Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Letter to a Newborn Mother {i.e. myself in a matter of days}

Dear mama,

In a span of mere hours you've been immersed in an identity somewhat unknown to you- mother of a newborn. Even if you've been here before, each time is somewhat new- different challenges, thoughts, feelings, and joys. You are cloaked in so much beauty and stress and peace and frustration that you might feel like a muddled mess of confusion. But hear me out- you will make it through.

In this all consuming new world, you've had to shed your old skin. You've been swallowed heart and soul by this being, this innocent, little creature who has no abilities beyond you. And while you may love her and this position, it's okay if you don't always. It's hard. You aren't living for you these days- you are living for her. And while it seems like this is eternity at times, trust me that it isn't. You will eventually sleep for stretches over three hours. You will shower, you will eat, you will cook, and you will clean. You will regain routine and you will do all those trivial daily things that once seemed annoying but now signify freedom. But you will never, ever get these days with her back. Enjoy them.

Because the fact remains, one day she will start to separate and blossom. You will catch up on sleep enough to see through the fog and will be surrounded by a bittersweet tinge. There will be laughing and cooing and smiling. There will be exploring and cuddles and crying. There will be solid foods and reading up on weaning and watching her scoot her little body away from you on the floor. And believe me, you will love every minute. And while you are loving every moment, every cell in your body might be screaming to stop time; to soak this in; to hold on with all your might. But you can't. You have to let go; that's just the way of growth.

And this too will get easier. That skin you shed when you became newborn mother, the one that held all those lovely facets of who you are, will begin to grow back. Please let it. It can be tough to forfeit the feeling of the newness, to forgo the tenderness that people give you when they realize you are the protector of this new little life, but you must. You must take your soul back and revel in your growing autonomy, just as you revel in hers. It's the way of the world and it's vital for you both.

And believe it or not, there will come a day when it's truly okay that she's not so tiny anymore. Where you see other babies and want to sniff their heads and hold their tiny bodies, but handing them back to pick up the one pulling at your leg covered in dirt demanding "up" will be a relief. You'll handle the acceptance of this child's bigness with the realization that they are still really so small, and somehow balance the feelings of needing to grasp on to each and every fleeting moment with actually living and breathing them in.

Right now this might all seem impossible. That's why I'm writing to you beforehand. Before those pesky hormones kick in and lack of sleep takes over. Before you watch her grow and grow and grow, taking picture after picture to hold on. Before you realize that your identity for the past year has given way to her out of necessity, and going back to before isn't that simple. And before that momentum starts to shift and you have to find the before you piece-by-piece so that you can see it's going to be more than okay. You will always be a mother and the journey ahead is so immensely beautiful, much more than you realize. It's just that you will get to be you while on it.

So remember- you are in a gifted period of time, precious but short. Enjoy it. Don't fret about your house or look on blogs at moms that "do it all" or take heart if someone asks you what exactly you did all day.

You gave life; you gave yourself; you gave your all. 

**Linking up with The Weigands for On Your Heart.**

Saturday, February 22, 2014

36 Weeks

There was a time (before I was pregnant) when I imagined growing a second child and documenting the whole experience in the ways that I wanted to but didn't with Declan. (I started at 29 weeks with him and only wrote a handful of times- 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. )

This was, of course, before I realized that I'd also be taking care of a toddler, a household, and myself. Basically adding more on to my plate than I'd ever had with the first pregnancy and thus fighting to stay afloat with my actual responsibilities. So writing those weekly updates was not to be yet again. The few so far will just have to do, because we are in the home stretch.

I'm so excited and so scared at the same time. I know what's going to come in some significant ways- the feeling of holding her sweet weight for the first time, the coos and smells and weight of her sleeping on my chest, the hours upon hours spent breastfeeding for what seems like e-ter-ni-ty. And this knowledge is wonderful and terrifying all at once, since along with the sweetness comes the lack of sleep- something you can only understand once you've been there. Then there are the unknowns that come from already having Declan to care for and love. How to share the attention fairly; how to manage on minuscule amounts of sleep without napping; how to change 2,371 diapers a day. All of that is more than a teensy bit frightening.

We're getting to the point of knowing she could arrive at any time. (As in, I'm 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced, so literally have been warned she could come at any time...) I've been balancing being in overdrive trying to get things done with the fact that I'm 36 weeks pregnant, a feeling that is starting to hit me hard. It's one day on and one day off of energy supply. And even on those go hard days I have to remind myself that sleep will be limited soon so get it while I can, which just adds another task to my to-do list.

This whole flow of consciousness is to remind myself yet again that she's coming. Anytime. It's gone from some weird kind of "if" feeling to "when." Yet still it feels totally like dreamland. I just wanted to take a moment to honor this. This moment of knowing life is about to change drastically but not knowing when. To try to savor the feelings of her kicking within since she can never go back, even as she shifts her weight onto nerves that don't appreciate having that weight on them one bit. These final days where Declan is the only one I look at through my mama eyes; where he's my one and only.

I'm going to be a mother of two children in mere days. 

And one of them will be a daughter. 


*Follow any updates on instagram!*

*listening to*
Story of My Life - One Direction
Happy - Pharrell Williams
Best Day of My Life - American Authors
See You Tonight - Scotty McCreery


Thursday, February 20, 2014

7/52 & 21 Months

"A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2014."
Declan :: Enjoying some of the perks of having landscaping done- a yard full of dirt and a bumpy ride in a wheelbarrow. 


My sweet baby.

You are 21 months old today and while I look at you and think how you've grown, I also am blown away by just how little you are. This will likely be the last month that we call you "the baby," since you are about to be promoted to big brother. And this cuts me a little. I'm not ready to let your babyness go, no matter how many words you are learning or routines you've gotten down. But you, you're ready. And for those moments where you aren't, where you just want to cry and cuddle and push my hair to the side to lay your warm cheek on my shoulder, I'm here for you. I will always be here for you.

But the truth is you are growing and developing just like you should. We tried to figure out how many words you know, because 100 by the age of 2 just seemed like so many, but I truly think you've already surpassed it. You may not say many perfectly, but you've got your own language and we try to catch on with each new word. Today it was "puz" and earlier this week you deemed your darling sweet potatoes "tay-tays". You're a sponge, and I remind your dear dad of your verbal sponginess quite often.

You're in a spell of waking up early, something that I'm not too fond of, and you don't wake up happy. So sleep. Please baby, just sleep. If the sun is up you are always just as sunny, but if it's still dark you deep down know it's not time. Or at least that's what I tell myself. Not that I can complain too much.

You love routine. Mornings you drink your bottle (yes, bottle. we are weak to the sippy cup switcheroo.) tucked in bed with us, look at my phone for a bit, and then announce it's time for "oa-mee" or "waf." You present me with my glasses, ask for us to get up, and then insist on standing on the corner counter where you can turn on the radio and play with the microwave. It's a morning constant that I'm sure I'll one day miss.

Being "ouside" is your place of choice, where you can run around, play "base" (t-ball), go on walks, and try to see your friends. You love playdates, and we try to do them every other morning or so. The whole day is better when you interact with other kiddos. And car rides are only complete when you've picked out a train to take with you.

You're just a spitfire my friend. Passionate and self-possessed and knowing what you want. You are exactly where you're supposed to be and it still amazes me that this is only the beginning of the journey.

**Linking with The 52 Project and Just Write.**

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Why We Work

**For Valentine's Day this year, Bon from The Life of Bon and Taylor of The Daily Tay, got a link-up together for all of us romantics to write about why our relationships work. 
Great idea, and one I was going to skip, until I actually started to think about it.** 

Sometime this fall Peyton and I took personality tests and came out virtual opposites. While I was ESFJ (extrovert-sensing-feeling-judging) he was ENTP (extrovert-intuiting-thinking-perceiving). Basically, I'm a provider and he's an inventor. I'm all about relating and personal connections while he is centered on logic and envisioning.

We then took another test that was flying around Facebook a month ago, the iPersonic (take it if you haven't!), and got the same results. His title was "Groundbreaking Thinker" while mine was "Social Realist." Reliability is my number one, and it isn't even on his radar. He goes for innovation while I am all about tradition. His profile even said "it is often a challenge to have a long-term relationship with a Groundbreaking Thinker" while I'm, well... me. So there ya go- opposites attract. And we are about as different as can be.

But how exactly did I end up with someone who on occasion manages to be the most infuriating human I've yet encountered?

Or who is clearly on a different wavelength at vital moments when I wish he wasn't?

Or who has the ability to make me want to scream and run and wave my arms violently?

Welp, I think it comes down to a few simple things.

We are extroverts. We like people. We like company. We are comfortable in nearly any environment and don't have to deal with each other's anxieties that we just can't understand. I've dated some great guys, but none were extroverts, and it is truly refreshing to be with someone who just gets that basic bit of who I am.

We have similar core values. We are honest. We are kind. We enjoy helping others and truly care about the well-being of the world. I'm not trying to say that we are amazing (...we are) but I just find that these core similarities are oh so important when it seems like nearly everything about us is opposite.

We have strong senses of self. Which often times sucks, especially when we are battling each other. We both know who we are extremely well and are confident in our opinions. And when we don't agree? It hurts and escalates far too fast. But in the end, I think that from this comes a level of respect. Neither of us is a push-over and neither is faking it for the other. We present our real selves to love or leave, and we both choose to love.

We are relaxed. Not all the time, but in our day-to-day interactions and choices we stay pretty cool and collected. This helps drastically in parenting and keeps us on or around the same page. It also allows us to enjoy sitting at home night after night because we don't have to worry that we're missing out on the next best thing. We both know that there will always be another.

We laugh. Kind of goes with the relaxed thing, but it's possibly more important. Laughter is our glue, and we are both able to laugh heartily and often. At each other and ourselves. Both are vital.

We are both committed. And there's nothing like knowing the person you've gone through emotional roller coasters for is on board to do the same for you. It gives the most supportive sense of freedom.

Our differences often balance out. (Often being the imperative word). I'm punctual; he's far from it. He's a perfectionist when it comes to prep work; I'm sloppy as all get-out. He can listen; I can talk. I go feelings; he goes logic. And while sometimes these things don't always gel beautifully (or even at all), they often do. We fill in each other's spaces.

And of course, the most important thing of all...

We enjoy each other's company. Day after day, year after year, there is no one I would rather spend the bulk of my time with. There are certainly down times, but the majority of the time I am my happiest and most at ease with him. And while I can't say for certain that he'd say the same of me, I took to heart what he told me recently --

that I am, ahem, 

"the only woman that [he] would have met in [his] lifetime that [he] could have married.

(aaaand cue the collective awww. or barfing...

And while those might be just words for lots of people out there, the fact that he was a confirmed bachelor for a veeery long time makes me believe it to be true. He wasn't going to settle. It's simply not in his iPersonic type.

So love you long time, P. 

For these (and many more) reasons.

{AllyElleCards on Etsy. Buy it. You know you have to.}


Thursday, February 13, 2014


So the 52 project goes as such:

"A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2014."

And I'm already breaking the rules. 

You see, as I was perusing the measly amount of yellow light photos I have from this week, I thought about why I wanted to participate. To share photos just because I have them? No sirree. I ain't that mom (at least not tonight.) No, the reason I am drawn to this project is to help remember our every day moments and capture his blossoming soul week to week. So I'm doing just that by documenting this daily ritual that has given numerous belly laughs this week.

I mean, really. The gusto. The spunk! There is no visual, just audio, but to me that's a portrait of another kind. 

And seriously friends. I hear him every night from the farthest room after Peyton has closed his door and his sound machine is on. 

over and over and over.

 **Linking up with Practising Simplicity for the 52 Project.**


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

That Time I Drove Forty Minutes For Leftover Cake.

Apparently the baby is in her chunking up phase, because I am thirty-five weeks along and ravenous.

As in, finish boxes of chocolate cereal every night (and afternoon) and then pass out on the couch in a cereal coma ravenous.

Or make cinnamon rolls nearly daily ravenous.

Or drive nearly an hour to try to get some leftover cake ravenous. 

You see, my adopted Texas family threw a little late birthday shindig for me last Thursday complete with a delicious cookies-and-cream vegan cake. After choosing to split my piece with Declan, all I could think about was relaxing on the couch post-bedtime with the rest all for me. (And maybe an offering or two for that sweet husband of mine.) With mouthwatering dreams running through my mind, I loaded up the car and drove off into the night, confident that this night would be a good one. 

But as I pulled into my driveway my hopes came crumbling down when the realization hit: I'd left my delicacy on the car roof. And I'd just driven twenty minutes away from it.

After a quick, heartbreaking call to Margaret in which the cake was nowhere to be found, there was only one option: I had to go back to see for myself. I ran inside, deposited my child with his father, and hit the road.

The time crept by as I got closer and closer. I kept my eyes peeled on the pavement, hoping for a dessert miracle. And when I saw it, my heart skipped a beat. My plastic top! Some icing wrapped along the inside! But then it became all too clear that what I really was seeing was wreckage. It was brutal people. Brutal to my heart and soul. And those tire tracks? A punch to the gut. I took a quick picture for posterity's sake and tried to enjoy the icing remnants as I made the long trek home, but it was truly hard knowing their chocolate brother was no longer.  

But let me tell you: I don't regret the journey. It was necessary for these hormones to be quenched. And while it certainly isn't in a better place, it is in a place that I knew wasn't salvageable. And that let my mind rest with some ease that night.

 So disintegrate in peace, sweet cake. You deserved a more appreciated ending. 

Love from-
Your-should-clearly-be-larger admirer


Tuesday, February 4, 2014


"A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2014."
Declan :: "Ou-side, ou-side." 

At this point, there is no place he'd rather be, and no one he'd rather be out there with than "Tee-tee."


After waiting over half a year plus four weeks, I have finally joined The 52 Project. Started by Jodi of Practising Simplicity, it is a community of bloggers who portrait their children once a week, every week, for a year. The idea is to capture childhood in it's every day moments, to document development in beautiful snippets.

I'm so excited to start... Better late than never!