Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Brennan: Three Months

January 2, 2015


  • You are wearing 6 month clothes almost exclusively, with the exception of a few 0-3 month outfits that I wasn't ready to give up. We could've used some of the smaller ones a little longer, as they weren't fitting terribly, but we have so many of the larger sizes from Emerson (and the bigger size does fit more comfortably), that it seemed as though we might as well go ahead and get them out. It was harder than I expected to pack the 0-3 month clothes away, though, and I already hope that we get to use them again...someday.
  • You are wearing primarily cloth diapers during the day, and disposables at nighttime. That habit started somewhat by accident, and although I didn't plan to use disposables at night, it's worked out that way. And, since I somewhat suspect that that's contributing to your incredible nighttime sleeping habits, I'm not going to test the theory by changing it up. I've been more lenient with the disposable diaper usage this time around, realizing that it doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" thing. It's quite freeing, actually!
  • Your naps don't follow any particular pattern, really. You fall asleep in my arms when you feel like it, then sleep for a little while after being placed on the couch (or wake-up practically immediately if placed in your crib), and you never sleep for terribly long because there's just too much going on around here.
  • You are losing some of your hair, which I've noticed only because of the little circle of dark hair in your crib, where your head lays each night, and the little bare patch at the back of your head. (Little things like that bring back such memories of Emerson's baby days. There are many similarities between you sisters!) Your hair is getting blonder, too, which I notice especially after you're freshly-bathed.
  • You are beginning to really delight in bath time, though it never lasts for long. You abruptly get sad just before we're almost done. Whether you know it's almost over and are disappointed or start to get cold, I'm not quite sure, but it is a rather sad way to end an otherwise pleasant and relaxing time. Daddy usually helps Emerson take her bath while you and I watch from the counter, unless she's helping with your bath, that is.
  • You are really interacting with us, and so enjoy being talked to. You know you're part of the family, and love to be a part of what we're doing.
  • You're starting to verbalize, exploring what sounds you can make, and "cooing" here and there.
  • You are sleeping all night long. Let me repeat that for emphasis. You are sleeping all night long. After our bedtime routine with Emerson, you come to the couch with Mommy and Daddy, and nurse yourself to sleep, around 8:30 p.m. After you're good and asleep, which usually happens around 10:00 p.m., Mommy puts you in your crib, and you sleep soundly until 7:30 a.m. or so. Amazing. I can only attribute this to a) wearing a Pampers disposable, b) your inability to get any particularly long stretches of sleep during the day due to the busyness around the house, c) being highly stimulated during the day from the aforementioned busyness, or d) a combination of some or all of the above. It doesn't matter, really. I'm just so grateful and quite impressed. Keep it up, little one!
  • We never did use the swaddle with you at nighttime. Since you were sleeping with me, it wasn't necessary. You've used the sleep sack ever since you've slept in your crib, and you seem perfectly comfortable with it.
  • You continue to nurse well, though sometimes it seems you're annoyed to eat. It does slow you down from watching the surrounding action, that's true. You don't eat quite so often anymore, though you do seem to still prefer the snacking approach.
  • Your tummy time strength is clearly improving. You seem to enjoy that change of perspective, too.
  • Sucking on your hands is one of your latest tricks, and you slobber all over them...a new toy!
  • You have such patience being left in a room, just laying on your back while Mommy does other things. You enjoy your big sister's company, and are remarkably content for relatively long stretches of time just to lay around. I do appreciate that!
  • When you cry, we know it's something serious, because it's only when you're good and mad that you do cry. You'll whimper and fuss only briefly when you're "complaining", but only if something's truly making you mad do you cry hard. You're generally just quite easy-going and content to be with us, studying all the action around you.

Brennan, you are a delight. 
There is so much to discover about you; watching you grow each day 
is such a sweet reminder for me about how quickly life goes by. 
I cherish this time with you, and I hope you will always know how deeply loved you are.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Till You Feel Better

January has been winning. Yesterday was hard. Two little ones, both ready for a change of scenery, tired of being stuck indoors, in need of fresh air. (Plus, their mommy...also in need of fresh air.) Because there are so many germs prevalent lately, we are under a self-imposed quarantine. Besides that, it's rarely worth the effort it takes to get us all out and about, especially in the cold, with no where we really have to go. It's just not worth it.

But, for the good health we've thus far enjoyed this winter, there's a mental health price to pay. And, pay it we are. (Yes, our solitude is largely of our own doing. In some ways, I have only myself to blame. Noted.)


Yesterday, though, as we began to color on the windows with markers...again...I decided to turn on the 'Sound of Music' soundtrack on Spotify, and introduce Brennan to "My Favorite Things"...because if Julie Andrews can't lift my spirits, what could?! We moved from "Edelweiss" to "That Thing You Do" (I know, I know....) and then from there it was a short leap to an album of James Brown's greatest hits.

And then we couldn't help but get moving! Emerson chased me around the sectional in the living room as we moved and grooved and I showed her my best dance moves (which are, not surprisingly, quite entertaining even to a toddler).

Not much feels blog-worthy in the middle of this long winter, with uneventful days that all look very much the same. But, I want to remember yesterday, if for no other reason than to have a reminder that in the midst of a bad mood, I am likely just a soundtrack and a dance party away from a swift attitude adjustment.

So, as James Brown says, "get up offa that thing", and you know, "dance till you feel better".

I did.
And, I do.

(And then, Bobby came home with sushi. And, my best friend sent an encouraging text that made me cry. And I was again reminded of just how great I have it...even on the dreariest of January days.)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Worth Repeating / 02

September

9/1


Mommy: "Do you want to jump on Mommy?"

Emerson: "No. When the baby comes, then jump on Mommy...."
Mommy: "Do you want to jump on Daddy?"
Emerson: "No."
Mommy: "Do you want to jump on Royal?"
Emerson: "No...he's a little too big."

9/5

"Talk about.... Roh-Rah. You're a goooodddd runner...because...you can't run at Hobby Lobby."


"I love you so much, Roh-Rah. You the best dog in the world."

9/6

"That is gooooddd macaroni for my tummy. My tummy says 'oh, tank you, oh, tank you!'"


9/7

Jumping into Daddy's arms from a balance beam on the playground:

"I did it, I did it! I KNEW me could do it!"

"Aye, aye, Daddy!"

9/16

"God make my bed."


9/18

"Apple juice, sleep...that rhymes!"


9/19

"You make good pancakes, Mommy. (kiss for Mommy) That was a pancake kiss!"


Emerson's rendition of her nightly lullaby, with the lyrics "lullaby and goodnight, thy mother's delight....":
"Lullaby and goodnight, my mother's close-by...."

Looking for the Hornet mascot at football game: 
"Where is dat silly cricket...?" 
And then, "where is dat Jimminy Cricket....?"

9/23

Trying to sit on Mommy's lap with pregnant belly:

Mommy:"My tummy makes things a bit tricky!"
Emerson: "My tummy is...easier."

After following a bug on the road:
"The bug...moved a lil bit...and I...smushed him."

9/25

Mommy: "You are so special. There is no one just like you. Is your baby sister going to be just like you?"

Emerson: "I guess we'll have to see...."

9/26

Mommy: "Emerson, you're so cool."

Emerson: "I am...?"

Getting in and out of bed at bedtime:
Emerson: "My covers came off...."
Mommy: "Your sheet comes off when you sit up and get out of bed."
Emerson: "...So, that's why...."

9/28

Mommy: "Do you want Mommy or Daddy to read the book?"

Emerson: "Daddy. He's a good reader."

9/29

"I love spending time with you."



October

10/2

During early labor:

Mommy: "Mommy's tummy is hurting." 
Emerson: "I'll rub it for you. ... That feel better?"

10/6

Listening to a song on the radio:

"Uh-oh! This is my jam!"

10/7

Mommy: "Why did you get out of bed?"

Emerson: "Because me wanted to...."
Mommy: "Why did you want to?"
Emerson: "Because...I have to tell the tooth. I was running around, out of bed. I will never do that again. The...end. Big girls don't do that!"

10/13

Daddy: "Let's go watch The Three Musketeers! 'All for one, and one for...'"

Emerson: "...two!"

10/14

"Did you know, me your daughter?"


10/15

"I love her. Thanks, baby, for coming to our house."


10/18

After coming to the nursery very early in the morning, waking up Mommy from sleeping in the recliner overnight:

"I want you to go get a giant pickle and come back and read the Spot book in the baby's room. Can you do that plan?"

Playing with Play-Dough:
Emerson: "I made a 'hole' pizza!"
Mommy: "Is it made with love?"
Emerson: "It's made with play-dough, Mommy! It's not for real."

Having a conversation with herself:
"What's that?"
"A book, clapping."
"Can I have it?"
"Nope!"

10/?

"It's okay, Brennan. Mommy takes good care of you."


10/23

Talking to the iPhone:

Siri: "I'm sorry. That isn't available without service."
Emerson: "Well, I was just playing with it."

10/24

Mommy: "Brennan has a dirty diaper."

Emerson: "Oh. That's a bummer."

Mommy: "You need to settle down. Be gentle and calm."
Emerson: "Gentle! That's what me going to be!"

10/28

Mommy: "Did Brennan wake you up?"

Emerson: "Yeah. She cries a lot. Do you know, she poops a lot, too?"

"She poops a lot. ... Is she pooping now?"

Playing with Daddy, searching for a watch for their costume:
Daddy: "Where is it?!"
Emerson: "Calm down, Daddy. Calm down. I believe it's in the closet!"

10/30

Giving Mommy Halloween costume suggestions:

"You can be a cat, or a dog, if you want to be real. Or, just be Mommy. Orrrrr...nothin'."


November

11/1

Emerson: "Do you want a bean 'prout?"

Mommy: "Yes, please."
Emerson: "No, first use your manners...."
Mommy: "May I please have a bean sprout?"
Emerson: "Okay. You may."

11/11

Cupping Mommy's breast while Brennan nurses:

"I'll hold it for you. So it doesn't spill."

"I just want to clean up a lil' bit."

11/13

Kissing Daddy goodnight:

Daddy: "Is it scratchy?"
Emerson: "Yeah. You need to mow your face."

11/14

"I'm just living the dream."


11/18

Mommy's doctor: "Do you know what presents you want for Christmas?"

Emerson: "No.... But, we will sing Christmas carols and see lights and have costumes!"

Listening to the radio in the van:
Mommy: "This song is about how God is always with us, and He is our friend."
Emerson: "Is that God singing?"

11/20

"You're part of our family, and we love you very much. Just the way you are! I'll draw you. ... There's you, Brennan!"


11/21

"Did you know we can have fun time, Brennan? And roar? Roarrrrr! And play together all day? Tag, you're it!"


11/22

"Rah Rah...you make me laugh."


11/26

Mommy: "B is for...ball, and Brennan, and Bobby!"

Emerson: "Buh, buh...bathtub! Buh, buh...bubbles! Buh, buh...turkey!"

11/29

"Brennan tooted! I thought it was a motorcycle, but it was just Brennan...tooting."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Brennan: Two Months

December 2, 2014

  • At your two-month (plus one day) doctor's appointment, you weighed 13 pounds, 6 ounces...only 4 ounces more than Emerson did at her two-month appointment! That's amazing to me. You are 1' 11.5", and growing perfectly healthily. What a blessing. 
  • You are still wearing size 0-3 month clothing, though the day is fast-approaching when I'll need to suck it up and put you into the 6 month size. Your pajamas especially are getting a bit snug, but I'm having a hard time with the idea of putting away these tiny clothes again....
  • We haven't started using cloth diapers yet. You're still wearing size 1 disposables.
  • You're beginning to really suck on your fingers, slobbering all over your little hands. 
  • When something gets your attention or you're startled somehow, you raise your eyebrows so high and your eyes get wide. I just love those little eyebrows of yours!
  • You have such a pitiful pout when you're sad...your lips purse and you just look truly pitiful. Pitiful and adorable, that is.
  • You seem so much more content than last month. Happy to just be, and really seeming to be settling into life in this big world. Between a happier digestive system and improved eyesight, things are really improving for you!
  • You seem to enjoy "snacking" though the day at this point, versus having big meals. Our nursing sessions are rather short...too many other things to focus on, it seems.
  • We've still been primarily sleeping on the couch, or in Mommy and Daddy's bed (with no pillows...or blankets...or Daddy....), but you're doing a great job sleeping. You've only been waking up once or twice during the night to nurse (usually around 12:30 a.m.  and 4:30 a.m.), and you fall back to sleep quickly. We're moving toward putting you in the crib to sleep at nighttime...it's a process, we've learned! And, you'll be ready when you're ready.
  • Thankfully, you are now much more accepting of being in your car seat than you were. You don't cry during even a short drive these days, and we appreciate that!
  • You really prefer to be held, or sitting up to watch the action around you. You want to move around if held, but you're more willing than you used to be to just lay still...so long as you can be a part of things! Fair enough! 
  • Being on your changing table has always seemed to make you happy. You just like that spot, and we seem to get some of your happiest expressions when you're up there.
  • We put you in the bassinet and roll half of it under the kitchen table at dinnertime. You can see the light above the table and look up at Emerson, sitting in her high chair next to you. We all get to be together as a family around the table, and it makes me so excited for the days when you'll be in a seat of your own, joining in our discussion.
  • You watch your sister, and frequently follow her with your eyes. You know she's a good time! She's going to teach you a lot...and she is so ready to play with you! I love watching you two together. 
  • You've begun to smile! And, what a precious smile it is! We still have to work for it quite a bit, usually rubbing your lips with our fingers or playing with your cheeks to get a grin...but we're happy to do so. You melt our hearts!

You're growing so, so fast, and this time I get to hold you close,
cuddling and snuggling with you, is precious to me. 
You are cherished, and a perfect fit for our family. 
I love you more each day, Brennan. Truly.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Missing Jim

To anyone that knows me well, it's no surprise that I am a big fan of Jim Brickman. Ever since I was introduced to his piano music as a middle-schooler (let's face it, probably not his key demographic), I have been a fan...a "Brickmaniac", if you will. (Ha! I just made that up...& I don't think I'll say it again. It is quite awful.) His music played at my wedding, and in the delivery rooms when Emerson and Brennan were born, and listening to his music never ceases to be such an immediately calming, soothing experience for me. So, when I heard over the summer that he was coming to Springfield for another Christmas concert, I was thrilled. (Seeing his Christmas tour a couple of years ago was such a fun way to celebrate the holiday, and I have anticipated him coming back to town since then!) I knew I would have a two-month-old at home by the time early-December rolled around, but I told myself that it was do-able. That, one way or another, I'd be in attendance. And, frankly, looking forward to the occasion was an encouragement for many weeks...an outing that I knew would be a rejuvenating, relaxing one for me during a time when I knew I'd need one.

But, when tickets went on sale in August (on my birthday, no less), I didn't buy them. And, the twenty other times I checked the website, selecting my ideal seats and getting excited about the event, something stopped me from ever making the purchase.

I think I knew in the back of my mind that it wouldn't be particularly feasible. And, I was right. Here we are, the day of the concert, and I still don't have tickets. I won't be going. The reality is that the timing is wrong; the girls need me in the evenings, and leaving them for the concert would not be in the best interest of the family. I know that staying with them is what I need to do, and because being "Mom" is my greatest joy, it's what (deep down!) I want to do, too.


But, in all honesty, I am truly sad to be missing out. Seriously, I'm really, really, bummed. It doesn't help my attitude that I have family members that will be going. I'm happy for them (because really, everyone needs Jim Brickman in their life), but I'm jealous. I'm downright green with envy, as embarrassing as that is to admit. Although it's not a quality I'm proud of, it's the truth. I wanted so badly to get out of the house, to have some peaceful time, doing something that would be special to me. 

But, as I reflected this morning about my bad attitude, I realized that my desire to do this, for ME, goes against everything this season (& this life) is about. It isn't about me. It's about giving, and serving, and loving others before myself. Motherhood certainly teaches that lesson again and again.

(With that said, I think there's a lot of value in the concept of taking care of yourself as a mom so you can better serve your family. And, really, going to this concert was less about having a fun Christmas outing, and more about doing something that would benefit my mental health. This definitely would've fit the bill...but I'll figure out something else to serve that purpose. Not that I'm in poor mental health.... You get it.)

I so want to be focused on the right things during this season of Advent. And, if missing a concert is what the Lord is using to reveal an area of sin (that is, too high an emphasis on self-desire), then so be it.

My mom is right. "There will be more Jim Brickman concerts." (Though it'll probably be a couple of years...and who knows what family life will look like then. But, here I go getting all Grinch-y again. I'll stop.) Life goes on. This event just wasn't meant to be.

So! I'm moving on to 'Plan B'. Tonight, I think we'll get the girls dressed in cozy pajamas and load up in the van with mugs of hot chocolate. And then, as we drive around town looking at Christmas lights, you'd better believe we'll be listening to a few of Mr. Brickman's Christmas CD's.

It won't be the same as being at Hammons Hall.... It could be even better. Actually, because I'll be with the ones I love the most, it absolutely will be.

I like to think that's what Jim would want.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Brennan: One Month

November 2, 2014
  • At your 2 week appointment, you weighed 9 lbs. 4 oz. You are a growing girl! I could tell that you felt heavier, and I wasn't wrong. I just have a feeling that you are going to grow quickly. More quickly than it seems Emerson did. More quickly than I'd like.
  • You have outgrown your newborn clothes and are now wearing the 0-3 month size. It is such fun seeing you wear outfits that your sister once wore. Fun for Mommy and Daddy, and for Emerson, too. 
  • You're wearing size 1 disposable diapers.
  • I get the distinct impression that you don't love being a baby, and that you're ready to join in on the fun that the rest of the family has. You seem frustrated by your immobility and, specifically, your inability to play with your big sister. All in due time, darling.
  • You continue to have a good appetite and have always eaten well. You latch quickly and seem to enjoy nursing. That makes me really happy. I know that I'm more confident and more easy-going about your frequency of eating, and that's nice, too. 
  • You have had some tummy trouble, though, which has led to lots of grunting and seemingly uncomfortable days. Your digestive system may still be figuring things out, or my diet is bothering you, or you're getting too much milk...it's hard to know what the problem is. You seem to be working through it, though.
  • But, goodness, you spit-up a lot. Whether it's because of your tummy issues or just your natural way...it's taken some adjusting to! 
  • You are quite strong, leaning back from my chest when held and lifting your neck to see elsewhere. 
  • You definitely prefer to be held, and more specifically, held while standing up. Often, you'll awaken or express disapproval as soon as the person holding you sits down. 
  • We've slept together, with you on my chest, in the recliner in the nursery almost every night since you've been home. You awaken immediately when placed in your crib (and don't enjoy being swaddled), and in order for Mommy to get sleep, this has been easiest. For the past week or so, we've moved to the couch...but it's the same idea. You wake up to eat every three hours or so, and being with you already makes nursing and then getting you back to sleep much more tolerable. We have some work to do on your sleep habits, but we'll get there. 
  • You seem to really need stimulation of some sort now, and are usually not content to just sit. You want to be where the action is...which is tricky, because the action (read: Emerson) is on-the-go, and so, you must be, too. 
  • You are so alert, and that personality trait especially reminds us so much of Emerson. There will be much that is unique about you, Brennan, and we can't wait to discover those things that make you, YOU...but, we also find a lot of joy in seeing parts of Emerson's personality and spirit and demeanor unfolding in you. (And, physically, goodness you so resemble her right now! Quite amazing, really.)

I love you, Brennan Elizabeth.
You are a beauty, and a treasure, and getting to know you is such a gift. 
Thank you for all the joy you're bringing to our family, and to me. 
What fun you are! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Family of Four

There have been so many moments I've wanted to capture in these early days at home with Brennan. Moments that I know I'll miss and will want to remember in years to come. My only complaint about this time with a new baby is that I have no way to bottle up this time.... These days are fleeting and oh, so precious.

But, I have made notes...words spoken, emotions felt, observations & reflections of this time. Here's hoping that they'll capture a bit of the beauty that we've experienced in welcoming a new life to our family.

Emerson's maturity....

We prepared Emerson as well as we knew how before Brennan was born. About how the hospital experience and time with grandparents could go (so many unknowns about the timeline of childbirth and all of the potential scenarios made that a challenge)...about what it means to have a new baby at home...about becoming a big sister. She was as ready as she could've been.

But, still, there were surprises. We asked a lot of her during a highly emotional time, and the girl responded with confidence & grace, patience & flexibility.

I could not be more proud of her....
As she stayed at home the night her sister was born, away from Mommy and Daddy for the first time.
As she came to the hospital to meet the new baby, unsure of what exactly was happening. (Oh, the thoughts that could've been going through her head. I can only imagine.)
As she went home with Daddy for night #2 away from Mom.
As she tenderly holds Brennan, genuinely concerned for her needs and lovingly offering her help as often as possible.

She is one special little girl, and is a natural in her new role. Being a big sister suits her, and I'm overwhelmed with excitement for the tender relationship those two girls will have.


Things Emerson said on the day we brought Brennan home from the hospital....

  • Shaking her hand as she held her in the hospital bed..."Nice to meet you, baby sister."
  • Proudly bringing a blanket with her to the hospital..."She will need it so she won't be cold."
  • Seeing Brennan's bandage on her ankle from lab work..."I hope she be okay...."
  • Hearing Brennan squeak..."She talking to me! You hear that, Mommy?"
  • Driving home from the hospital..."It's your house, too, Brennan! You'll have so much fun with us!"
  • Holding Brennan in Mommy and Daddy's bed while Mommy folded laundry....
    • "You're amazing."
    • "Is that com-bubble (comfortable) for her?" 
    • "I love you, Brennan. I love you, Brennan.... We took you home, to your new home."
    • "...it puts me in the mood...por food. You like that song? ABCD...."



Our first night at home together....

  • Emerson had a couple of unpredictable and stressful days. Time away from Mom, a new baby.... But, she was resilient. And, after a successful "sleepover" at home, just the two of them together, Daddy was quite proud! As he should've been. I will never forget the joy I felt looking out the hospital window just in time to see the two of them walking in the parking lot, hand in hand. When Emerson came to my room, she was refreshed and content and secure; all was well in her world again. What a happy morning! 
  • There were two car seats in the van on our way home from the hospital. Two. One for each of our children. Of which we now have two. TWO. 
  • As I unpacked the suitcase, Emerson wanted to hold Brennan on the Boppy in the bed. That was such an incredibly precious scene. Some of their first moments together, just the two of them as I watched from a distance. I couldn't type fast enough on my phone as I tried to record the tender, heartfelt conversation. The first of many such visits, I predict. Emerson is in love...a natural...so full of compassion and patience and tenderness. I had no doubt as I watched them that Brennan would be safe in her big sister's arms. They take my breath away.
  • The house was a mess when we came home, and there was lots of laundry to be done and suitcases to unpack and dinner to cook and two children to tend to. And I used the still-flowing adrenaline to my advantage and was bustling around the house trying to get it all done. (Plus, it felt great to be back home, as opposed to stuck in a hospital room.) I decided then and there that I was really going to like the scurry, the busyness and the projects that two children would bring. It feels right to be a mama of two.
  • I saw Emerson in Brennan. Particularly, her expression as she lifted her head off of my chest, pursing her lips with a furrowed brow. What fun it is already to enjoy memories of Emerson's infancy as I watch Brennan.
  • Emerson has been nothing short of a rockstar with the change and the unpredictability of the past 48 hours. And Brennan seems to be quite easygoing! Going with the family flow, fitting right in as we go about our normal activity. I'm so proud of both of these girls. And I don't think that'll be the last time I say that.
  • While Bobby went to get our food, I cooked macaroni for Emerson. And as I juggled Brennan in one arm and mixed the butter and milk into the noodles with the other, I thought for the first time, "oh, yeah, mother of two...I've got this." It felt, for lack of a better term, "legit". And, I loved it.
  • We had a steak dinner delivered to us on our first night home with Emerson. It was a feast and a real treat. But, this time, we had Sonic and macaroni on the couch, as we watched "monkey George" with our precious toddler, with our newborn sleeping peacefully beside us. Happy to all be together once again, home where we belong. That meal was just what we needed. I was teary and joyful. Steak dinners are great...but it just doesn't get better than this.
  • It was a perfect first night at home together. It felt right and it felt comfortable. Every night won't be like this, but I couldn't have asked for more for our first night together, and I'm grateful.



Reflections from the first few days....

  • Bobby and I know our individual roles as parents, and we have better expectations about what each of our children need from us.  We're functioning as a better team, with a more clear understanding of what we need from each other, too. 
  • We also understand our individual sleep needs, and the realities of nights with a newborn. The "shock" factor hasn't existed this time.
  • We are, simply, more confident and more self-assured than last time. And, we're enjoying the experience differently than before.
  • Bobby's role with Emerson has changed form, and they have been such wonderful playmates during his time at home. This is a shift that has been long-anticipated and highly-desired...and although it's so precious to see the trust & fun & companionship between them grow, it's admittedly a little hard for Mommy. I've had to miss out on their daily "adventures" to the zoo or the library or the park, which has made me sad...wishing I could be out of the house, and also knowing that I'm missing special time with Emerson, and one-on-one time with her. As her relationship with Bobby changes, my role in her life is changing form, too, and that's bittersweet. 

The verse mentioned during the church service we watched on our first morning at home with Brennan that made me teary....

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, 
who have been called according to his purpose. 
Romans 8:28

Perhaps the sweetest thing Bobby has ever said to me....

"I'm going to try to remember, and not take for granted, 
the fact that you just had a baby two days ago...
since you look like you're back to 100%."


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Refreshing

Today is Bobby's first day back to the office after nearly two weeks at home for paternity leave. And, I'm sad that he isn't here.

Not because I'll have less help with dishes and housework. (Though that's certainly true, and his help in those areas over the past couple of weeks has been substantial. He's amazing, and I'm grateful.)

Not because I won't be able to rest so easily mid-afternoon.

Not because I'll be on my own with two little girls during the day.

I'm bummed because this is the end of what has been two incredibly refreshing weeks at home as a family.

"Refreshing" is hardly what I envisioned when I pictured our first couple of weeks with a newborn. I imagined being in "survival mode", needing Bobby to deliver coffee to me each morning (which, admittedly, he has done quite regularly) just to keep me functional. And yet, this time was quite the opposite. Sure, we've been tired, but this time at home was more about enjoyment & togetherness & rejuvenation than mere survival.

Bobby's time off-work was shorter when Emerson was born, and between fewer days at home and the unfamiliarity of being new parents and the mental weariness that brings...it was a different experience. Beautiful and uniquely wonderful as we learned about parenthood! But, different. Those days were certainly precious, but they weren't what I would call "refreshing".

This time, besides the benefit of having sweet Emerson to entertain us, I think we both came into the experience with far more realistic expectations. Going in, we understood the reality of lack of sleep, and that spending the night in the nursery recliner is part of the game. (Which hasn't made being away from the flannel sheets in our bed easier, necessarily, but we haven't been shocked by the exhaustion that comes from many poor nights of sleep.) Our parenting roles are more clearly defined, and we are working better as a team. Bobby is more confident with a newborn this time around, and I think he better understands the reality that Brennan primarily needs me (read: my milk) in these early days. He's been able to focus his energy and attention on Emerson, and they have truly connected during this time. Daily "adventures" out and about together, and that night spent at home together while I was at the hospital, have been especially huge bonding experiences for the two of them. It's a big (beautiful) deal!


Bobby said it well when he expressed to my dad that, as much as we (really, really) enjoy our summer vacations and getaways, there's something to be said for having had this time at home, doing very little other than just enjoying the company of one another. I suppose that's where the idea of "stay-cations" came from. (Although, I don't know that that concept is necessarily appealing to us. Even if we were to stay home during vacation time, I think we'd be liable to want to DO things, out and about, and make it a "productive" time.) But, being at home with a newborn, whom we very much want to avoid exposing to germs unnecessarily, somewhat forced us to just BE...be home & still & together & rested. This was a time unlike any other that we've had as a family, and it was nothing short of refreshing.

Weekends are wonderful, but they are, as we all know, far too short. There are, more often than not, chores & errands & things to do that don't allow for much in the way of rest, much less uninterrupted family time.

So, the obvious answer to continue to enjoy these periods of rest is to have another baby right away so we can regularly have weeks of FMLA paid time together.

Kidding. (Sorry, Mom.)

In all seriousness, though, I do believe we'll be making a more conscious effort in the months ahead to be intentional about Bobby taking time-off on a regular basis, for the sole purpose of family togetherness.

We need to make it happen. It's absolutely worth it.

Bobby, I'm so grateful for the past two weeks. You are a rock, for me and for our girls. 
So much of Emerson's positive adjustment is a credit to your efforts and time with her. 
You are an incredible daddy; these girls don't yet know how blessed they are, but their mom does. 
I will treasure these precious days we've spent at home as a new family of four. 
Thank you for helping to make this time so special, and for loving us...for loving me...so well. 
Your THREE girls love you so very much! xoxo

Friday, October 10, 2014

Introducing Brennan Elizabeth

At 8:37 p.m. on Thursday, October 2nd, 2014, Bobby and I met our daughter, Brennan Elizabeth. 
7 pounds, 8 ounces of God's handiwork...another perfect miracle! 


Brennan's birthday came a week earlier than we expected, so although her arrival came as a bit of a surprise, we were (of course) overjoyed just the same. We enjoyed the blessing of a (relatively) quick, non-medicated labor & a healthy delivery, and immediately experienced the most incredible feelings of new and abundant love for another child. God is faithful. 


Seeing these two little girls together has brought me immense and overwhelming joy, like none I've ever known before. Emerson's sweet words & gentle touches...her thoughtfulness & patience & flexibility...she is a natural and is thriving in her new role. To witness her growing love for her new baby sister is incredibly beautiful. These are truly precious days.


You are fiercely loved, Brennan Elizabeth. Welcome to our family!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Watching

It wasn't my best parenting moment. In fact, I was losing patience. I wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary for us; my exchange with Emerson wasn't unlike our conversations that take place all day long. But, as I worked to get her into her carseat in the library parking lot, I was, evidently, being watched.

She may have been a young high school student. She was wearing braces, riding in a vehicle driven by someone else. I didn't realize she was there, but as she waited (for me to move out of her way) to get into her van, she saw, and heard, my interaction with my little girl.

And then, "Is that your daughter? You sound like you're a really good mom."

She didn't have to say that. And, I suspect she has no idea about the weight of her encouraging words.

As often as I hear compliments on my mothering from my parents or my husband (and that is truly meaningful), there's something powerful about the words from a stranger that give such affirmation to the job that I'm doing. Those that know me, know me. I would hope that when they see my love for my daughter, it doesn't come as a big surprise. But, for strangers who know nothing about me, to witness love displayed through my words and actions in the brief time we cross paths, and to know something about me through that experience is uniquely special.


I don't know the girl's story, or what led her to comment. Did I remind her of her loving mom? Or, was she struck by the difference of my behavior compared to the example in her life? I know there are so many loving parents...but is harsh, hateful parenting what she is used to seeing in public? Based on my experiences as I watch other children and their parents at the park or at the store, I worry that that's perhaps the case.

I was caught off guard by her simple comment. I smiled and thanked her as she got into her car, but I wish I would've had my thoughts put together enough to explain that I'm only doing my best to try to show my daughter God's love, or at the very least, let her know how sweet that was of her to say and how much it meant to hear.

I didn't know that that young lady was watching, but I know Emerson is. I think often about the lessons she's learning about motherhood as she watches me. I know those lessons will only become more evident and pronounced in the years ahead. But, this encounter was a reminder that the way I parent is visible to more people than I may realize, and on the days that it seems that I'm not having a significant impact on making the world a better place...well, perhaps maybe I am.