]

13 December 2017

still.


I hope you are watching This Is Us. Talk about a show that depicts real life. Every week Taylor and I get to the end and can't move. We just look at each other, shake our heads, and one of us says, "it's too real." A few weeks ago, we came to the episode where Kate loses her baby. I knew it was coming, but I didn't know how the emotions in the show would bring my own emotions bubbling to the surface. I watched as tears silently slipped from the corners of my eyes. Too real.

It's been four years since the miscarriage where I was furthest along. While I have experienced so much since then and given birth to two beautiful and healthy boys, I still vividly remember every single thing about that day.

I still remember how all sound dimmed except a loud buzzing in my ears and everything in my line of sight went hazy as the doctor in the ER said the words I dreaded hearing. I thought those things only happened in movies, but it truly does happen in those moments where life stops.

I still remember hitting send on a text message to Taylor. "No heartbeat." I hated having to tell him that way, but I also knew my voice would fail if I tried to call. I did not want to say it out loud.

I remember the hospital admin who followed me to my car just to console me. It wasn't her job, but she saw my chart and worse my face. I needed her in that moment.

I remember when the contractions hit a week later. I so naively thought it was over, but at twelve weeks along your body has to labor and release it all before it's done. I found my leftover bottle of 800 mg Ibuprofen from Gideon's birth and kept taking them hoping for some relief, but it didn't touch the pain.

I still remember spending the day on my knees in the shower. There was so much blood and I didn't know what to do. I did not want to go back to the hospital so I stayed right there, begging God to let it be done.

I remember as my body expelled everything into the toilet and I remember panicking about what to do. And I remember as I flushed it and knew that my baby was gone.

I remember rocking Gideon in his room that evening as Taylor went to pick me up a steak. With that much blood loss I needed to get my iron up. The irony was not lost on me. New parents get a steak dinner in the hospital.

And each and every December 13, my heart hurts and breaks all over again.

When I'm old and gray and maybe don't know where I am or what day it is, I know that these memories will be iron clad in my mind. They are with me forever. Those moments that are fuzzy while you're in them yet crystal clear in hindsight.

As much as it all hurts, I also have peace knowing that my baby only knew the good parts of this life. My baby was safely tucked inside of me and for twelve weeks only knew the love and excitement that we had for him/her. And now that baby is tucked in the safest arms there are.


09 December 2017

it's the most wonderful time

I can't believe we are in the last few weeks of 2017. What a year. Almost a full year of our church plant, a new baby, and so much more. It is flying and I feel like I am simultaeneously flying with it and moving in slow motion trying to grasp each little thing and hold onto it before it's gone.

I've been pretty emotional lately and I can't pinpoint what is setting it off. As I rock Lincoln to sleep at night or watch him exploring the world around him I tear up knowing that this is the last of all the baby stages for us. While I know I never want to be pregnant again, it still carries with it a sadness of finality.

Having our Gideon turn five has also brought on the mama waterworks. I see him growing and thinking and speaking like a boy and not a baby or toddler. I struggle to pick him up and know that we are entering the year where he will start spending a large portion of his days away from me. My heart aches knowing they are all growing and growing up means growing away. I know it's what they are supposed to do, but dang it hurts.

Here is a few things about each of these wild things:


Gideon:
- FIVE! He's five, you guys. He opted for a Hornets game with dad and dinner and cupcakes with just us at home instead of a party this year. {You know it was killing me to not do a party, but I can't tell you the stress it took away. Something had to give this year!}
- He is thriving in school and learning so much.
- Gideon learned how to ride his bike without training wheels in October and has been riding like a crazy man ever since. He picked it up so quickly!
- I've never seen a friendlier kid. Everywhere we go, he comes back to us saying, "I made a new friend." He sees everyone as a potential friend and is not intimidated to enter a social situation where he doesn't know anyone. He will come out knowing everyone. I'm so jealous of this quality.


Nolan:
- This boy has become a little family entertainer. He is hilarious and he knows it. And when he is in trouble he gives me this goofy little smile that says "I know I'm cute and you can't stay mad." It works. Every time.
- Still obsessed with airplanes. I have no doubt in my mind that he will grow up to be a jet pilot. That is just the way he is.
- We call him our sour patch kid. As sweet as he is, right now at two he is often very sour.
- Nolan is our homebody and prefers to just be with us. While he does fine playing with others and has fun, he just isn't as social or party-animal as Gideon.


Lincoln:
- Eight months with this happy boy. I can't believe he's so big.
- He got four teeth in two weeks. They all just started coming out of nowhere and fast. I love his little smile with teeth.
- No crawling yet but so close. Right now, he sits on his bottom and scoots across the floor to get where he wants to be. It is too cute.
- Lincoln has the sweetest spirit and I wish everyone could experience a baby like this. He has redeemed my baby experience after Nolan {hey, he put me in counseling} and is a high note to end on.

04 December 2017

Savoring Christmas



I don't know about you, but this time of year my anxiety goes into hyper mode. Simple things like scrolling Instagram or walking into a store can bring on major feelings of inadequacy or that I am behind on the holiday hoopla. Seeing perfectly decorated homes or detailed planned activities for every day leading up to December 25th makes me feel like I'm dropping the ball for my family.

In order to combat these feelings and the negative side effects that come with, I approach the holiday season with an intentionality to savor the important things like spending time with my family and enjoy the season by picking just a couple of things I want to be a priority. This looks different for everyone. For me, relationships are where it is at and this is a time of year I like to check in with loved ones near and far. Christmas cards is the way I love to do this. A simple little something to send to everyone as a small update on us.

To go along with cards, we update family photos each year. I absolutely love doing this as much as my husband hates it. He goes along because he knows how happy they make me. It is incredible to look back at every year and see the differences. Once we get our photos back from our amazing photographer, it's time to pick a Christmas card.


Shutterfly makes this part a breeze. The hardest part is picking which card you want to use out of their hundreds of fabulous options. I usually scroll and favorite quite a few to personalize and try out before deciding. There are so many options with each card and you can be as detailed or minimal as you want. Want the envelope to shine? Add a liner. Don't want to address them yourself because, well, time? They will address them for you. Want multiple photos or a double-sided card? Check or check. The possibilities are endless.



This year I opted for a single photo card on the front and then the back has an updated photo of each of the boys. I love that it shows them as they are for this year. I also went with the pearl shimmer card stock which is so beautiful in person and a fun black and white buffalo check envelope liner to match the back of the card.

Once you decide on your options and upload your photo and wording, finalizing your fonts and all, you can preview your choices and checkout. Then you get to stalk your mail person and wait for your orange package. It's seriously that simple. And really fun. I tend to mock up several cards {maybe even five} and then make my husband pick his favorite.

Using Shutterfly for Christmas cards has really lessened my anxiety during a busy and full season. It's something I love to do and share with friends and family, but their simplistic approach to getting it done makes it an easy check on the to-do list so that I can spend my time enjoying the season.

Happy card making, friends! {Be sure to look at the promotions they are running before you checkout!}

*This post is in partnership with Shutterfly who provided the Christmas cards to me. I was not compensated for writing this post and the opinions expressed are my own genuine opinions.

01 October 2017

Confessions of a tired mama



+ A few weeks ago, I meal planned, made my grocery list, had all of the kids down for naps and as soon as Taylor walked in the door from church I ran out to grocery shop ALONE. I was feeling on fire for being so organized, until I parked at Walmart and discovered I had no purse. But, I had my reusable bags so that's something, right?

+ I never thought I would be that mom at my kid's sporting events, but since Gideon started soccer I have found that I am loud. Never mind that they are four and have never played before. Mama's yelling "steal the ball," "just take it." "Get out there and pay attention." All the while, G is doing ninja moves in la la land.

+ The iPad. Yes, the iPad has become a constant companion in the car. Ugh, I told myself we wouldn't use it for distraction unless we were on a long trip, but now with preschool pick-up right at Nolan's nap time, I use it to keep him awake until we get home. Car naps are the real murderers of all things good.

+ My favorite middle of the night-nursing activity is to fill online carts with things I want that I will never buy.

+ I use to hate when fall would come and it would get dark so early. As a mom, it's one of my favorite things. "Get in bed. IT'S DARK!" {Dreading when Gideon can actually tell time}.

+ I despise all things scary, horror, gross. Every person who posts anything related to that creepy IT movie on social media is getting blocked. Bye Felicia. No.

+ I don't drink coffee. I can feel your judgment through my computer.

25 September 2017

hello, fall.






Well, it is officially fall which makes my heart sing. Now if only it felt like fall here in the low country. I'm trying my best to wish it upon us with my booties and plaid.

It has been crazy around here which I realize is just life and won't change anytime soon. Gideon started preschool a few weeks ago which brings with it drop off and pick up five days a week. He's loving school and is learning so much. He's getting use to going every day, but we can definitely tell it's taking some time. He is so tired. He also started soccer which is two practices and two games EVERY week. Lord, be near. Are we seriously at the point in life where our kids schedules dictate ours? My four year old has more on his calendar than I do.

Two days after Gideon started preschool, Irma appeared to be making her trek straight at us, so we packed up, boarded up our house and left. We live on an island and the river is very close to our house, so we did not want to chance it and left before traffic got crazy. Being stuck on the interstate with a four year old, potty-training two year old, and a hungry, teething 5 month old was just not going to happen and luckily I didn't get stopped with them that much. We were spared when Irma went further west (although our sweet downtown still flooded when the outskirts of the storm hit at a king tide).

It ended up being a nice week retreat at my parent's house. And the weather actually felt like fall. My poor beach boys were "coldy" in the low 70 degree temps. We enjoyed my cousin's wedding, our niece's birthday party, visiting a friend's new church plant, and going to an actual mall. Despite a throw-up-in-the-bed incident and Nolan waking up in the night more than Lincoln, it was a great time.

In all of the chaos, I somehow got a freelance writing job for a local magazine. It's a fun story of how it came about, but I am excited to FINALLY be using my degree. (Look mom and dad!). I'll hopefully be sharing more about that as I get started.

I'm struggling to believe that it is already the end of September and am feeling the panic rise in my belly of Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas. I don't know why I feel behind every year when we clearly still have time. My hope is to curb my anxiety and instead focus on soaking in the fun with my boys.









18 August 2017

the three musketeers...





Or the three stooges.  Depends on the day and the attitude.

All three of my wild men are asleep for nap. In their own rooms. At the same time. All the praise hands for this mama.

We are over four months in to life with three boys and I feel so full and wanted to sit and share an update on the boys and life. I have found myself re-reading old blog posts to see the different stages and compare so I want to continue documenting. In 17 years, I'll probably be ugly crying while reading these back on the eve of one of their weddings. {Sorry for the word-vomit in advance!}

Gideon: I don't know where to start with this one. A typical first-born that Taylor and I have zero idea how to parent. Neither of us are first-born so it is hard for us to understand him. He is outgoing and makes new friends everywhere and anywhere. New or unknown does not scare him. This is mystifying to me. As an adult, I struggle to go into new social situations, but he thrives in it. Not afraid to make friends and not afraid to just be a loner if that's what he's dealt.

He starts at a brand new school for Pre-K 4 in just a couple of weeks. It's one of the top schools in SC and the classical curriculum apparently starts in the Pre-K 4 year. So he will be smarter than me in about a year. He loves learning and spends his days writing letters, pointing them out in public, counting to 100, and asking so many questions. All the questions. He has a knack for memorizing things and is pumping out some memory verses for church that I would struggle to memorize.

His imagination is so impressive. He has found a love for LEGOs and can sit and build for hours. We get him the sets and after he initially builds how it is supposed to go, he deconstructs them and makes his own things. I am not one for tons of toys being around, but LEGOs are OK by me!

Nolan: Oh Nolan. He is our middle child if there ever was one. A sensitive more quiet soul. Until he is mad. He loves so deeply and has started unprompted giving us hugs and saying "I love you." He just wants to sit and cuddle and will do that with whoever is willing. He picks people out who he knows will "hold you" (him) and won't let go.

He is obsessed with all things airplanes and has watched Blue Angels YouTube videos non-stop. He says he wants to be a jet pilot when he grows up and I do not doubt that he will do exactly that. He is not one to change his mind and is very sure of his decisions or the things he wants.

He loves his stuffed "doggies" and eats more than I do most days. He will eat anything and is the biggest food beggar. If you don't want to share, don't eat it around Nolan.

His language has exploded and the sentences that he is putting together blow my mind. It is fun to have him communicating so well and it is rare that we don't understand what he is saying. He is very clear and precise in his words.

Lincoln: I don't now how he is four months old already. I was trying so desperately to cling to his newborn-ness because I know I will miss it. And here we are with it gone already. He is the happiest baby I have ever met. Even when crying uncontrollably, if I come near he will smile in the middle of his tears.

This baby is a go-with-the-flow babe if I ever met one. He has no choice, but really embraces it all. He sleeps incredibly at night (most nights a solid 9 or 10 hours before eating and going right back down for three more). We are working on napping in his room and are getting better. He nurses great and weighing in at 16 pounds is not hurting for a meal. We have decided to go the baby-led weaning route with him like we did with Nolan so will wait a couple more months before starting, although he is currently cutting a tooth!

He has been going to church nursery for over a month now and does great. It's such a relief and I know that he has great ladies to watch him in there. He truly is a dream baby and that is exactly why we are done having anymore. I can't risk going backwards!

29 July 2017

before thirty.

via Pinterest

I turn thirty in about nine months. I was recently looking through old posts I started and never finished and found a list I was working on back in 2014 that I never got around to completing. A thirty before thirty list. I was amazed that I had actually accomplished a few of the things on my list which is exciting, but I'm also being realistic and know that I won't be able to get 30 huge things done in the next nine months. There is only so much time in between nursing a babe, taking care of the wild things, and sleep.

But, I wanted to give this list some life and check off the ones I've done and add a few more on. So here is my short list of things to do before I leave my twenties. Traveling is out of the question because time and money, of which both are limited. So the travel to do's will have to be on my before forty list.

Also, can I add make babies to the list because check, check, and check.

1. Read thirty NEW books. I love reading so this doesn't seem like a daunting task, but the problem is that I reread books I love numerous times instead of venturing out and finding new ones.

2. Color my hair. This may seem so minor to most of you, but I am a color virgin. I've always thought it would be fun, but always too scared. CHECK!

3. See an Alabama game in Tuscaloosa. This is for Taylor. He talks about how great this experience is and how he wants me to experience it too. {I know this is a travel one, but I'm leaving it}.

4. Run another 5k.

5. See another Off Broadway musical.

6. Make a pie from scratch. CHECK!

7. Make a Thanksgiving turkey. {This is really intimidating to me}.

8. Attend the Lights Fest. There are a couple coming nearby. Think Tangled. I feel like seeing it in person would be one of the most awe-struck experiences.

9. Cyprus Gardens. I want to rent and row a boat around this gorgeous place.

10. Buy a house. CHECK!

11. Complete BBG. I've never been good at sticking to workout programs or schedules, but I'm over halfway done with this one.

12. Do one of those farmhouse style sign classes.

13. A date with Taylor each month.

14. NYC with Taylor. CHECK!

15. Go to a fair. {I've never been!}
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