Two Months

You’re smiling now and melting my heart,

It’s not long that we’re ever apart.

Your scrunched up nose and sideways smirk

is your newest body of work.

Fans and lights are your favorite sight

and Daddy when he gets home at night!

I see you are plumping up and gaining some rolls!

I kiss you all over and make you “coo” and “oh”.

You love warm water and stretching so long.

I play Christmas songs – you hear me sing along.

I’m learning all about you everyday.

I’m storing up each moment in my memory to stay.

Baby, I love you with all of my might

and watching you grow is a beautiful sight.

 

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Learning to “Mom”

Everyone says motherhood is difficult, exhausting, often thankless work. As a new mother six weeks deep, I have to admit, I tend to agree. Caring for my baby is wonderful work but it is hard work. I have not ventured into this type of selflessness until now. It is new territory for me and probably the most obvious change to my previously childless life. I am charged with the responsibility of meeting my daughter’s every need. She needs me to live (In fact I am nursing her as I write this)! This mom gig is the real deal. 

I am learning how to cope with the loss of my self-absorption pre-baby and hoping to thrive as a mother to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. To do this, I get creative with the crazy things raising a little human throws my way. 


When she cries, sometimes I laugh. That sounds awful, but social norms go out the window when you become a parent. When baby girl is fussy and starts to have a whimpy little cry, I just laugh at her. She will look at me with a face that says “are you not taking me seriously?” and then make another feeble cry attempt, which makes me giggle again. Laughing helps make a a little cry just a little cry and not a big stressor. 

Babies are known for making messes. The most notorious is the poop explosion. I am a regular victim of this natural disaster and it can have the mental and physical impact of a disaster area if you let it. To prevent a complete breakdown and pity party, I manage the calamity by making up a ridiculous song about the extraordinary circumstances of my baby’s diaper. You won’t be hearing this song on the radio anytime soon. 

The most difficult baby responsibility for me is the middle of the night wake up calls. Whether it’s feeding time, diaper changing time, or hiccup time, this mommy is not great at keeping a positive attitude at 3:00 in the morning. That is when things get hard and I just want to cry (very similarly to the baby). Sometimes all I can do is simply stare at my baby’s face and hold her tiny hand and know that even the hard times are a gift. 

Being a mom and learning how to care completely, love deeply, and remain a wonderfully made independent woman takes more grace than I can describe. At times I’m simply making it through the day and on the rare occasion I win first place for “moming” in public. Despite the successes or utter failures, I will continue to make every attempt to survive with a smile in hope that my daughter will become a woman who laughs even in the midst of life’s best messes. 

Newborn Photos: Aria

Add being stripped down, placed in a basket, and having a camera very close to her face to the list of things that makes my newborn cry. Diaper changes and being nakey in general also top that list. Hair washing, nursing and cuddling are my two week old’s favorite activities, and my world consists of managing the likes and dislikes to this little human’s satisfaction.

I am loving getting to know my daughter and had to capture her teeny tiny face before she grows too big!

Aria’s Arrival

This is the post I’ve been waiting to write for the past nine months. I’ve written different versions of this story with my niece and nephew, but this birth story is my own. Waiting for the arrival of your first child is one of those things you anticipate, plan, and over-analyze yet, when it finally begins, it hits you that it is actually happening. All the planning culminates into the Real birth of your Actual child.

The week and a half leading up to labor I was experiencing every. single. symptom. of imminent labor: the plug, the show, cramps, dilation, effacement- you name it, I had it. I was putting my friends and family on high alert. From everything I read, I was bound to go into labor at any moment! This lasted for two weeks until my blood pressure started creeping up, and my doctor scheduled me to be induced on October 11th. The funny thing about October 11th is that it’s my husband’s birthday, and he had been claiming that our daughter would be born on his birthday throughout the entire pregnancy. He was now confident in his prediction with the induction scheduled. At this point, I gave up waiting for labor to begin and accepted I would show up on a predetermined date to have my baby.

On Saturday night October 8th, I gathered up the last of my 39 week energy reservoir and went to watch the Florida State vs. Miami football game at a local sports bar. As most know, I am a diehard FSU football fan, and I did my best to stay calm, cool, and collected as I watched my team battle in a close game against our long time nemesis, Miami. FSU ended up winning the game by blocking an extra point as the clock dwindled in the fourth quarter.

It was only a couple of hours later that my personal overtime of excitement began. I felt the first contraction and thought, “hey, that one was strong…” but again I shrugged it off as just another tease of labor. Then another contraction came and then another. By the third contraction they were occurring five minutes apart, and I was quickly coming to know the intensity of labor pains. I was determined to be a “good” patient and waited the full 45 minutes before dialing the on-call physician who gave her blessing to come into the hospital.

Once admitted I quickly dilated to 6 cm and experienced the shock of my water, not breaking, but BURSTING. That was startling. I  then received the beautiful, wonderful, gracious invention of an epidural and took a NAP. I woke up a little while later to feeling contractions on my left side to which I received more drugs through my marvelous epidural. About 30 seconds later, it was time to push- I was going to meet my baby!

I like when my husband tells the story of me pushing for 30 minutes because he chuckles the whole time. I was so thrilled that I kept laughing and repeatedly saying, “I’m so excited to see her!” between each pushing session. I think the nurses and doctor thought that I was amusing and probably a little crazy.

I remember every detail of that last push and knowing my daughter was entering this world and my life in that moment. The second the doctor placed her on my chest, I became a blubbering hysterical sobbing mother. I was overwhelmed with seeing that little life in front of me. It was like staring at the most beautiful forms of creation: the mountains, rivers, islands and seas all at once, and knowing, this most precious form of creation is personally given to you. The feeling is incredible.

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My husband and I were then able to spend time loving our beautiful daughter while sharing what is surely the most memorable moment of our lives.  Our baby’s tribe of supporters soon followed with all the love they could pour out onto such a precious, new baby.

I’m sure my birth story is familiar to innumerable women and many of the sentiments I write have been storied from the beginning of time. But it’s an experience that deserves to be told over and over again because it spreads Love and Gratefulness for an Amazing Creator who gives us the most breathtaking gifts. I am so thankful to have been blessed with the experience of  growing a new life in my body and then having every moment ahead of me to gaze at her perfectly formed face and dark hair and gentle hands. Just as God intended, I am in awe.

Welcome to The World and my world Aria Ray. You are so very loved.

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October 9, 2016 at 11:08am

6 pounds 13 ounces, 20 inches long

The Baby Story

Not many stories of adventure start out with a dying need to pee, but this one does. I ran inside after purchasing a pregnancy test from the grocery store as to not waste any of the precious liquid in my bladder threatening to burst. I gave that pregnancy test a good soaking and promptly put it on the window sill only to pace ten feet away. I glanced at my cell phone and promised myself not to look before five minutes had passed. I stood by nervously convincing myself that I surely was not pregnant as to dim the sting of inevitable disappointment. 

My self-imposed five minutes were up, and I cautiously looked over onto the test as one would peer into a chemistry beaker with unknown ingredients. I saw a line. I grabbed the test and stared- to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. It seemed real to me. I looked at the familiar face in the mirror holding a piece of plastic that would change life forever. I smiled, cried, and told myself, “You’re going to have a baby.” I then proceeded to jump around and have a mini mental meltdown as one would expect. 

I quickly chugged more water, peed on another test and watched as the line barely showed- knowing I wasted all that good hormone on the first test. A “barely there” line is still a line. I was convinced enough to jump in the car and find a baby gift to surprise my husband. This should reflect the forethought and planning into the following story of how I broke the news to Justin. 

I came home with the cutest and smallest set of onesies I could find to really drive home the “baby” of the baby announcement. Justin walked in from mowing lawns, and I casually said, “Hey, I went to Marshall’s today and bought you something.” Since I purchase all of Justin’s clothes from Marshall’s, Justin had no other inclination but to think I bought him another half-price Hurley T-Shirt from the discount store. I told him to close his eyes, which I’m sure he thought was weird but obliged as I am frequently weird, and I placed a onesie on his chest that read, “Hi! I’m new here!”  He opened his eyes and quickly realized that this piece of clothing was not his size. I can only describe Justin’s reaction as one of shock as it is so rare to see a disruption in his constant calm, cool demeanor. It took a solid five minutes of me staring at him with my “dumb yet happy” face before he was able to express real sentences of excitement. The rest of the day we just walked around the house with a cheesy grin plastered across our faces like conspirators in a really great inside joke. 

Technically speaking I was four weeks and 2 days gestation so that gave me about a week and half of solid bliss before the tidal wave of nausea, vomiting and exhaustion hit. The first trimester has not been nice to me, and I have a new appreciation of women all over the world who are able to function in normal society when they feel like I have felt (or worse) for a solid 9 weeks. It has been difficult to think about baby shoes, nursery colors, and the like when my one and only focus in life is, “Am I going to throw up now or five minutes from now?” Also, “I’m so tired I could lie down and die.” As a result, I still have SO much to look forward to and focus on like the actual having a baby part of pregnancy.  

Despite a barrage of fears and anxieties, I am inching toward the realization that I am going to be the mother and Justin will be the father of a precious new life. I am also more humbled each and every day over the blessing of health, development, protection and what it takes to make a life in my body. My hope is my heart and my marriage will be prepared over the next six months to welcome a child with the love God has poured into my life. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a mother. I know this will be an amazing adventure unlike any other, and our child will surely be a Wild One.

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Sprinkles of Love

Attending a wedding is like signing up for a free seminar on how to be smitten with your spouse. I was recently a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding and had the front row seat to a reminder in sweet, blissful, young love. Ironically, that’s the way humans work, we forget why we did things in the first place, the kind of life we wanted, and how to enjoy the one you love- you know the important stuff. It seems easy and simple when you witness it firsthand, such as in a wedding with two people who are oozing with love for one another, but somehow 1 year, 2 years, 5 years in, the reminder is a shock in how much your own marriage has drifted from the days of constant smiles and affection.

Since I was a part of the bridal party, my husband of three years attended the rehearsal dinner in addition to the ceremony and reception. The rehearsal dinner was a parade of love. Toasts and speeches from friends and family depicted the individual bride and groom as the wonderful, faithful and loyal people they are and how their love for each other is the perfect juxtaposition of character. I know my husband heard and saw at least some of the expression of love, and I was hanging on every word. I could practically feel the palpable love swelling in the air. I wanted to hold hands, cuddle by a fire and write a poem…in that order. I’m not sure if my husband felt the same, but I did notice more physical touch and an attention that felt distinctly romantic.

Of course all these feelings are due to immediate circumstances and whatever chemicals in the brain are responsible for the feeling effect of the “lovey dovies.” But I don’t think they are without value! Marriage is built on the foundation of choosing to love your partner day in and day out, unconditionally. That’s how marriages survive through the hard times, but the feeling of romance, affection and bliss are a great addition to a strong marriage. It’s like having a dense chocolate brownie of marriage with years of ice cream on top and then adding sprinkles. Sprinkles, like sweet displays of affection, are infectiously happy things.

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I know my husband and I at times become complacent and comfortable after nine years of being a couple. I’m living with my best friend and sometimes I forget that he’s a friend that I get to have the deepest, most intimate relationship with (what a gift). I want to feel that treasured young love my whole life and what better way than to attend weddings and absorb the love from the newlyweds themselves, similarly making the commitment of marriage. I can also choose make the “lovey dovies” a priority in how I demonstrate my love. I’m learning to believe that the human need of a little romance and affection can sweeten marriage over time as the deepest feelings of love and commitment grow.

So, to you and yours: More Sprinkles Please! (both literally and figuratively)