Thursday, May 21, 2015

Parenthood: Don't believe it

Before I was pregnant and while I was pregnant, when parenthood was brought up in conversation, the overall attitude I felt from parents was overwhelmingly negative. I'm unsure why moms thought it would be helpful to instill fear into my impending motherhood, but they absolutely did. They suggested I "say goodbye to sleep" for the next 18 years, warned me I'd never get to shower regularly again, or do my hair and makeup. That I'd rarely see my husband, and date nights? A thing of the past ("you wont want to leave her with anyone for MONTHS!") They told me my boobs would never be the same and would be in immeasurable pain for months while I learned to breastfeed. My head would feel like it wasn't screwed on tight for months and that everything would be a blur. My kitchen would be covered in smashed Cheerios and my shirt would smell of spit-up until the end of time. But I shouldn't worry, because joining this elite club was special, and that as soon as I joined, I'd be able to chime in and have my fair share of complaining. It wouldn't be long before I could bestow my "wisdom" on other expectant first time moms.

When my daughter started sleeping through the night at 2 months old (12 hours folks! 12 HOURS!) I was surprised, thrilled, confused as why I had assumed this was the impossible, and felt a little bit of guilt when those "helpful" expert moms would ask "how is she sleeping?" I still get to shower regularly (bedtime does exist, friends.) and I do my hair and makeup while my daughter plays with a pile of toys (or non-toys, ie. my hairbrush, toiletry bags, etc). I see my husband at night when our daughter goes down, and we have regular date nights thanks to starting early (our first date night was when she was just shy of 2 weeks old. It was hard, but now we look forward to date nights and that time alone) and helpful family and friends. Breastfeeding wasn't awful (I did get mastitis 4 times, and while I could have used that to scare the living daylights out of to-be moms, what would the use be? If they get it, they and their doctor will deal with it. Problem solved.) and any hurdle we faced with it was overcome. As soon as the baby blues wore off I felt like myself again, just with a new little buddy. My kitchen isn't covered in Cheerios, but instead Life cereal. And guess what? Our broom can handle crumbs just as much as it could before baby. Just the same way my washing machine can handle spit up and my closet is there to welcome me with a new shirt if I need it.

When I was asked how specific things were going, and when I responded with them going relatively smoothly, don't worry, I was warned again. You see, my next child "will be a hellion" to make up for this precious girl doing well.

Does it ever end? It absolutely should! Yes, things can go wrong. Yes, everything I mentioned can happen. But guess what? Everything good can also. If the difficulties come, you deal with it. You figure it out one day/hour/moment at a time, and it passes. You choose what you are going to focus on and what will define "motherhood" in your mind. I have chosen to focus on the good. Even if I have to find the good, intentionally seeking it out. We could use a lot more encouraging mamas!

Photography: Newborn

Such a sweet little newborn he was. He was 7 days old and just so squishy and happy. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Pregnancy: How I told David

I just realized I left all of you (is anyone out there? *crickets*) hanging on THIS post.

So I knew sleep was out of the question at this point, regardless of it being 4 am. I had always dreamed big and elaborate ways of telling David I was pregnant. I'd take him away for the weekend, find an incredible view where I'd break the news and we'd laugh and cry and watch the sunset. or rise. Or something. But there is no way I could wait for the next weekend, much less a few hours. I needed to figure something out! I went into our guest room, but not until after I got back into bed for 10 minutes, laid next to my sleeping husband, and this is all that ran through my head as I looked at him; "you're going to be a dad, and you have no idea yet."

I head to the guest room after I think of an idea that I knew would fit perfectly:

David and I started dating mid march, and therefore our 1 year anniversary fell right after Christmas. That year for Christmas I decided on a homemade gift. I wrote him about 10 letters, each one with a memorable date on it from that past year. Each "letter" was a silly poem reminding him about that day/event/place.

April 16: our 1 month anniversary, which fell on Easter. We took a walk around his neighborhood to the local convenient store and stocked up on an absurd amount of candy.
July 4: fireworks at the park.
November 25th: Thanksgiving dessert at my parents house with his mom and sister.

So as his gift, I picked him up on Christmas, and drove to each of those 10 places, and we went through the past (almost) year that we had just spent together. At each place, he'd open the letter and it would remind him of the significance of where we were. It was such a fun little way to spend our day.

So over the past 9 years, every couple of years I'd catch up with the letters. Going over any important dates and events and giving him letters for each of them (he has saved them all!).

So I went over into our guest room and wrote a new letter. I marked the envelope with the days date (December 15th, 2013). It was about 6:30 am at this point, and I headed back into our room. I woke David up and told him I had a letter for him. Thankfully, in all his grogginess, he had no idea what was going on. He was so sweet though, and just took the letter and started to read it. It didn't take long for him to really wake up though. One sentence stated "....and we are about to enter a new chapter" and his eyes got wide and he propped himself up a bit. I saw he knew what was going on, but he needed to see it, confirmed, in writing. So with his wide eyes he keeps reading. As soon as he got to the words "we're going to have a baby!" he shot straight up, and tackled me in bed with the biggest, warmest hug and a laugh I had never heard from him before and haven't since. The joy that poured out from him in that moment, oh you guys. I'll remember it forever.

It was after 6:30 am, and we jumped in the car and headed out for some breakfast. We got to the restaurant and just poured out our thoughts and ideas and excitements and nerves over some realllly good blueberry pancakes. We kept it as our little secret that entire day and finally broke the news to the first people late that evening. We loved keeping it to ourselves for a little bit. Celebrating just the two of us, no phone calls or sharing it with anyone yet. It was incredible!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Penelope Darling: 9 Months

I remember meeting other mothers with 9 months old before this month, and always thinking "9 months is so big!" I couldn't fathom my little peanut hitting those milestones, being that active and mobile, though I was pretty excited to watch her grow into it! Well, here is my "big" 9 month old!

Weight: Not sure about her weight! Her 9 month checkup is on Tuesday. Maybe 22 pounds or so? I'm totally unsure at this point, it has been a few months since we last had her weighed, and I'm an awful guesser. Regardless, she is GROWING and my noodle arms are able to handle her for shorter stretches these days! 

Clothes: officially in 9 months! I'd say 6-9 months in the "ranges" clothing, but solidly fits into standard 9 month clothing. I have officially put away anything smaller. 

Likes: Back to everyone. PHEW! Clingy phase (part 1, I'm sure!) is officially over. She is still aware of when she is around new people or strangers, and recognizes familiar faces. She gets so bashful when she recognizes you, but still has some warming up to do. Once you lock eyes with her when mama is holding her, she flashes her big cheesy grin, then buries her little face into my chest until she's comfortable (which always takes less than a minute). She loves drawers and cabinets and opening and closing them is just the best thing to her. She loves rearranging anything she can pick up (books, especially) and loves realizing the impact she can have on her poor little bookshelf. Anything that is at her level for pulling herself up on is her current favorite toy. Just yesterday, she used a little walker toy for the first time, taking several steps. She was on cloud 9, you guys! So proud to be doing it on her own (sort of...). She likes FOOD. Oh she loves trying what mom and dad are having, and has liked nearly everything.

Dislikes: Bananas. She hates bananas. Like, gags, squints her entire face, shivers when we give them to her. Being bored (who can blame her?) if we are out and about she's happy as a clam, its when we're at home, in the same room for too long she gets restless, fussy, and bored. getting dressed (It's just the worst, isn't it?). 

Social: Oh my word you guys. This little Darling just adores other babies and kids. We were at a playground last week and there were some 6/7 year olds running back and forth. Sweet little penny crawled as fast as she could towards them. But then they would change directions, run right past her, and she would immediately stop, change directions, and continue crawling vigorously towards them. This happened for several minutes, she just adores interaction with others, and I love that about her, so much. Yesterday, we were at story time and she kept making a b line towards this group of 4 year old kiddos, she wanted to play with them SO BAD. I love how much joy she gets from being around other kids. We started "play dates" right at that 2 month period when she was in the clear to hang around other babies, and I'm so glad we did, it really seems to have stuck. 

Milestones: She can "stand" on her own for several seconds at a time, and loves it, she can't get there on her own, but if we help stand her up, she can balance herself for a few moments. She wants to walk so badly, but isn't there yet. She swam in a pool for the first time yesterday, and oh my goodness. She was in heaven. She took this play time very seriously, but had an absolute ball with it. I was surprise, though, considering it was her little baby pool in our backyard and it was filled up with our garden was cold! But she went for it (it was nearly 80 degrees yesterday, so I'm sure that helped it feel worth it to her!) and splashed and splashed and SPLASHED. She spent a good 15 minutes in there before dad had to get back to work (he was in there with her) and we got her dressed again. I mentioned eating earlier, but you guys. It is SO fun feeding her nearly everything. She still doesn't have a single tooth, and they don't look like they'll make an appearance anytime soon. But those gums are sharp, and she knows how to use them! She's had pancakes, broccoli (her favorite) pizza, pasta, cereal, etc. She's tired so much, and has loved nearly everything. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Photography: Sisters

These sweet girls were so fun and easy to photograph, and these photos are some of my favorite to date. Such a dreamy place, you couldn't get a bad shot.