my girl, 18 months

 Climbing into this giant chair is just one of the hundreds of things that Ailey insists on doing herself these days.

Her independence is both exciting and hilarious. It’s hard to do things on your own when your fine motor skills are still developing, you know? She sits for quite a while trying to put our shoes on. 

When it won’t cooperate after 10 minutes of trying with the same shoe, she’ll fuss and throw it in frustration. I’m going to pretend she got that from her dad (she didn’t). 

The first few times, I’d ask, “do you want some help?”

And she’d look up, eyes big, and say “hewp?” and nod.

Now, an offer for help is met with a resounding “noooooooo” and a swat. We’re working on manners. 

 

I think what I’m enjoying most about this age is her growing vocabulary, which is still part nonsense words, but the majority of it is actually English. Who knew?

My favorite pronunciations:

-water = watee 

-color = cuyee

-Lauren = Owen 

-blanket = ban toot 

-doggie and daddy, which sound like the same word

Each day is a new adventure of first experiences for her. How sweet to rediscover the world anew alongside of her, discovering for the first time.

Today, I picked you up from daycare and you didn’t protest leaving your friends or your favorite toys. You laid your head against my shoulder and snuggled close, a little less independent than you might like to let on.

That’s okay, baby. You don’t have to do it all on your own.

I love you, Ailey girl. 

motherhood is crazy-making

I’ve been a mother for 18 months, which really isn’t very long, in the scheme of things. But, considering that it’s the most full-time of jobs, that you’re never really off-duty, 18 months seems longer than it sounds.

I’ve been told by mamas more experienced than myself that our babies change so rapidly in the first two years that you can’t keep up–as soon as you adjust to a new phase, new behavior, new difficulty, it’s over. It’s a little exhausting, this parenting adventure.

All I know is that I feel crazy. My emotions have been on the proverbial roller-coaster since Ailey was born. This tiny human, whose appearance in my life I was in no way ready for, arrived and ruined me.

I have been astonished by the way this little person has nestled into a space in my heart that I didn’t know existed before she arrived to fill it. It’s a wonderful little paradox, parenting. I know everyone has different experiences, and I can’t sit here and say that motherhood looks the same for every mama, but I have experienced so much grace through the life of this sweet little girl.

And I will keep reminding myself of this–grace shown through new life and my new role as a mother and care-taker, someone who consistently has to look outside myself, whether I like it or not. Sometimes I need reminding, on days like today, when there are more tears than smiles and I am ready to scream and give up and get back under the covers.

On those days, I need reminding that this is new for both of us and we are still learning each other. Actually, the truth is, we take lifetimes to learn each other, us humans, and even if we’d known one another 100 years, we’d still have to work out some kinks. We’ll get there. My tiny girl isn’t a baby anymore, and she’s starting to have opinions and a desire to express them. Maybe I need to shift my perspective and be thankful for her little spirit and personality when she proves to be more independent than I expect. I should be honored to raise a strong woman, and she has all the makings. We’ll work together, she and I, learning the ways of the world together. We both still have so much to learn and so much to teach one another.

year 26

Today is my 26th birthday.

I am full to bursting with all the love around us that bubbles up to the surface on birthdays.

Today was the perfect kind of day. I went to work at a job I love, where birthdays are special and fun, came home to take out that Trent picked up, which we ate on the patio because the weather was glorious. Trent also got dessert–mango sorbet for me and coffee ice cream for him–which we ate on the front stoop while we FaceTimed with my parents and watched Ailey push her beloved toy stroller on the sidewalk, exclaiming “push! Push!” all the way.

I opened some mail. We chatted with neighbors. It was the most delicious kind of day.

  

This guy was an early present to me, proof that Trent loves me deeply:

  

So there weren’t any material presents, and I decided that I like it better this way.

I did get some gorgeous flowers at work, which probably count as a present.

I am thankful for a day to lift my spirits, and a day that reminded me to be good to others, because that’s how we show them we love them. And we all need a reminder that we are deeply loved once in a while.

Motherhood: Doozies and New Days

Today might have been the hardest day of this almost-18-months of motherhood that I’ve experienced yet.

Ailey and I have both been epically sick, so much so that Trent had to stay home one day this week with the two of us, for which I am eternally grateful. Even as I type this, she and I are alternating coughing fits. It’s been a real party. In addition, tiny lady is teething four molars and at least a pair of eye teeth, which apparently is no walk in the park, although I do not remember my own experience.

A lot of mothering is just getting to know your kid, and to be honest, a year and a half isn’t that long to know someone. Ailey and I have a lot more to learn about each other. I’m so thrilled that we get to do this together, and today was one of those days that teaches me that we still have a ways to go. Hey, idiot, you don’t actually know it all. Don’t we all need a reminder of that every so often?

So, there were no major tragedies in our house today, but we just couldn’t get on the same page. There was a lot of crying and a lot of snot and exactly zero naps. Then, all of a sudden, it was bed time and I stayed downstairs while Trent read books and brushed teeth and listened to the whole delightful thing over the baby monitor. I married such a good one, who reads the same book over and over in silly voices, and asks a tiny girl if she wants to pray with him before she sleeps and then waits for her to say ” ‘men” to end the prayer. 

Then, all the frustration of the day leaks away with the rainwater pounding windows outside and I’m reminded that even these rough days count. This is it–our life–and it’s a good one. We are growing and learning together, and even when it’s hard, it’s so good.

I walk the dog before heading upstairs for the night and realize I actually need a rain coat. It’s pouring, which is rare here, and I love it. There’s a bunny seeking shelter under a tree and we’re walking in the rain, which is washing us and the world around us new for tomorrow.

how to be nice when other people are not





I am working on being understanding and compassionate, even when the circumstances don’t warrant it lately, and I probably will be for the rest of my days here in this body of mine.

So far, it’s not going great.

I have been so angry and hurt and bitter and grumpy.

I, extreme extrovert, lover of people, have cut myself off, stayed in a licked my wounds, bunkered down with my immediate family (and books for nap times), and just let it all fester.

All of this behavior, I think is reasonable for a time, especially because I haven’t let it negatively affect other people and haven’t projected it or imposed it upon anyone, but I have been so angry. And the thing is, is that I can’t stay this way.

There is life to be lived and people to be loved and relationships to be rekindled and I will not be angry anymore.

I will choose to believe that people act in ways that aren’t nice because sometimes the world is mean, and life is hard, and we make mistakes. We can only move forward and forgive, or it’s not going to be much a life at all, is it?

And I am going to live.

she who grows 



These past few nights have been rough, short sleeps punctuated by tiny cries from a tiny, sick little lady. We fall back asleep intertwined, with a little toddler body sleeping soundly strewn across mine and I am weary.

So physically exhausted and wmitionly tried, hurting on behalf of my sick baby, sicker than she’s ever been in her short life.

And I think about the woman I was before I was a mother, whose only sickness of concern was her own, whose sleeping (and eating, and overall being) came on her own terms. I remember her a little fondly and a little knowingly, the way you think of someone younger who has still has a bit of naïveté tucked neatly under her belt.

It’s not that we need to be mothers to mature, but it’s one of the many experiences in life that grows you quickly if you let it. This tiny one needs me and doesn’t understand her body’s revolt. The shocking fact that I’m in charge feels like a surreal slap–reality crashing into me as I rub my baby’s back and coo soothingly that “this will pass.” 

And maybe I could remember the woman I was before with a little envy, too. There are days like that, if I’m being honest. She who was free and untethered, who slept when she wanted and did what she chose.

Instead, I am choosing now to grow, to pour into another life, and make this less about me. I know another tiny lady who will grow better because of this choice.

And I’m praying for grace and wisdom as we grow, she and I, realizing I have less of those traits than the woman I was thought, but chasing after them anyway.

And here we are.





snow day//reset

We’ve gotten about a foot of snow over the last few days, which is oddly the most snow accumulation that we’ve had since I’ve lived in Colorado. The weather is just not what it seems to the rest of the country here in the foothills of Colorado. In the winter, it snows frequently, so it’s commonplace, and life goes on, but the next day the sun will come back out and melt away all of what happened the day before. It never lasts, and things rarely close or even pause.

But more than a foot of snow over a weekend is enough for a few things to shut down and for us to consider ourselves really truly snowed in. And it’s been great. Isn’t it refreshing for your soul to take a breather from being busy and just stay inside for the whole weekend? Throw open the blinds and watch the snow cover everything in white, and just take a moment for yourself. Or a few moments.

Today, on our last day of respite, Ailey woke up with a nasty cold/fever combination, so we’ve been in rest and recuperate-mode even moreso. We’ve been mending and hoping to contain the germs, but also just enjoying this much-needed slower pace. It’s hard to stop and take a moment to slow down when the circumstances don’t require it, but when they do, isn’t it great?

So, I’m thankful for the weather, and for the warmth of our home while it happens, and for a break.