Tuesday, September 22, 2015

And just like that...

he is one.

How to put into words the ways I have changed, grown, been stretched, been heartbroken, been anxious, been unsure, been positive I was messing up not just my life but another human's.

The heartbreak of parenting is that from the moment they are conceived, they need you just a little less every day. This gradual, but consistent tiny bit of independence has been breaking my heart just a little every day.

It's a good reminder that being a parent is truly being a temporary steward. It has been the biggest privilege and most intimidating responsibility.

You are our sweet prince. You are our joy. You are a gift. We love you.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Feeling at home in an "unfinished" space

Since we bought a house ONE YEAR ago (!) and shared a generous photo of the front door, our friends, family, acquaintances and fellow bloggers have asked to see pictures of the space and I've categorically avoided it. When people come over to our house, I'm often apologizing for the lack of furniture, excusing our hand-me-down couch, and generally making people feel uncomfortable with how much I appear to hate how things are set up and plan to change everything when we have the time/money/ability.

Recently, I started to hear these excuses come out of my mouth as my guests did. And I looked around and started, just a little, to see our house not just as potential, but as our haven, here and now.

I even cleaned off my church pew bench for the picture!

Unintentionally-styled mantle featuring our name in wooden letter blacked out, pine cones
leftover from Christmas and commentaries, of course! and no furniture :'D
 I don't want to make excuses and spend time wishing it looked prettier and better and that I had better and more consistent taste. (On different occasions my style can be described as eclectic, vintage, industrial, rustic, craftsman, mid-century, blah, blah, blah. Don't fit me into a box! and all that).

And I don't want to spend any more time wishing we had the money for stuff to hang on my wall and white ceramic animals (kidding!) and giant potted plants and to remodel the bathrooms and landscape the back yard and make a dreamy outdoor dining space with market lights, and, and, and...I hope someday we do have money and time and that I can make a decision on some of those items. But I also want to enjoy our house NOW.

I embrace that we have ratty, hand-me-down furniture, because we have a baby who is messy and climbing and slobbering and will eventually be jumping and catapulting and spilling and generally destroying all the nice things I have and would like to have. and we'll probably have another one or two of those destructive, imaginative fun-making creatures and they'll ruin even more of my prized belongings.

Speaking of my baby, his room is my favorite.

My baby model slacking on the job.
I hope E and any future babies will be able to have fun piling cushions on the ground and jumping off of them, and making forts with my throw pillows and hand-knit afghans and that they won't remember their mama yelling at them to "don't touch that" and "be careful with that" and "If you do that again, you'll..."

And for that, I will sacrifice having instagram-worthy photos of my home. At least for 20 years or so.

This post might make my husband crazy, because he has been telling me all of the above, in not so many words, for the past 10 months, but hey - that would have been too easy, right?

a pastor works here. and a kid makes huge messes here.

(this is the ikea bekvam kitchen cart that I stained and painted)

That oven is original to the house and it works! My favorite thing in the kitchen.

please note my prize, giant zucchini on the counter.
The butler's pantry is awesome for storage but separates the kitchen from the rest of the house.
Master bedroom

How do you make your space a home, even if it's not magazine worthy?

(Also, serious question, how do you decide what to put on your walls? I am seriously gun-shy about committing to decor.)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Send hugs and coffee

I was very easy on myself in the first month after E was born. I kept my commitments to a minimum, I didn't get out of bed for a week after I had him. I prepared myself for sleepless nights, napped when I could, asked for help when I needed it (a lot) and generally, I took gentle care of myself.

I looked at my post-partum body in the mirror and I said, it's okay, body. It's only been a few weeks since you birthed a baby human. Just wait until you can start working out again and you'll get there.

I looked at my bloodshot eyes and I said, it's okay self. You'll get sleep soon. He's doing better already, and it will only go up from here. In the meantime, coffee.

I looked at my husband and we said, this is temporary. We'll have time and energy to talk and reconnect again soon. Look at this beautiful creature we made. Look how much we've figured out already!

And things got better. Week by week, they got a little easier. When I got ready to return to work, I was excited. It felt doable, I felt competent. I was nervous, but I was prepared.

Spoiler alert: I was NOT prepared.

After four months of successful breastfeeding, I've struggled with my milk supply when pumping at work. I started taking supplements and am on a rigorous feeding/pumping schedule every two hours to keep up with the demand, but it still wasn't enough and we have to start supplementing with formula.

I gained weight this month trying to eat enough calories to make milk. I stopped my workout routine, because I was tired and would rather cuddle with my baby after work than be at the gym. My closet selection is waning.

The four-month sleep regression hit and for the past six weeks, we have been waking up every 1.5-3 hours all night. Then I got pneumonia (yes, seriously). I am a walking, coughing zombie.

I'd be lying if I didn't say it has been hard.

This last month has rocked my world. E was such an easy newborn that I started to think life would always be easy. I started to envision parenting as a series of milestone-reaching moments and achievements. Because sleep, weight loss, breastfeeding, our ability to recognize E's needs and respond - didn't we have that all figured out? I did not think I would get worse at these things! but I did. (Go ahead and laugh—you pro parents—at my foolishness.)

I did not know that the regressions and steps backwards and steps sideways are all a part of the process.

What wonderfully transformative time this is. Learning to sacrifice not just my time and my body and my emotions, but also my expectations and my pride. Realizing that this baby is learning new things and growing and changing every day. Thanking God for grace that covers over all of our missteps and middle-of-the-night murmuring. Loving on this sweet bundle who makes our life so much fuller and better.

The process might be painful and the learning curve is huge, but our little boy has made life so sweet. (and he gets cuter every day! We definitely got the best part of the deal.)


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