Life lately.

He squeals and screams, just playing with his voice that is new. “Ma ma,” I tell him. “Ma ma ma.”

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Little fingers grasp mama’s necklace while he nurses.

Mischievous baby smirk.

His first snowfall was so much fun!

Happy Valentines day!  

Thank god for in laws who take T for the night so we could get a date! These are becoming so precious, which makes them all the more fun 🙂

Baby baths are the best kind. 

Always, always, always on papa’s shoulders.

What have you been up to lately?

That Nauseated Feeling

Snow day 2.26.15.

Sitting alone on my white couch, blinding light reflecting in, and my baby making noises in his crib. He is waking up slowly, and I let him dawdle. It’s good for him to have time to himself. Time to experiment, time to soak in the newness. He is 7.5 months. An eternity, yet also the blink of an eye. I’m still so hurt- so raw- from our birth together. I can’t imagine going through it again. An yet, as I sit here, I have that nauseated feeling. The last I felt this feeling, I was in my first trimester with our Sprout. I got sick daily- I couldn’t even keep saltines down. So should I take a pregnancy test? I’m too scared. I don’t know if I could face it. It isn’t that I don’t want another baby. That would be grueling and hard and I would be stretched beyond my limit. But that isn’t what I fear. Rather, it is the pregnancy. The carrying. It ate me alive last time. It completely devoured any sense of who I was. It wiped out all of my passions, all of my excitement, and left me weak and struggling. Some women triumph through pregnancy. I did not. I struggled through it. It was successful for no reason other than that I had a child– a beautiful, healthy, delightful child.

Far and away, the worst part of NFP is the abstaining. I thought it would be the constant checking of fertility, or the daily need to chart, but those don’t come close to how tough it is to abstain. After all, I have this amazingly sexy husband with whom I waited for marriage. And yet, here we are, in the middle of period of abstaining, save one time we cheated and threw all caution to the wind. That time was the first time sex didn’t rip me to pieces and there was no pain. That was the FIRST time that had happened. Afterwards, we held our breath anxiously until my period came again. And it came. And we could barely believe that it did. We had this messed up feeling that anything that good couldn’t go without a consequence. You see, we’e only ever “cheated” one other time. It was an accidental cheating.. we didn’t even realize we weren’t following the rules. And then came Thad.

So you might be wondering why I’m nervous. How could I be pregnant if we’ve been abstaining this whole time? Well, there are other things a married couple can do, you know. And my NFP teacher tells me that it is the sin of Onan, but you know what? I have absolutely no guilt. Absolutely none. I just can not believe that the Lord would want my husband and I to abstain completely from intimacy. Not only is it impossible, but it isn’t what he intended for marriage. And the sin of onan… can result in “contact pregnancy.” It can. It does. And so I sit here in fear. But also maybe with a tiny smidge of hope and maybe a little bit of excitement.

I know. I KNOW. I’m crazy. But I just don’t give AF.

Information Porn is Taking Over My Life and I LIKE it.

I’ve been doing a lot of “self-help” reading lately, and my brain has been overflowing with all of the information that I’m learning. I love it! To be honest, I’ve been a bit of an information whore. But I need to get some of those thoughts out of my head, for fear of losing them forever! I don’t have anywhere else to record them… you guys don’t mind if I do it here, do you? 🙂

It all started with “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo. A friend of mine began posting pictures on Instagram detailing her radical transformation to a minimalist after reading it. It was so intriguing. I’ve always been really put-off by the thought of minimalism. I thought of myself as a maximalist… I love mixing textures and colors and beautiful things and can’t stand those gray-white rooms filled with… nothing. But seeing her transformation was so eye-opening. So I had to read it myself. The basic premise is that, by default, we are surrounded by things that we don’t love. I know that I, for one, have a lot of guilt-possessions– things that I was given, or things that work perfectly fine or look perfectly fine, and so how could I really get rid of them?! The result is that my life is in a constant mess and my brain is all jumbled, finding peace no where. Marie Kondo asks us to imagine a life, a house, where we are surrounded solely by things that “spark joy.” Close your eyes and imagine that, friend. Imagine walking in your front door and being flooded with a sense of peace and calm. Your eyes land on one thing after another that you absolutely love. You walk into your bedroom and see the bedspread that you love, the rug that you love, the lamp that you love. You walk into your closet and you see clothes that excite you. Clothes that you WILL wear, because you love each and EVERY piece. Kondo suggests that the path to a less stressed life is through editing, rather than adding.

I’ve begun the transformation and it is addicting, liberating, exciting and, yes, life-changing. It’s like taking a shower, and scrubbing yourself of all the dirt and grime from 25 years of living, to emerge a clean and light version of yourself. Marie Kondo gives you a very specific, well thought-out order in which to discard. (She also gives you a new way of going about discarding, but I’ll let you discover that for yourself.) It is called the KonMari Method. You start with clothes, then books, then papers, and so on. I’ve gotten through clothes and books. Before I began this, I had a massive dresser, stuffed to the brim, and two full closets, overflowing with my clothes. I now have about 2/3rds of the dresser filled and one closet that has tons of room left over. I walk into my closet and I see only pieces that I love. It was really terrifying, getting rid of so much stuff, but I haven’t regretted it for a second. I don’t even feel stretched to find clothes each day, because I was only wearing the things I really loved, anyways. And I have less mess, because I am not tearing apart my closet and dresser each morning looking for that one shirt. I know where each and every item is. All of my clothes are folded the KonMari way, so I can see it all at one glance.

After that, I moved on to books. It took me a while to get through clothes because I work full time and I am a mother to a 7 month old and a wife to a sexy-as-hell husband. I don’t have a ton of time left over, so the only time I can really get to tidying is on the weekends. But I am always so excited to get to it! It isn’t a chore… it is a pleasure! I gathered up all the books scattered about my house, put them in one giant pile, turned on “yoga radio” on Pandora and decided about each and every book whether or not it “sparked joy.” It had been my principal to keep every single book, always. Even if I never read the book, or didn’t particularly like it. I kept it. Now, when I look at the sole bookcase that houses my collection, my mind is filled with such peace. I don’t have to mentally comb over 20 books just to see one that really sparks joy. I see only those books that fill me with joy and it is a beautiful site. This weekend, I plan on moving on to papers.

books1books2

I’ll keep you guys updated on my houses’ transformation. It is sure to be a long one because my life is filled to the brim with clutter. And next post I will tell you about the book I am currently listening to, “Overwhelmed; Work, Love and Play When No One Has The Time,” by Brigid Shulte. (Bonus points for her first name!!!!) Stay tuned, friends!

Why I chose LIFE

Once you know what it feels like, to encapsulate another being, to be pregnant with love and a little baby heart, you truly can’t imagine. How someone could ever reject this. How someone could possibly ignore that real feeling, deep in your womb, of another life. My heart aches, my head pounds, my eyes leak. For all those babies. Who can’t fight back. Who feel an iron grip clamp down around their precious and tiny leg, and swiftly rip it off. Those unassuming little beings, so mired in trust, surrounded by a warm pool of fluid. Until one day, for reasons they will never know and reasons that mean nothing–absolutely nothing, compared to this life-and-death– their sweet little womb home is ripped open and, like a helpless ant on the pavement, they are ripped to pieces. Except they are not an ant. Just like my darling little boy, now 6months old, they are a human being. A person. And the very same mother who they wholeheartedly trust, gives them up to Death. A terrible, painful death. It hurts my heart to think of their thoughts, as it is happening. So confused. So bewildered. They are not prepared for pain. They are not prepared for violence. They want only to grow. They need only to grow.

I look at my sleeping child. He is a miracle. Such an amazing, sickly-sweet miracle. I remember the way I cried when I found out. I remember the terror I felt grip my heart, for my miracle was unplanned. I was too young, I thought, too poor, too unprepared. I woke up every day for a week, too depressed to even talk. I was mourning my life. Mourning that my life would be over. (Oh how wrong I was!) And throughout the pregnancy, miracle after miracle, my baby kept surviving. It is still so hard for me to believe sometimes, that he is here and he is healthy. But I remember the terror and to all those mothers– the ones with the tiniest humans just beginning to grow inside of them– I wish I could be there with you. At that scary moment when you realize life is about to change. I want to hold your hand and kiss your hair and tell you. Your baby loves you. Your baby is real and she needs you. Don’t hurt her. If there is one thing I can guarantee, it is that you won’t regret choosing life. Be brave. Be brave. Choose love.

*cross posted on my other blogs*

Shaky heart

When T was born, he was 9lbs 5oz. A very healthy baby. We brought him to the pediatrician yesterday and he was only 14 lbs at 4.5 months. They said he was at risk of being malnourished. And when you’re the one feeding him… Nursing him everyday… That can make you feel terrible. Inadequate. A failure.

This morning I had an important meeting out of town. My husband was supposed to tell our daycare to give T frozen milk at 10AM but he got mixed up and told them that I would be there at 10AM. So, in the middle of my meeting- at 10:45- I get a call asking where I am. He didn’t get fed until 11:15. You just don’t understand the anxiety that causes until you have your own baby.

My hands are shaking and, as I sit here pumping in a strange and exposed office, all I want to do is cry. Quit and cry. That responsibility of feeding and keeping another human alive is a huge weight. I feel like I’m failing.

God, give me strength and reassurance today. Please help me forgive myself and give me the strength to carry on. Bless my baby.

Little hands and big tears, the pain of a new tooth come early. He is beating all the records but this one isn’t anything to brag about. He’d been fussy and temperamental for days and then BAM, up comes a little white rock of terror in his sweet pink gums.

Yesterday was my birthday and it was different. It wasn’t bad, but it was very different. I guess it just reflected the change that I’ve gone through as a mother. In the days leading up to it, I thought I didn’t care. It wasn’t about me anymore and I thought I was okay with that. I even kept forgetting about it. But when they day came. When the night fell. I realized that I’m still the impatient, self-centered, demanding girl I’ve always been. Motherhood hasn’t changed who I’ve become- it just allows me to forget myself once in a while. I’m learning that the more I think about myself… The more I try to be happy, the less happy I am. And so I am grateful for my boy. For allowing me the joy of forgetting myself.

One step forward…

Baby T started sleeping through the night, every night, at 7 weeks. I know I’m lucky. I know I’ve had it easy. But this week has been different. He stopped sleeping through the night… and is waking 2-3 times. And for the first time, my husband and I disagree on how we should handle it. He thinks we should just let him cry until he goes back to sleep. I think we should go figure out why he is crying and help him get back to sleep. And the truth is that both approaches could probably work. But we have to compromise. One of us has to go against our parenting instinct. And that… is weird.
I’m not saying we won’t ever let him cry it out, but I would really have to believe he isn’t crying because he needs something. Last night, he was flipped over and couldn’t get back to his back. The night before, he was flipped and also drenched in his own pee. The night before he had terrible gas and needed to be held and sat upright and given gas drops. I know this is getting to be very frustrating. Its like we’ve taken a step back because we aren’t sleeping through the night anymore. But we have a baby and I just don’t think things are going to always be the way we want them to be. It isn’t about us anymore. I know hubby thinks I’m spoiling him and treating him like a king, but really I am just treating him like a baby. He isn’t an adult- he can’t do anything for himself- so I can’t treat him like an adult. I can not sleep, knowing that he is screaming in the nursery.
Something needs to change. We do need to get him sleeping through the night, but I am just not sure how. We will figure this out together, Ford and I, its just the getting there that is hard.

Tick tock, it’s time for bed.

It’s building up. All the working, and nursing, and cleaning… It’s like I’m doggie paddling in the waters of life and I just can’t get above water. Slowly drowning, I’m gasping for air. For a break. For some time.

I didn’t realize how, when you become a mom, the biggest thing that changes is that time becomes a slippery substance. Unable to be grasped, it slips through my fingers. I thought it would be the nursing, or maybe the lack of sleep, or even the millions of diapers to wash. But really, the hardest thing is time. Well, the lack thereof.

What do you do, mamas? How do you go to work, nurse your baby, keep the house clean, get to the grocery store, go to the doctor, grab a shower…. And some of you exercise on top of that?! Good lord! What am I missing?

You’re not welcome back

This is hard to write about. But I guess that means that it is the most worthy.

Sex still hurts. A ton. A year and 3 months in. And there is this clash– I want to make love to my husband, but it hurts. And the creighton method makes it even tougher because there really aren’t enough days that we feel comfortable using. Especially while breastfeeding, it seems like I can never be totally confident. The sad sad truth is that we haven’t been able to make love since the 56 day mark. Creighton says that if you are exclusively breastfeeding, you will be infertile for the first 56 days. But since that mark, I haven’t felt confident enough to use any days. So it’s been a while. Definitely the longest we’ve ever gone. And I’m scared. Will it hurt as bad as the first time? Will all of my progress have been for nothing? Will I inevitably end up pregnant once again? (Will I be pregnant my whole damn life?)

I got my cycle back, too. I’m sorry if that is TMI, but the whole reason I created this blog was so that I could be vulnerable and maybe help someone else trying to do this whole newlywed, new mother, natural family planning thing. So yeah, I got my cycle back… And I’m mad. Why can’t I be one of those women who doesn’t get it back for months and months? It’s only been 3 and I’ve exclusively breastfed this whole time!

It feels like we will never be able to make love again. And when we do it will hurt like crap. I know it isn’t true, but still. But… I find a lot of solace in how wonderful our marriage is, though, despite the lack of sex. I couldn’t love my husband any more and he makes me laugh. He makes me laugh, people! There isn’t anything more important than that. Not even sex.

Wet and Wondering

Pink tile from the seventies and the rush of fog over my face. The only time I am really alone with my body, naked in the shower. I rub my hand over my stomach- the stomach that I was proud of a year ago. The stomach that grew my favorite human, and that shows that struggle in the sag above my scar. I wonder to myself why it is taking me so long, why I don’t look at all like I used to. Why I can’t fit into any of my clothes. And as I squeeze the water out of my long ponytail- and am left with a hand full of hair- it hits me that beauty is fleeting. Why am I chasing something that, eventually, will always leave me anyways? This beautiful, thick hair that I grew while I was pregnant is now all falling out. And each year I gain new wrinkles, new grey hairs. Yet with those wrinkles, those grey hairs, comes wisdom, and freedom, and love. With each day that passes, each wrinkle I get, I learn how to be a better mother. A better wife, a better friend.