more tiny humans

Ailey swinging

On a Friday in June–some of the best kinds of Fridays are in June–we found out that I am pregnant again.  Then, I promptly vomited, as if, now that it was official, I officially had symptoms.

This baby, unlike Ailey, is not a surprise.  Ailey is almost two, and though we were completely unprepared for her to make her grand entry into our family when she did, we’ve always wanted to have our kids be close in age.  Built-in play-mates and learning to share by necessity and all of the things that come with close siblings sound like a dream.

So, here we are, actually doing the family thing, even if we feel like imposters, technically too inexperienced for the gig.  I’m still waiting for Some Authority Figure to sternly demand that I present the mom license that I don’t have.  But, they don’t give you a license when you have a baby, and this time next year, we’ll have two tiny people in our family.

There is often a lot of talk about being ready for babies and if there’s anything I’ve learned about building a family, it’s that “ready” is such an inadequate description of the situation.  I don’t know if part of it is because we didn’t actively decide to start when we did, or that I’ve always made really impulsive decisions, but being ready is kind of a myth.  There are so many things that you just adjust as you go–make room in the budget here, give up a thing or two there or promise myself I’ll sleep at nap time and mourn the loss of sleeping in while I sleepily smile at the toddler whom arrived in our bedroom at 6 am.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that motherhood has taught me so much about the realities of life and what little of it that I can actually control.  I’m grateful that our family is growing and that I think I’m actually maturing along with that growth.  But not too much…  😉

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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.

Christmas in the Rockies

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Growing up on the East coast meant there were Christmas tree farms every few miles. The one my family usually went to was at the end of the street where we lived, so it was an extra quick ride squished into the branches of our tree choice that season in the back of the family mini-van.

This will be our third Christmas in Colorado (though we’ve always gone back to Maryland for the actual week of). The first year, we lived in a bitty 600-square-foot apartment, so I bought a still-potted, mini tree and poured some glitter on it (hashtag festive!).

The next year, we had a tiny baby, a tiny budget, and a Groupon for a pre-cut tree that was insanely overpriced and browned very quickly.

Then, I heard about how most of the cut-your-own tree situations go down out here in the Wild (almost) West. Since it’s so cost-prohibitive to maintain Christmas tree farms due to water shortages, there are very few of them out here. Instead, there are designated areas where you’re allowed to purchase a permit for $10 and cut your own tree FROM THE FOREST.

The forest service offices across the state sell the permits and hand you a map and off you go.

We even bought an axe for the occasion.

It was great.

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Lately

These days, Ailey is still waking up in the middle of the night for a feeding (or two), which means I also wake up a few times. Lately during the awake times in the middle of the night, I’ve been feeling positively parched! I think this must be related to drinking too many Arnold Palmers during the day (I guess you know how that is). So she curls up, back to sleep, and I make the trek for a good, big glass of ice water, and then I get the itch to write about it all. Weird, right?

But, I find myself wanting to remember these little moments. I want to keep a record of these sweet times, despite the dead-tired haze that sometimes accompanies them. I know this little lady won’t be so tiny forever, and is already growing so quickly, actually. So instead of complaining about the exhaustion of it all, I will just embrace my inner night owl and remember what it’s like to have a cooing, tiny human wake me up because she needs something. I’ll remember what it’s like to roll over, half asleep and lean over her bassinet to listen for her faint, little snores, you know–just to make sure. And just to let myself relish in her smallness, and in her great strength at growing, and everything we’ve been through together and have yet to go through. These are special times.

And being awake to hear your husband mumble all sorts of hilarity in his sleep isn’t so bad either.

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an exercise in futility

The thing about attempting to prepare for a baby is that it just doesn’t really seem possible.  How do you prepare for such a huge life change?  Certainly, you have to physically prepare a space and get a bassinet, or crib, or something, so there’s that.  But really preparing?  I have no idea.  Women talk about experiencing nesting, which I’ve felt at some points as well, but overwhelmingly, I just don’t feel ready.  Our house is a complete mess, we don’t really have a nursery set up, and overall, this baby’s arrival just seems like a nebulous future event that may or may not happen.  But, newsflash–it’s happening.  Probably sooner than later, honestly, and here we are, totally unprepared.

So, I thought that maybe writing a letter to the baby would help.  If I don’t know how to fully prepare for his/her arrival, then at least preparing to start a relationship with a new little person will help, right?  So, here goes:

Dear little one,

It’s really hard to believe that I’ll be meeting you for the first time in a few short weeks!  I’m so excited and I can’t really fathom what our relationship will be like.  You will be my only first child.  I will know you the longest of all of my future children, should you be blessed to have siblings, and that’s kind of special!  I don’t even know if you’re going to be a girl or a boy yet, which is funny.

I am so excited to see you grow.  I can’t wait to teach you all about the world and watch you discover what I love about it.  I’m excited to find some things about life that we both love to enjoy together.  I can’t wait to teach you to read.  My mom taught me how really young, even though I protested, and it’s still one of the best gifts she ever gave me!  And I’m sure that you’ll have a lot to teach me as well.

It seems like a huge privilege and responsibility to start this new relationship with you.  It’s going to be different than my relationship with anyone else.  I’ve never had someone need me or depend on me like you will, and sometimes that scares me.  I don’t want to let you down.  I know that I will, sometimes, but I hope that I always apologize.  I hope that I admit when I’m wrong and that I set a good example to you of making it right when I’ve messed up.

Most of all, I hope that you are happy, and know that you are loved.  I hope that even when we don’t get along, which will happen sometimes, that we respect and understand each other.  I hope that we will be kind to each other and teach each other to grow in grace.

Most of all, I hope that my actions and my life speak so clearly to you about the God who gave you to me.  The most important relationship I can teach you about is the one with your Savior, which I pray you begin early and enjoy for your whole life.  He makes it all make sense–and loves you so unconditionally.  It’s really amazing and life-changing, and I hope that you will know the peace and love that comes only from a relationship with him.

Your dad and I love you already, little one, and we can’t wait to finally “meet” you!  See you soon 🙂

Whirlwind

The sad truth of this blog, which I created to chronicle our exciting move to Colorado and all of the adventure that I envisioned would accompany it, is that I have done a horrible job of chronicling anything.  Also, combine our strict budget at this stage of the game, with crazy busy-ness and lots of exhaustion, I just haven’t really felt like there was that much adventure to chronicle. 

In all honesty, I think that’s been part of the reason that I have felt so unprepared to have a baby now, before we’ve, you know, “done all of those things we were going to do before we had kids.”  Is that just a lie?  Do kids really stop you from doing all of the things you want to do?  Or is that just an excuse not to do certain things? Help me out, parents. 

another shameless cell phone photo

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Well, here’s the bump progress at 19 weeks. Keep in mind, this is without a recent food baby, which seems to make a huge difference.

Anyway, I oscillate between being so excited and completely freaking out about this impending parenthood. I’m learning to trust God more through all of this and I can’t say that’s a bad thing.

In other news, I’m flying back east tomorrow to see my family and I’m almost giddy about it. My sister is graduating from college and we’re all just growing up! Life is so weird.