the party they have been walking their baby dolls all around the house and all of them are now named Claire :) She shared her second party with her Daddy and her cousin Christine and enjoyed digging her hands into the cake rather than eating it.

Unfortunately, against my idealistic hopes, Claire is still in diapers ;) She has learned to sign milk and ask for more (by clapping). She says "Dada " when Keith (or any male his height) enters a room. She has yet to murmur "Mama", but it is coming. She knows what "no" and "dont touch" mean, but likes to test the line by continually sticking her index finger out toward the off-limits Christmas tree ornaments. She is turned around in her carseat and can also climb stairs.

What has most amazed me about having a child? The JOY that one small life can bring to so many people. All Claire does is smile and she melts hearts. I never expected her to mean SO much to SO many. I hope to teach her the responsibility that goes along with her great beauty as she grows into it.
So happy birthday to my little lady. May your hair and vocabulary grow endlessly this coming year!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"Profound Simplicity"

What have the Jaggers been up to this Autumn other than rubbing our eyes because of the mold, mildew, and dried leaf ashes in the "sweet" KY air?

- Visiting a local apple/pumpkin orchard and riding in wagons- see above. Claire dressed up as a tulip fairy for Halloween. She was not a fan of the crowds though and we carried her around with her eyes wide, mouth dropped, never cracking a smile. She hardly even got any candy- we let her eat her raisins and we took the chocolate :)

-A crazy hurried trip to Chicago to visit, evaluate and eventually rule out a DePaul graduate program for myself...we get to see some great friends and stay in a condo overlooking Navy Pier though...did I mention adventures in Chicago mass transit systems?

- Keith has been helping international students settle into their seminary term as well as working on an independant study paper about historical anthropology relating to the NT

-Dealing with a crashed computer and messed up car battery- we just got a new MacBook computer which is why Im finall writing again! It was a bit expensive but we hope it will last through Keith's PhD studies

-I've been working at the residency for pregnant and parenting girls...we've had a few premies in the house lately- always exciting

-Fighting off cold and flu- Claire got to inhale medicine through a gas mask nebulizer for awhile, she would only let us put it on her face if teletubbies was distracting her- I thinks he likes LaLa tubby the best

-Claire has worked from crawling backwards, to forwards, to forwards fast, to pulling up, to standing a few seconds on her own before falling on her butt. I think she'll be walking by Christmas! She now has 6 teeth more coming in. She LOVES people and seems to be a huge extravert at this point- opposite of her two antisocial parents :)

-I have two major goals before the Christmas holiday- Im applying to grad schools in the Chicago area currently- not only do I hope to get those in by Christmas, but I also hope to wean Claire and gain a bit of freedom back. Deep down, I've enjoyed the bond and intimacy of nursing her, but i think we're both ready for some independance in that way.

-We've attended some awesome chapels and concerts in town. Bebo Norman and Shane and Shane came to town. "Amazing Grace" was also shown- and introduced in person by its producer. Tammy - who is not a big name in the world, but is now one in my book- spoke on an amazing children's home she randomnly and inadvertently started in South East Asia. The scholar NT Wright recently visited campus and shared some thoughts on the discourse between politics and religion these days both in the States and in the UK. Michael Jacobs, a Native American/First Nations song artist (who currently resides in Waukesha WI wohooo) came to share his music- its awesome check it out!

And through some personal experiences I've learned a great deal. I was able to get away for a weekend on a women's retreat and learn about my call to a life of consonance with who the Maker has created me to be- to recognize and cast off the labels of those around me and do the ministry "in the margins" I've been called to. More recently, I was able to attend a short retreat called "Profound Simplicty" led by Laura Beach- a time that has prepared my mind and heart for this advent as well as future Christmas that will come my way as a female in our culture. I think the most unique thing I learned relates to the lesson I am learning over all - TO LIVE SIMPLY SO THAT OTHERS MAY SIMPLY LIVE (as Mike Slaughter of Ginghamsburg Church, OH puts it). The Magi who came before Christ were some of the wealthiest and most educated men in their world. They did not bring gifts before the strong or the wealthy, but to the meek, the lowly, and the humble Christ child. We as Americans, some of the wealthiest and most educated are called to the same at Christmas. Rather than heaping mounds of gifts (many unnecessary and forgotten) on our families, we can give as families to the needy around us. Which brings us back to Mike Slaughter who challenged his MegaChurch parishioners to spend as much on the needy as they did on their families and raised MILLIONS for the sufferers in Darfur, Sudan. Which also coincides with some work Ive been doing with Asbury FOR Darfur -helping raise awareness and funds on campus to help those whove been hit most by the tradgedies in Darfur- the children. I find that this type of work brings about more awareness of the darkness and greed in my own soul than it may educate those around me. But I hope that this awareness will bring me to a place in which I can be a person who can humbly stir genuine compassion and empathy in my neighbors for others. If there is one lesson that I could teach the teens I work with, it would be such empathy and compassion for others.
So this CHRISTmas, I challenge myself and perhaps you to live more simply - in your own creative way, so that others can simply live.
Random thoughts, yes, but one can hardly expect more from an overtired, breastfeeding burnout, no relief from eye allergies, overworked, staring at online graduate school applications for hours, mother of an almost walking, attention hungry , but beautiful baby girl.
Hope you enjoy the new pics

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Am I living the life?

Before I get to some thoughts, here's an update on Miss Claire Nicole:

- She is almost 8 months old and sitting up without support and is quite sturdy

- She is beginning to learn to creep, on her way to crawling in a few months

- She LOVES food. She has not rejected ANYthing yet and does not require a bib while
eating because she scarfs every bit down. She is quite angry when the food is gone. She
is also quite angry when adults are eating food that they are not sharing with her.
Sometimes chewing on a big raw carrot or a rice cake suffices her for the minute

- She is quite cute, people tell us often. Of course we find her adorable, but I'm afraid
we might have to teach her how to handle her beauty in the future and keep her big little head from getting "big" in another sense. She is wonderful though- quite cute

- Claire is also very vocal. Not so much in public, until she warms up to the new environment,
but is very loud at home making all sorts of screams, razzes, and spit flying noises. We can't take
her into our living room until a certain time in the morning because she wakes the neighbors above us with her high pitch blurting. Needless to say , she is very strong willed and very
energetic and continues to hate napping (unlike her mother)

A friend recently asked me how "real life" is? She was meaning "How is the married/family life , is it all it is cracked up to be- do you miss your freedom? How is it in comparison to the single career woman's life?"

Am I living the life- the "dream" life?

I'm never quite sure how to answer this question, though it's already come to me from many people in different forms.

First, I was not shooting for a "dream" life. I somehow found an amazing man that I gave up beloved singleness for. Keith was too amazing to pass up. And as far as my daughter, well she was quite the surprise- and to be honest, I treated the first few months of pregnancy as a burden rather than a joy. So it's true that I have a beautiful daughter and a topnotch husband who loves and respects me.

So am I saying my marriage is perfect? Certainly not perfect. We are far from knowing how to deeply affirm each other, how to be truly intimate, how to sacrifice til it hurts, how to submit to the other's dream and intuitions, how to be there for each other when we are exhausted from everyday life, how to interact socially in a way that is fulfilling to both of us.

However, I think for a couple that has been married a year and a half and has already dealt with pregnancy, childbirth, job transitions, moving to new regions of the country, difficult family issues, we are doing quite well. I would not say my marriage is perfect, but for me it is as ideal as I could ask for at this point in my life.

Motherhood, is it all it has been said to be- is it enough to leave a career for, enough to make you want to home school, enough to give up all my desires for the sake of my child? All I can say is that motherhood is enough to make me nurse my child through pain, to wake up at all hours of the night to comfort her, to watch her sleep for minutes on end because it soothes my soul, to put my education on hold to be with in her infant year. I still have my own desires, my own dreams, my own need for freedom and independance- I simply have to change the timing. Already Claire grows more independant each day and I learn to slowly release my hold on her each morning. I hope she participates in watching her mother find a vocation and seek out unfulfilled dreams. Motherhood inspires me to bring a whole new person into my dreams that I never knew would be there alongside of me.

I do wish I knew what to study next, what to get a masters in , what to spend the majority of my days doing to add goodness and compassion to the world. I did not have the option to put my marriage and motherhood on hold- my opportunity was too good to pass up:)- so my days searching out a career will simply include Keith and Claire. It would probably be easier to study and jump into the job field without the "distraction" and "responsibility" of a young family, but I will instead find a new level of motivation in Claire watching and an extra touch of support from a husband who believes in my abilities and ambitions.

I have to remind myself constantly that life is NOW. It is not 5 years from now when I'm out in the "real world". Claire and I have a real world everyday in our tiny apartment. Keith and I have a real world as we lay in bed talking and laughing at night. I want to travel- to see all I can see of this world, but I know there will be no more answers out "there" than I can find here.

I'm trying to pursue joy in my world as it is today, and believe my life now is as ideal as it can be for me.

So, friend, I am living "the life". For the most part, I've made good choices. And, where I haven't, I've cast off regret and committed to the decisions I've made - so that my ideals will be realized in all circumstances- my ideals of seeking and knowing the presence of the Almighty, His shelter and His grace through the faces in front of me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I am that butterfly in the cacoon waiting to hatch- developing in spirit, mind, body, emotion, motherhood, and marriage.
Not yet.
I was led to Psalm 121 today.
" I lift my eyes up to the hills-
from where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day; nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life;
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore."
It's such comfort to know in these uncertain times while I am Claire's keeper that there is a greater keeper over me. He knows my ins and outs, ups and downs. He teaches me and prepares me to be a disciple. Just as I keep Claire- protect her but allow her to flourish and grow and learn- He keeps me. Simply because I exist, He glories in and through me. But there will be more.
As I continue to sleep and rest, He neither slumbers nor sleeps.
In the meantime, we need access to one another's faith to keep our faith.
Read the Psalms. There you'll have access to another's faith (-Marilyn Elliot)
We long for someone to be attentive to our lives. To have interest in where we go and who we become. Perhaps this is why we have Facebook. Sadly, no one can keep up with our lives in the way that we long for (though a spouse come somewhat fulfill this desire).
That is what our Keeper does though. He sees our face daily - without the internet, without a cell phone, tv, or computer, without a mirror....
A little deeper than usual I know, but I wanted to share.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


New pictures of Claire here and on Flickr- see the margin for the link.

She's almost five months. Rolling over, making more noises, almost sitting up, grabbing, and generallyhappy. Took her first airplane flight the other day. She says HI! She is seeing her first words of baby sign language and ready for summer fun!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Mommy's Good Luck Charm

Claire and I on St. Patrick's Day.
She's a beauty...and I think she likes me!

Since I've last written, my DAUGHTER (unbelievable that Im a parent still) has begun cooing, smiling, holding her head up, spitting up, putting her fist in her mouth, looking at her mobile, falling asleep on her own, and gone on a car ride to Illinois. She is certainly GROWING.

She now weighs 11 lbs 5 oz. Is 23.5 in long. That puts her in the 80th percentile for girls her age.

She has all her two month vaccinations (so she currently carries 6 diseases).

Her hair might be lightening up but she still looks just like her daddy...maybe she has my eyes, what do you think?

Check out new pictures of this darling on the "Our Pictures" flicker link.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


FIRST, for more pictures of CLAIRE, the little jagger beef, scroll down to the right side of my blog and click on OUR PICTURES, Im sure Keith will be updating it regularly.

I feel like I owe it to all those soon-to-be moms out there to describe my very recent experience of GIVING birth- Which I'd like to mention is the very meaning of "Eve", hence I can now die at peace knowing I've lived out my calling and destiny :) JK

Here are some key and valuable points:
-You WILL know when your water breaks, don't think you'll miss it. And once it breaks, that doesn't mean your done. I was leaking for the next six hours and my pants were actually soaked when I arrived at the hospital

-Having a good support person is key to labor. Keith was unbelievable supportive and it was actually mostly physical. I spent the majority of my labor holding onto him, rocking with him, and following the rhythm of his breathing.

-Try as many positions as possible. Once you find one that works just stick with it! I tried out several but found rocking on my knees to be the one that got me through. And just because they give you a bar to hang off of and squat with doesn't mean you should use it. I didn't know what to do with the thing

-Labor hurts. It's true. The last hours are mostly unbearable. I said it all in moans and groans "Somebody help me", "It hurts, it hurts so much", "I can't do this anymore"...say it if it helps. Of course I could still do it, but it helped to say I couldn't, don't listen to the silly optimists :)

-RELIEF. More than anything, I felt relieved to have Claire out of my body. It was so good to hold her and see her and feel her, but more than that just to know I'd made it through.

-Surprise! It was great being surprised about having a girl. We were 98% sure it was a boy. So the advice is to actually LISTEN to the doctor when she announces what the sex is. I didn't and Keith had to get my attention for me to realize it was a girl!

- Don't call people IMMEDIATELy after delivery. My grandma tried to talk my ear off 2 minutes after I had the baby. Instead, send a mass text message to relay the news if you can't wait

-Labor is more exhausting than you realize. I didn't expect to not be able to stand or go to the bathroom on my own for a few days. It's a week later and Im still completely fatigued. The straining that comes with the pushing takes every ounce of energy the female body can muster...and it won't return for weeks

- Having a baby early in marriage isn't bad, wrong, stressful...My love for Keith has grown faster and more intensly than it ever has in our marriage. Every time I look at Claire's face, Im also seeing Keith's and learning to embrace him and hold him more tightly

-Breastfeeding HURTS. It STILL hurts. I know it will get better in a few weeks, but most of us will bleed, blister, crack, and cry ourselves before it gets easy. It's hard for a frustrated mom and baby to learn to feed together, but hang in there and celebrate the progress made each day

-SLEEP as much as you can leading up to the labor. I did and I think it helped alot. I probably wont catch up on my sleep for months now.

-Limit visitors. All 3 of us, though so happy to see so many visitors, are a bit overwhelmed. Give yourselves time to adjust to a new life and new world. People will be just as excited to see the baby in few weeks. It's okay to be selfish and look out for your family's needs first at such a fragile and sensitive and emotional time

-Babies are beautiful. God is miraculous.

We hope youll continue to check out our pictures!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

She is a Girl!

After nine months of pregnancy, five hours of labor, and the most painful experience I think I've ever had, Keith and I have a baby girl. She was 9lbs, 20inches long, and born at 1.48 am. I'm mostly exhausted, and trying to figure out this new life schedule.

Here we are on her birthday!

We hope you all can meet her soon.