Thursday, February 26, 2009

worker bees

It's been a busy week. My family (parents, sister, brother & sister-in-law) are coming into town from IL this weekend to have a great big shebang for the BabyNut's first birthday. And my dad's birthday, sister-in-law's birthday, and hubby's birthday - which all fall within 2.5 weeks of each other. Phew!

I have been cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, organizing, straightening, scrubbing, wiping, grocery shopping, folding and putting toys away again and again and again.

And I think we're ready.

This blog will be a little quiet (big shock from the past week, I know!) for the next few days, but I promise to try very hard to not neglect my three or four faithful readers after that.

Have a lovely weekend - enjoy yourself and remember to find joys in the small moments!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

new world

I have a daughter.

How old is she, you ask?

She's ONE!!

Happy (late) Birthday, darling baby girl. You have grown my heart, my character and my love so abundantly this year. So many smiles, so many tears, so many heart-swelling moments have passed between us. I adore your face, your sweet smile, the way your eyes sparkle and the fact that whenever confronted with anything or anyone new, you frown.

It has been such a treat to watch you grow and change this year, Hazel Maryn. I am thrilled to be the woman chosen to be your mama - to get to watch your life unfold. God has big, beautiful plans for you, and I pray that you will learn to lean on Him and follow His path. I'm still working on that myself, but I will do my very best to show you how to seek Him, how to fall on His grace, and that no matter what - no matter what - He is good.

Here's to a heckuva year, little Hazelnut. Happy Birthday!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Most Improved Mama

Now I don't really know about the title Most Improved Mama - or who exactly I'd be compared to in order to earn said title - but lately, I'm noticing small areas of improvement in my Mama-ing skills.

Mark tries to tell me I was "born to do this" and that I'm a "natural." Ha. I'm naturally flawed and born to screw something up every single day... it's so much harder than I thought it would be. To know what to do, to wonder how to handle discipline of a child who cannot even speak yet, to get to the point of frustration where I just want to scream, to feel so small and insignificant in my little world of Stay-At-Home...

And yet, I see myself making progress.

The days when Mark is out of town are always hard. Normally - I look very forward to 4:30ish when he comes home - the parenting load can be split into two pieces. On the Daddy-Travel-Days... no such thing. By bedtime - both Hazel and I are in need of a break from each other. But it used to be so much harder. Maybe I'm more relaxed, maybe I'm better at finding little joys, maybe Hazel is more interactive and playful and that makes things easier... I'm sure it's some combo of these things.

But I do like that although we both miss Daddy VERY MUCH while he is gone... I do not dread the days I am alone with BabyNut.

Makes me feel like a Most Improved Mama.

Also gives me an inkling that I just *might* be able to handle being Mama of Two Under Two. (and since there's no turning back, that's a good thing!)

To close - some pictures of my precious, funny baby daughter - who will join the ranks of Those Who Have Turned ONE on Sunday. Behold:

The First Pigtails!

Smiley Faces

Happy Little SuperScooter!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

it may be strange, but I love it

I had my 13-week appointment with my midwife today. (Sidenote: I pretty much love her. She works out of my doctors' office and is basically incredibly cool and friendly and really good at the whole bedside-manner thing. Something many of my doctors were NOT so good at).

I did the whole Step on the Scale, Pee in the Cup, Take the Blood Pressure, Any Questions? Thing and was waiting for Midwife to arrive to commence the actual appointment. I could hear through the wall what was going on in the next exam room... the voices were muffled, but there was no mistaking the sounds. The slow, rhythmic whoosh - whoosh - whoosh of the Doppler Thingymawhatsit, followed by rapid-fire whooshwhooshwhooshwhoosh of unborn baby's heart beating in its mama's belly.

And I just sat there, silently soaking in the beautiful sound of another woman's unborn baby's heartbeat.

I love that sound. Obviously, I love it a lot, and with a fairly personal reason when it's my own child... but there is such hope, such life in that joyful noise... it calms my spirit.

Now this morning, I did not get to hear my own child's heartbeat (Baby was a little too busy to be bothered with holding still for Midwife) - so I got a surprise treat and got to SEE Baby's heartbeat (and waving arms and kicky legs and perfect little face) instead.

And I've been floating on that all day.

It may be weird - but I love that office. I know that there are heartbreaking stories that unfold in those rooms (and I cried my own heartbroken tears there about two years ago now) - but that doesn't change for me the fact there is an undeniable and beautiful hope of life there. Pregnant women are constantly in and around the hallways - excited, nervous, exhausted - pictures of babies adorn the walls and the halls echo with the Doppler Thingymawhatsit's evidence of new life.

It's good for my soul.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

what a difference a day makes

Tuesday night, Hazel was awake from 2:00am until 4:00am... and not just awake - screaming/crying/shrieking awake. And since we're still working on her learning how to fall asleep on her own (without a mama-milk date and without being rocked in the big, squashy blue chair)... those two hours were mostly full of Mark and I laying in bed, trying to not feel hideous and neglectful as our baby daughter sobbed in the next room (in between going in to check on her and reassure her that it's OK to fall asleep, which pretty much always only makes her cry harder).

Last night, I nursed Hazel as part of the usual bedtime routine (nap, pjs, nursing, storytime) and then again before I went to bed. The second nursing session terrified me to my very core because it involved entering her room, picking her up out of her crib and feeding her... and trying to do all that without really waking her up, and hoping that she'd fall straight back to sleep afterward. Our sleep battles have been so intense this last year - it's just so hard for me to touch a sleeping Hazel.

Praise God - I don't think she actually woke up at all, even though she nursed - she went straight back to bed without a peep, and then proceeded to sleep the entire rest of the night. And I was in bed so early that I was able to get up early, shower and spend some time in the Word BEFORE she woke up at 6:30. She got 11.5 hours of sleep, I got almost 8, and today has been a lovely day.

I don't know if it's too much to hope for a repeat, or for the installation of a new trend here... but my heart is a little lighter, knowing that there's some hope.

No matter what - this kid makes me laugh out loud every single day and she can't even talk yet! Sleepytime may be rough, but mamahood has some serious perks. I'll roll with the bad days and know that there's always tomorrow!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

funny little contradictions

Opposites attract... so "they" say.

I'm not sure if I agree, or if I am more inclined to notice the white when it's set against something black... if the dark is shadowier because of the bright lights that are shining nearby.

This week has been full of small moments playing host to large contradictions. (While that sentence seems really cool when I read it, I'm sure it makes very little actual sense). Allow me to explain:

I have felt a bit used up, empty and dried out - Michigan winters coupled with endless household tasks can do that to a gal. The next thing I know, I'm feeling so very full of precarious emotion that it takes actual physical energy to keep myself in check (I'm sure some of this is hormone-related, but that doesn't mean my volatility is any less real). I could barely sing along with the worship team this morning at church because I just wanted to sit down and bawl.

Hazel's been a bit trying lately - we're still battling sleep issues (shocker!!) - the past two nights have been downright putrid, and her naps have been, if anything, worse than that. I felt like we were making such progress, and then to struggle so hard just to get her poor little worn-out self to get the rest it needs... it's disheartening. But this week has also been sprinkled with wonderful, God-graced times of laughter and sheer joy that I get to be her Mama... she is so smart and funny - growing and learning and displaying her spunky little personality. I just love watching her grow and change.

I don't think I could really describe this past week holistically... it's been ridiculously hard and wonderfully relaxing, a little monotonous and vigorously emotional, frustrating to the point of groaning out loud and so uplifting it makes me want to dance.

Really, I don't think these opposites are attracting each other - but I can find some joy and wisdom in their stark contrast.

I will walk through valleys and under clouds, knowing that there are still waters and rays of sunshine waiting for me.

I don't need to force myself to appear strong and together and happy all the time - but I do need to set my heart on the joy of the everlasting each morning.

Sometimes my days feel like a mini-war-zone... but I can guard my mind with the peace of God.

So here's to another week of funny little contradictions.