A Year of Wonder.

A year ago on this day, I gave birth to my daughter.  I’m usually pretty good at expressing myself, but today things are different.

I cannot put into words the amazing year we’ve had.  My daughter has truly transformed my life – she has opened my eyes to a world I didn’t know existed.  She has changed the way I view every aspect of life:  love, dedication, relationships, values.  She’s even changed the way I view my job, my friendships, and even how I keep my house!

This year has been full of everything new.  New experiences, new joys, new friends, new everything!  And at the same time, this year has given me the opportunity to reflect on the things I’ve always had with a new appreciation.

In her first year of life, my daughter has been my teacher.  She has taught me more about the meaning of life in these past 12 months than any other time in my life.  She has taught me about patience, commitment, what real love is, what true exhaustion is, and what really matters – and what doesn’t.

She has taught me about God.

In addition, having my daughter has connected me to some truly wonderful moms who are sharing the parenthood journey at the same time as me – the La Leche League, my MOPS group, my Bradley group, the Birthing Breastfeeding and Babies group – I would not have met these lovely women without my daughter.

It’s amazing how one small person can make such a big difference.

Life this past year hasn’t always been easy, but it has been good.  And I’m so excited to see what this next year brings!

Happy birthday, my sweet daughter.  I love you more than I ever dreamed possible, and I wish you a long, beautiful life full of blessing.

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A happy birthday at the aquarium.

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Looks like we’ll be getting an aquarium for our new house.

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Likes hippos, just the way mommy does.

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Real big fishies.

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It was a long day.

If you’re interested in reading my daughter’s homebirth story, click here.

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‘Tis the Season

busy mom

Just when I started to think I had to “do it all” this year because it’s “Baby’s First Christmas” … and we’ve gotta Make ALL the Memories (!) (oh-my-God-it’s-snowing-put-on-the-snow-gear-where’s-the-camera-get-outside-right-now-don’t-slip-and-maim-yourself-let’s-get-this-done-before-naptime-wait-her-hat-doesn’t-fit-oh-gawd-the-dogs-just-tracked-in-a-crapton-of-snow-c’mon-let’s-make-memories-yayyyyy) …and inevitably I’ve started to get just a little nervous/anxious/worked up/loud/Leona Helmsley about it…

I read this:

To The Mamas of Littles During the Holidays

It is just what I needed to read – and if you’re a mom of little ones, you need to read this, too.

Now, all is right with the universe, there are sugarplums dancing, and my feet are up with wine in my hand.  Because, I’m not going to go batcrap crazy this year and push myself so far that I miss it.

I don’t want to miss it.

“It” being the most important parts of Christmas – those moments with family and friends, specifically, my husband and daughter.  And I don’t need to festoon each moment with something from Pinterest.

I started on my simple Christmas journey a few weeks ago when I decided that not every single Christmas decoration I own has to be displayed this year (including the craptastic 6 foot tree that I still have from college that fell over last year and broke some of my favorite ornaments, sending me – at the time pregnant, emotional – into a complete “I Hate Christmas” tailspin).

No, I don’t have to go overboard to be overjoyed.  A few twinkly lights here and there, a handful of small Christmas trees, a wreath, some music.  There will always be music.

It’s going to be a beautiful Christmas, because we are just going to be.

A Beautiful Mess

MOPS is checking off every desire on my “moms group checklist.”

  • Moms who meet to connect, share, and support each other?  Check.
  • Structured meetings on a schedule that fits my lifestyle?  Check.
  • A diverse and dynamic group of women from all different walks of life with young children?  Checkity-check!
  • A classroom for my daughter to go play with other kids while I chill with the moms?  Check-o!
  • Christian-based meeting themes?  Check – a – roo!
  • Breakfast and coffee and CRAFTS?  Check, check, boom!

I’m so excited.

So, yesterday was my first MOPS meeting and it was lovely.  The “theme” for this year’s MOPS groups is “A Beautiful Mess” and boy, they couldn’t have nailed it more perfectly for me!

Of course, yesterday was no less messy for me:

  • Honeybean wanted nothing to do with her carseat, so naturally the epic struggle of getting my child seated and strapped before leaving took longer than anticipated and I was late to the meeting.
I deal with "The Rod" quite often.  She's got great abs, my daughter.

I deal with “The Rod” quite often.
She’s got great abs, my daughter.

  • I was called to Honeybean’s classroom twice during the meeting because she was upset.  I don’t blame her – she had no idea who these people were who wanted to play and sing and eat snacks and keep her happy.  The audacity of these people!
  • I broke the mug I received at the meeting.  As I was leaving, the diaper bag somehow slipped from my hands, fell to the pavement of the parking lot, and the mug was inside.  Rendering baby girl’s clothes, diapers, and bottle (with 3 whole ounces of my Liquid Gold inside – despair!) useless as ceramic shards were everywhere.

In spite of all this, it is nice to know that I am not alone in all of this crazy gorgeous disorganization known as motherhood.  I’ve kind of always known this – but it’s reassuring to see it in person.  I learned very quickly yesterday that even when my hair and makeup aren’t done, when my laundry is in piles, and we’re ordering take-out for the third time this week –  when it all seems to be a mess – it is still beautiful because I am exactly who I need to be, where I need to be, as part of God’s plan for my life.

And God doesn’t make ugly.

What It’s Like to Fall Off the Planet

So, there I was a few months ago all blissfully pregnant and completely unaware of how much a tiny human would change a fully-grown human’s life.

Holy moly having a baby is A LOT of work!

But, I’ll tell you what…

It is TOTALLY worth it.

Needless to say, blogging is not currently at the top of my priorities list.  In addition to caring for this little ball of energy, I’ve also got graduate school work, housework, working on my book (wait, what?!  more on that later…) and well, all the other every day life stuff.

But I just wanted to check in and let you know that all is well here in my little spot on this wildly spinning planet, and hopefully once September rolls around and my graduate work is finished, I’ll be back blogging again.  I mean, something’s gotta give from the to-do list, right?

In the meantime, here is a lovely post that I read today and wanted to share with you.

Cheers!

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Tom Petty had it right.  Waiting is difficult.  I am not a good “waiter.”  Yet, I’m a terrific procrastinator.

On April 7th, the Joy Dare had me looking for “three gifts waited for.”

Hah!  How much time do you have?

I’ve waited for many things, including time to update my blog.  Which is why I haven’t posted in awhile.  Things be crazy!

Between baby care, grad class homework, housekeeping, tax prep, helping a friend start a new business, several family gatherings, 87 piles of laundry, filing some important (and overdue, oops) Family Leave paperwork, and activities related to generally being a human, I’ve had pretty much no time to properly update this blog with regard to the Joy Dare.  So, instead of playing catch up (because I’m finding that I’m starting to repeat myself), I’ll just let you know that I’m not ignoring the Joy Dare, or this blog, but rather prioritizing things… yeah… that’s it:  prioritizing.

Plus, I was starting to stress over whether or not I was finding gifts, or the right gifts, or enough gifts for the Joy Dare.  And I don’t think that’s what the Joy Dare is all about.

My goal is to get back to the Joy Dare in proper sometime this week… so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I’m doing this today, along with a seriously large graduate class project (due tonight, naturally)…

strip all the diapers

It’s a thing you have to do once in awhile when you use cloth diapers.  It’s not hard, but it’s time consuming.  And really necessary if you actually want your diapers to continue to work (read: hold in stuff).

See you soon…

Gifts Surprisingly Found

Today is day three of my Joy Dare and today’s finds truly are surprising.  As I had expected, I was caught off guard with today’s gifts and wasn’t able to capture a picture for each one.  So, two of my three joyous gifts are “supplemental” pictures.

Without any further ado, I give you my Three Gifts Surprisingly Found:

I am surprised at how happy cloth diapering my child makes me.  It sounds ridiculous, I know - but there is something very satisfying about not buying disposable diapers and getting excited about which color diaper to choose next... Saving money, helping the environment, not exposing her little hiney to chemicals... it's good and surprisingly joyous.

I am surprised at how happy cloth diapering my child makes me. It sounds ridiculous, I know – but there is something very satisfying about not buying disposable diapers and getting excited about which color diaper to choose next… Saving money, helping the environment, not exposing her little hiney to chemicals… it’s good and surprisingly joyous.
The biggest surprise of all? I don’t mind doing laundry as much as I used to – and for anyone who knows me – that’s a HUGE surprise.

On our way out tonight, my husband and I drove past a young woman listening to her iPod and dancing - on the sidewalk outside of her house. It was such a blessing to see this because I thought, "What if we all just started dancing more?"

On our way out tonight, my husband and I drove past a young woman listening to her iPod and dancing… on the sidewalk outside of her house. It was such a blessing to see this because I thought, “What if we all just started dancing more?”

The best surprise of the day?  My daughter's first real, because-it's-funny, laugh.

The best surprise of the day?
My daughter’s first real, out loud, because-it’s-funny, laugh.

Today, unprepared as I was to capture my gifts on “film,” I let myself just open up to whatever gifts came – and how lovely they were.  Joy can surprise you, if you let it.

What To Do When You Have Nowhere To Put Your Baby

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This gallery contains 20 photos.

Like most first-time moms, when I discovered I was pregnant, one of the gazillion things that crossed my mind was one of the more superfluous and giddy:  “Ooh!  I get to set up and decorate a nursery!”  Except, there was … Continue reading