Saturday, September 10, 2016

Let It Go

"Let it go, let it gooo..."

Those words have been on repeat in our house since the road trip up here, meaning, we're going on four months. There are the "Let It Go Dresses" (anything that makes Sybil feel pretty), the "pink Let It Go bike" (that she wants for her birthday), "Let It Go shoes" (that unfortunately met an untimely demise in my parents' new puppy's teeth), and anything pink that can equate in Sybil's mind to "Let It Go" (though she has been making a switch to blue in the past few days upon, I'm assuming, a realization that most Frozen things are blue.) With all of this talk of Let It Go (the simple words are overruling and supreme enough to demand capitalization), it's amazing that I haven't taken the directions to heart.

I need to let go of the weekly photos that I don't take, the blog posts that I don't write, the moments that I don't do juuust so. I need to let go of the idea that perfect will ever happen, because it won't, or that I have time to accomplish my to-do list, because I don't. I need to realize that I, as with most parents, do important work each day and make choices, most of which are forced for little peoples' survival, about what is most important and what goes to the back burner. I have to let go of the sadness that comes with saying farewell to the newborn days (does that ever fully go away?) in order to usher in the more tiring but also more rewarding days ahead. I'm pretty certain that "Let It Go" should be the motto of parents' everywhere. We do our best. We take our pictures and give out hugs and clean kitchens and march, march, march through life, trying to soak in every minute that we can while in the repetitive grind. But somewhere, sometime, our grind will slow and time will open up. And at that point I'm sure that we will have long since let go of all the floors that weren't scrubbed and piles of laundry we let wrinkle and the dinners that weren't home cooked, and we'll be sitting there trying to let go of that ache in our hearts to hear a little voice scream "Let It Goooo" just one more time.

(One day I will write a blog post full of happy moments and no wistfulness. Something about the writing experience just brings that out of me, especially at night when all those daily moments hold a rosy glow and hide their warts. Or maybe it's just the fact that the sheer act of trying to document this time is a vain attempt at scraping together all that I love and care for to hold on as tightly as possible. But there is so much happy, so much beauty. I have a baby swaddled by my side who is still so little even in all her bigness, two others passed out upstairs, too many brownies in my belly that were made with extra TLC from Sybil and Declan, and yet another episode of Gilmore Girls on TV. Life is good. Tomorrow will be good. And I need to remember that as much as I always wish I could go back to the good of yesterdays, that's simply because they were great todays. I need to enjoy my todays to the fullest, and know that with my habit of missing their goodness, I'm probably guaranteed lots more great ones ahead.)

{totally random selection of recent photos with no rhyme or reason, because hey, not letting perfect be the enemy of good. 
plus they make me smile. there's not much more important than that. }


Saturday, August 6, 2016

What I Would Have Said

{photos taken an hour before my doctor's appointment. trying to soak in the last moments of the little bump.}

Just eleven short days ago I lay in bed knowing that our new baby might arrive the next day. So much of me wanted to get up to write down my thoughts and feelings, to commemorate the moment properly as it would likely be my last time in that position. But as it was already past midnight and I knew that I should try to conserve energy for the next day, I opted not to. (What followed was a horrible night of sleep with Sybil waking up, Tegan needing water, and a headache to boot, but how was I to know that!) Sadly, weighing things out is basically the story of this third pregnancy when there have been so many competing interests and needs at hand. But as regret is something that plagues me, especially fueled by the baby blues, before these thoughts leave my mind I thought I'd still try to get them down.

If I'd chosen to write to you, our sweet little babe, I would have said how excited we all are to meet you. How every day Declan was asking if the baby was coming today, and as I was dilated for weeks, we told him it could be any day now over and over and over again. They'd kiss my belly and say hi to you, letting you know that they couldn't wait to meet you either. Sybi would point to my belly button when asked where the baby was, then lift her shirt and say, "Me! Me too!".

I would have said that I was convinced you were a boy, and that we had a name already chosen just for you. I would have told you that I was so curious to see if you'd look like Declan or somehow mix it up; that having another baby boy to raise into a young man is such a privilege, especially in this day and age where the expectations of masculinity and how men should treat women are making a shift. To have the opportunity to help model for and mold a young man to accept these new ways is a gift.

I would have said that I was still mourning having a little girl as well, to see from the inside what having a sister is like and to watch Sybil be looked up to in a special way. I didn't want to pack away the girl clothes, to have fewer braids to braid and nails to paint in the future. But I also would have been relieved in some ways for Sybi, because as the middle child she'd have an extra special spot as the only girl. (She can stand up for her goofy little self pretty well though, so there isn't much worry there.) 

I would have said that not finding out your sex was the best thing we chose. That no matter what you are, we are on pins and needles waiting to find out. 

I would have said that I was scared of what was ahead, of rocking the boat and adding a third to the family. How will it change the dynamic? What will Declan and Sybil's relationship look like in a few years? Will someone always be left out or will they just naturally fall into play and alone time? Three was always a tough number for me as a child when it came to being with friends, so I hope that it won't be so for siblings as well. 

I would have asked if we were making the biggest mistake in adding the third, a mistake that I knew I'd be sure wasn't a mistake as soon as I saw your face. 

I would have wondered what the labor would be like, my first time trying without drugs. Would I be able to make it to the tub? How long would this labor last? Would I want it to drag on a bit to enjoy this final time or would I be begging to make it end? I had everything ready - the camera was charged, a playlist was made, the cheerleading team knew that it was happening the next day and were ready to go. I truly couldn't wait, because as crazy as it sounds, giving birth is my favorite experience in the world. 

I would have lamented on the fact that you are my last baby and wonder how in the world I'm going to handle that. I still find myself wondering. 

Finally, I would have let you know that deep down I'm sure there is no mistake, no worries on what sex you are or how you will fit in to the family; that even though I love having you tumbling about inside me I still couldn't wait to feel your tiny self filling my arms. I would have let you know that there was no doubt in my mind that you are meant to be with us and that despite loving being pregnant, I was completely ready to meet my final new baby.  


Saturday, February 28, 2015

From the Vault (aka never posted...) :: 6 Months

Saturday my girl turned six months old. She was pretty excited as evidenced below.

I hurt a bit thinking about all that I haven't documented with her, especially thinking that she might be our last. Most of her firsts are lost in the abyss, or if we are lucky got trapped in my external memory called an iPhone. I don't know how many weeks old she is let alone have pictures to go with it. And I can probably count on one hand how many posts have been about her. So here's one for you sweet Sybi-Lou, one that's much deserved for the time you've put in.

She has always been strong, but now she's going above and beyond and learning to crawl. It's kind of a hefty maneuver now, rolling to one side and hoisting a shoulder and head forward while trying not to roll. But the determination with which she attacks is fierce and she always makes it to you eventually. 

No teeth yet, just lots of drool and chewing and more drool. I give the bump I feel on the bottom two more weeks. 

I've been thinking we've got a little serious person on our hands but in this past week a little personality has just EMERGED from this tiny thing. Babbling and giggling and smiling and cooing like no ones business. She lets her feelings, both happy and sad, be known and it's quite charming. Some of the best sounds I hear all day. 

While she's attached to me and clearly thinks I'm the cat's meow, Declan comes in a close second. There is just no one who can make her laugh quite like him. It fits his show-boating personality to the T. 

After sleeping through the night from about three weeks old she started regressing at four months. It got worse and worse until she was waking up once or twice a night consistently and not going to sleep on her own. So sleep training commenced and within two days she was back to normal. Which means mama was back to normal. Which means life was good. Naps are also starting to come together finally, so almost all feels right in the world. 

Basically she's the best, as she's reminded of daily. It probably keeps her going strong with that notion. 

I can barely remember a time without that sweet face. 


Hold on to This.

This space, this spot, this blank white screen is so foreign to me. It's been that long since I've been here. I feel that I repeat myself every time that I check in - I'm busy with work, with family, don't want to be online when I'm not working, want to see my family in my spare time. And it's all true. But I also want to remember these moments, to do my best to capture these busy days so that in the future, after the rush, rush, rushing stops, when I crave it deep down in my gut for just one more day, I have the opportunity to go back, if only just for a few moments.

So is it worth it to make the time? I hope so. I think so. And with my baby girl's birthday only 13 days away, there is no better time than now.

I truly believe that older babies are easier. They are so full of personality, so adventurous but still craving your comfort and support. So when Sybil's independence started to blossom (which she has in spades) I actually feel a bit more at ease. She entertains herself walking from room to room, falling, crawling, and getting up and trying again. She brings us little treasures like books and toys and plastic wrappers of any sort. She loves to break in to my purse every.single.time it's within her reach. She is fiery and passionate, opinionated yet sweet. She already makes frustrated grunts and faces, sometimes with a little hit and fire in her eyes. It's a little disconcerting imagining her terrible twos, but it's also so comforting to see that she's not a pushover. I'm all for a girl with an opinion.

Seeing our babies together makes the world feel right. They go off and play in a room, closing the door and filling the air with the occasional laugh. Sybil worships the ground that Declan walks on and he loves his "Sybi" back. I mean, occasionally it shown with tackling or some heavy duty squishing, but he makes sure every night that it's with kisses and hugs and every morning it's with an excited yell.

Declan is getting the swing of this big boy thing more and more, speaking in sentences and singing us songs. He loves reading books, playing with any toy that has wheels, and practicing his talking and sentences any chance he gets. He yells "moment of silence!" before we eat, likes to begin his day with a very specific request for oatmeal and all that it should include (raisins, peanut butter, and cinnamon, for the record), and throws about 20 "Mommy, I'm not feeling well. Watch a little tee-bee?"'s at me each day. This age is downright fun and funny. When you throw the crazy pre-teen emotions to the side, he's just so curious, so sweet. I've got to say this stage, this combination of the two, is my favorite one yet.

(These were back in our crazy February week of 80s. Now it's 31 and raining, which basically is an abomination of science...)


Monday, October 6, 2014

My Sybil.

We've made the switch from "6 months old" to "almost 7." That's a big one to me. A step further to one. A shift away from infancy and an army crawl to toddlerhood.

How it's happening so fast is beyond me. I feel like everything has been fairly seamless, automatic, as she's gone from sleeping to not sleeping to sleeping again to sitting to eating to crawling. A shining little personality has bloomed seemingly overnight, even if still kept under wraps in front of the outside world.

This morning as she hid her eyes to shield them from the fresh light, I started to laugh at her tiny self pretending to be asleep. And then she giggled, then me, then her, over and over again until I just had to scoop her body up next to mine. I cuddled her close and she lay her head on my chest, then popped it up, ready to explore the day.

When exactly she began to understand the world, to get that spoons are for mouths and floors are for exploring, is beyond me. And while I sometimes wish I could go back to lying on the couch with eight pounds of love passed out on my chest, every day makes me feel like this is the stage, this is my favorite. Because they are. It's how this whole growing up thing doesn't just make me want to break down. Because the truth is, as pure and sweet as those newborn days are, they just keep getting better.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Baby's Guide To The Galaxy: The Morning Wake Up

My friends, my following, my homies.

Since starting school I've become privy to the fact that some youngins' (clearly not self-respecting enough to be called toddlers) do not know the proper way to wake up in the morning. 

These children seem to think that the morning is their oyster. That you can take your time, flutter your eyes, read books, and generally bask in a pool of laziness as the sun shines through your crib slats and your parents lounge the morning away. It's utterly absurd, I know

So I thought I'd do a little guest post to teach them how it's done. 

Let's start with the basics: no parent deserves to wake up peacefully. They need to know exactly who's in charge. If you let them take their time and do their thing then nothing will EVER get done and they'll just keep pushing it later and later until no one gets up until 8:00 am. And that, my friends, is blasphemy. 

Begin with wakeup time. I like to start around 6:30 (okay, okay mom geeez... 7:00! (or 7:30.) But that's just recently and until the time change. Just you wait mi madre, just you wait.) My family has decided to block my windows with dark covers to try to fool me into sleep. And I'm embarrassed to say that it occasionally works. OCCASIONALLY okay? But I'm working on that. Everyone has their weaknesses. 

So you wake up at 6:30. You have every opportunity to read a book or get mesmerized by those dang boats hanging above you while boats should be in water and how exactly does this work?!, but fight it. In fact, throw your books to the ground. Push ALL your books from the bookshelf if you have the luxury. Basically just make a mess. It's invigorating and gets the muscles going. 

Next are the lungs. Breathe in deeply, hold it for five, four, three, two, one, then- "MAAAAAA-MA!" in as loud and shrieky of a voice as you can muster. Some people apparently like "nice voices" so be sure to follow that up with a quick, quiet, "mama, please." Wait 60 seconds and repeat. 

Now you're sure to have gotten their attention. If your brain is so advanced that you understand how to string two words together, then by all means begin with mama again, but it's really not necessary. The next thing to announce is your first demand. Mine always happens to be oatmeal since it's warm goo sent from angels above. But you know, you might like pancakes or toast or something that less sophisticated children eat. So be it. Again you take a deep breath in and release that bad boy with an "OOOOOAAAAMEAL!", "oatmeal please." This let's them know that you mean business, and that oatmeal had better be on the table STAT.

They should arrive shortly to retrieve you from your confines, but have no patience when they take you to the kitchen and your breakfast is not ready. None. They knew better. Tell them repeatedly, over and over and over, exactly what you want. If you're feeling so generous, once they begin making said food maybe request a little filler like cereal or a waffle to tide you over. And when I say request, I mean demand. Repeatedly. Throw your body on the floor if need be. Run to your room to show them your distress. Take great measures to show them just how much you need that cereal in your hands. And not just a bowl of cereal... no. YOU are in charge and deserve the whole bag. Don't settle for less my little friend. 

Then comes the grand moment when your food is ready. I like to help prepare mine on a plate with brown sugar, peanut butter, cinnamon, and raisins. There's some mixing and blending and all sorts of delicious work at hand. It's good to occasionally give in when they ask you to sit at the table when you really want to eat on the carpet, but if you see that look in their eye then don't push it. Just give a little "chill out yo, I got this," carry your plate to the table and take your first bite. But for some reason, some STRANGE reason, it may not be the perfection you imagined. And my advice to you when this happens, young tot, is to cry. And scream. And possibly throw your spoon after waving all the food off of it. Maybe even do a little more sobbing throughout the house as you run to your room maniacally. It gets the point across that tomorrow this better be done right. This is tiring though, so eventually just eat the stuff. Because then, then comes the redemption. 

Right when you think you're about done your mom will sit down with hers. And let me remind you - mom's food is always better. So demand it. Demand that whole bowl if you have to. It's yours, really. She brought you into this world so thus must keep you nourished. And nothing in the world will make you happier than devouring her bowl of food as she sits eating the remnants of yours. Nothing. If you've followed my previous steps then the groundwork has been laid that you mean business. You've chiseled away at their resolve and there's nothing like worn-down parents for getting what you want. So eat in peace my friend, eat in peace. Your day has now begun.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

a sloppy mess of thirty minute thoughts

Every day I ache to get on here. every day. And when I say ache, I truly must mean the thought passes my mind when Sybil accomplishes one of her firsts or Declan adds to his shelf of Adorable Antics. And then I realize that my sliver of time for me, that hour at night when things are as good as I'm going to get them and children are quietly in bed, when I decide that as much as I want sleep maybe catching up on one show or having a little conversation with my husband is more important, well it's hard to place this blog in that sliver.

What I don't think you hear enough these days is how hard parenting two young children is. It's hard. Really hard. Or maybe I'm just whining. I mean, we do it because what choice is there. You're in the weeds and you're doing all you can to keep your head up. Whether staying at home or working away life is busy and messy and full of guilt for whatever. Maybe, just maybe, if you have extra money to pay for a clean house and good food and some time alone then it might not be quite as hard, but you'd still probably end up feeling guilty for not scrubbing the toilets yourself.

Even in the extreme busyness though, this summer has been lovely. I've been to Tennessee, Baltimore (twice!), Bethany Beach, Michigan, and California. I started a new job. I soaked in family weekends and stayed up late to enjoy the warm summer air. I bathed myself in chlorine as Declan flew down the froggy water slide just one more time and drank a few more morning cups of coffee as aftermath of spending some quality feeds with my girl in the darkness. I flew seven times (not counting transfers), drove two road trips with both kids, and packed for three of us seven times in two weeks. All of this to say, I sucked the marrow right out of summer 2014 and am ready for some fall.

Fall is that time to pack it in. To sit at home on your couch catching up on shows. To hug more, cuddle more, cook more. To organize and restart. It's a much needed sigh after a summer of go, go, go.

And each year at this time I miss home. Baltimore in the fall is idyllic. So crisp, so collegiate. I always ache to go back, but more than that, I ache to be a child. I want to relive those first weeks of school, the soccer practices followed by home made pizza. I want to be sitting on the couch with the tv on, scribbling down some homework as I try to block out the sounds of NPR in the warm kitchen while my mom makes dinner. This wave washes over me every September like clockwork.

And I see that one day I won't be as busy, or at least not with diapers and rocking and nursing. One day I will go back to that life, whether in Austin or Baltimore or somewhere else unknown. And even though it won't be quite the same, I'll be the one working the day away as I knead some dough, I'll get to give my children these same moments of comfort and belonging. I get to be the mom. And then all this busyness has been worth it.

(and now pictures. just because.)

Go soak up this last weekend of summer and then let's welcome fall with open arms and cozy couches. Whaddya say?