Monday, December 31, 2012

Farewell, 2012

Admittedly, I'm a bit sad to bid farewell to 2012 tonight. The end of the 2009 brought the same kind of emotion, and in looking back at my post from New Year's Eve that year, I realized how very similar my sentiment was then.

It’s not that I don’t want the New Year to arrive; 
I just don’t want to say goodbye to what has been a beautiful, exciting, life-changing year. 

Exactly. Well-said, self.

The past year has been a special one for Bobby and me, primarily focused on preparing for, welcoming, and getting to know our little girl.  (Truth be told, though, it takes effort to think back to much of the year before Emerson's birth day...what did we do with ourselves before July 1st?!) It's difficult to move on from the past year, as it has been such a wonderful season of our life. Time marches on, though, and the new year is very much upon us. 

As I write this post, I'm watching Emerson play with toys on the floor of her nursery. She's looking up at me with a smile and lots of giggles as if to say "this is just getting good, isn't it Mom?" What a sweet reminder. One that I needed. Seeing that smile...that precious face that shines with the promise of the future...has filled my eyes with tears. How could I possibly doubt that the coming days with her will be any less full of wonder than the past months have been? Precious days are ahead. (Including, in the immediate future, Emerson's first taste of solid food...tomorrow she'll be six months old!)

This little girl is teaching me so many things, including a mindset that I think would serve me well to adopt in the coming year. To laugh because it feels good, to explore, to be curious, to discover, to find joy in life's simple pleasures.

When I think of 2012, I will recall it as a the year when my life changed forever. As the year when I fell into a new kind of love. It was a year unlike any other, and I'm celebrating all the joy that it held.

But, I'm certain that 2013 will be full of new and exciting experiences, too...our little world, no doubt, still revolving around the happenings of the littlest Phillips. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Here's to health, happiness, & solid food! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Emerson: Five Months

December 1, 2012

  • You are wearing 6-9 month clothes. The 6 month clothes are getting a bit short, but I'm trying to squeeze the last bit of wear out of them before completely switching over. The 9 month clothes seem so big, and it's hard to believe how quickly you're growing!
  • You are enjoying your voice these days, and discovering all it can do. Your pitch has become a bit higher, and sometimes you use what Daddy refers to as your "pterodactyl voice". You certainly know how to get our attention with your shrieks, and you get a kick out of doing so. You seem happy to be learning how to communicate with us...and with Royal.
  • You know when it's bath time, and as soon as your clothes start coming off, you are all smiles. Your face lights up when I say "are you ready for your bath?" and you usually answer with a precious coo and lots of laughter. 
  • As soon as you get in the bath these days, though, you're all business! You grab the washcloth and immediately begin to suck all the water out. It's as if you have a job to do, and you get very serious. You are content to be tended to, with your leg sprawled over the side. While you're getting washed, you try your best to get the cup from Daddy while he pours water on you. Rubber Ducky has become a friend, too, and you like to chew on him before it's time to dry off.
  • You have two teeth! The first one seemed to give you some trouble, and there were a couple of days when your gums were obviously bothering you, but for the most part, they weren't too much of a problem. (We noticed a little extra drooling, lots of chewing on your hands, and restlessness when you tried to go to sleep at night.) Within a week, your second bottom tooth emerged! We were surprised to see them so soon! You continue to amaze us!
  • Occasionally, you'll wake up in the middle of the night (we suspect due to teething pains), but usually you sleep from around 8:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. And, we thank you for that!
  • Still no naps in your crib, but your sleep pattern during the day is becoming even more defined. You consistently sleep for an hour or so after you eat breakfast, and then you're ready for an afternoon nap around 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. 

  • You've started rubbing your eyes and tugging on your hair when you're getting tired. It's precious, and we appreciate the obvious clues to your need for sleep!
  • You spend lots of time in your "Jenny Jump-Up" and have gotten it figured out over the course of the last month. You know how to spin around and turn toward where the action is, and when Royal heads in your direction, your face gets all scrunched because you know a "kiss" might be coming. You enjoy being at his level, though! 
  • We feel guilty eating in front of you now. You are so interested in our food, and reach for my plate regularly. We're trying to wait until you turn six months old to introduce solids...we'll see if that happens. Nursing has become less frequent, though you still have a strong appetite!
  • You drank water from Mommy's cup a couple of times, and seemed like such a big girl when you did so. You tried to hold the glass yourself, and seemed so proud to be able to try something the big people do. 
  • You like having toys around you, and enjoy having something to play with, watch, or chew on. Your activity level is definitely increasing.
  • You're still playing with your feet and have been trying to get them into your mouth. They're fun toys that are always there! 
  • You've mastered rolling onto your side, and have rolled from your tummy to your back a couple of times, though it still seems accidental. You can usually see or grab what you're interested in by arching your back and stretching, and it doesn't seem that you're particularly motivated to roll over. You're just so content!
  • You have begun to wriggle around on the changing table much more, which makes changing your diaper more exciting. You were squirming around on the bathroom counter at Daddy's office one day, and reached up and squirted some soap out of the soap dispenser. It's a joy to see you so active and curious!
  • Grocery shopping and errand-running has become so much easier! You are usually happy to be in the car and seeing the sights at the store, and it's great having you out-and-about with me.
  • Your hair seems to be lightening by the day, and the hair at your neck has really grown. It's just beautiful.
Emerson, you are so much fun to be with and get to know. 
I want to remember everything about you, just as you are these days....
I hope you are always as content, as inquisitive, and as full of wonder as you are right now.
You're teaching Mommy so much.
I love you, little girl.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmastime Around Here

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is decorating the Christmas tree.

More specifically, I love the excitement of opening and looking through the fresh-from-storage boxes. Though the contents remain relatively unchanged year after year, there's something magical about seeing what's inside & revealing the treasures that are only in sight approximately 1/12th of the year.

It's a tradition that is (as I suppose most traditions are) comforting in its constancy. Year after year, the process is the same & the reflection similar as I reminisce on our collection of ornaments.

Themed Christmas trees are beautiful, and they have their place. I enjoy seeing them at Silver Dollar City, at the mall, or in a designer magazine. In our home, though, I far prefer what is essentially the 'story of our life' displayed through each ornament...a visible reminder of the many milestones and memories we have to reflect on and enjoy.

"Our First Christmas-2009"
"Our New Home"
the souvenirs from our honeymoon in St. Lucia and our vacation to Mexico
the Mizzou Tiger from my years in Columbia
the annual glass-blown balls from Bobby's office
...and the one we'll be adding this year, celebrating Emerson's birth. 

Each ornament makes me smile and reminds me of the beauty of this life we're building. What began as a small collection of ornaments is growing with each passing year of memories made.

As much as I value the constancy of our tree and the tradition of decorating for the season, I'm excited for the changes in years ahead, too. For the ornaments we'll add signifying milestones in our family, and for the handmade decor that Emerson will contribute. For the years when the ornaments will be a few feet higher to remain out of reach, and for the years when they will all be gathered at the bottom of the tree, because that's as high as little hands could reach to place them.

Regardless, I know the tree will tell our family's story.


Bobby usually places the ornaments on the tree itself. (I find it too stressful. Leave it to me to find an element of Christmas decorating to be stressful.) I'm happy to assist with this task, aiding by putting the hangers on the ornaments beforehand, and then handing each one off to him.

I was, admittedly, less helpful this year than usual. (To his credit, Bobby did an excellent job without me.) Emerson doesn't yet quite appreciate the sentimentality of the occasion, and wasn't content to sit still while I reminisced over each memento. Thus, she and I danced around the living room to what I consider the soundtrack of my childhood Christmases. Though I'm certain my family listened to many tapes and CD's as I grew up, there is one album that I associate with preparing for the holiday. And so, it plays in our home each year as we decorate the tree.

Emerson grew restless as we decorated and danced, and after a while, she and I sat down in the living room rocking chair. Having been displaced by the tree, the chair was in a new corner, but allowed for a perfect view of the tree-decorating in progress. While Emerson nursed, I watched Bobby as he mindfully placed each ornament, according to significance, in a special spot on the tree.

As he did that, my mind wandered to next Christmas, picturing sweet Emerson helping (or, "helping") her daddy decorate the tree. Or, the Christmases after that, when perhaps Emerson will dance around the living room as little brothers or sisters watch the scene with wonder....

I blinked away tears as I imagined the future with great anticipation.

And then, as the Christmas music playlist ended, the next songs in our iTunes library began...instrumental, lullaby hymns. Bobby continued his work to the gentle melody of "Holy, Holy, Holy"...peaceful and worshipful music that so appropriately suited the occasion and this season of life with our little girl. Perfect for Emerson as she drifted to sleep in my arms...& a perfect illustration for Mommy of just how unique and precious this Christmas is.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Emerson: Four Months

November 1, 2012

  • At your 4 months (+ 6 days) doctor's appointment, you weighed 16 pounds and measured 25.5 inches long (90th percentile). We're so proud of how you're healthy, and so strong!
  • You're primarily wearing 6-9 month clothes now, largely because of the extra bulk from the cloth diapers that require a bigger size. We still squeeze you into some of your Mommy's favorite 3 month ensembles, but Daddy says I'm holding you back. 
  • You have continued to sleep through the night, and waking up for an early morning snack is definitely a rare exception to your general pattern. You've started to get sleepier a bit earlier in the evening, and your bedtime is closer to 9:00 p.m. these days (though you usually fall asleep in the living room around 8:00). We think the switch to daylight savings time might be helping this transition...of course, it has also meant earlier (7:00 a.m.-ish) wake-up times. 
  • I can't imagine sending you to daycare, or not being able to spend my days with you. You are just getting more and more fun!
  • You still nurse on-demand, but your frequency has definitely declined. Your meals are more substantial and you're not as interested in "snacking" throughout the day. Sometimes, if I think you're hungry and you're not, you arch your back away from me, clearly demonstrating your disinterest. You know how to communicate!
  • You're beginning to develop some daily patterns in your awake/sleep schedule. You wake-up energized, and after you eat, we play on the couch and you do some tummy-time watching Sesame Street for a bit. Late-morning, you're ready for a short snooze, and then more playtime. You've started taking a longer nap mid-afternoon, but still not in your crib. Maybe that will be a goal for this month.... You usually take a quick "power nap" just before Daddy comes home, and then you're ready for the rest of the evening. 
  • When 7:00-7:30 p.m. hits, though, you're ready to start your bedtime routine! Daddy plays with you for a bit, and then it's bath time. You smile when I take your socks know what's coming next!
  • The stuffed tiger that your daddy bought for you at the hospital has become a favorite toy, which makes Daddy and I smile. You reach for it immediately when it's offered, and bring its nose immediately to your mouth. We like knowing that there are things you like and enjoy.
  • You continue to be so very content...happiest when you're around the action, and quite observant and studious of your surroundings.
  • You've started to enjoy putting things in your mouth and chewing. Your fingers, other people's fingers, toys...everything is new and fun to explore! We also think you might be beginning the initial stages of teething...perhaps.
  • Royal is very entertaining to you. If he's in the room, you're watching him, and have started to grab bits of his fur if he sits near you long enough to do so. We think you're going to be best friends.
  • You are close to sitting-up on your own! You still need some support, and tend to lean forward, but it won't be long before you can do it by yourself. Your legs are getting strong, too, and you seem to very much enjoy being vertical while you practice putting some weight on your legs.
  • Every afternoon, we have "diaper-free" time on the floor of your nursery. You lay on your tummy on a blanket, and play with and stare at your "Whoozit" toy and your stuffed animals. Your tummy-time stamina has improved so much over the past month, and what used to seem like "work" for you, doesn't really seem to be anymore. When you get tired, though, we help you roll over onto your back, and then you twist all around some more playing with your toys. You roll onto your side very easily (and seem to prefer sleeping that way), but haven't shown a lot of motivation to roll over all the way. You're just so content wherever you are! 
  • You've giggled and belly-laughed a few times now...and it is the most beautiful sound we've ever heard. (We have so much laughing together ahead!)
  • You definitely recognize some familiar faces now, and offer smiles quite easily. But, you really like having Mommy close-by and tend to get upset if I'm not within eyesight.
  • You're also usually happy being held by Daddy now, which has been a fun thing for him. 
  • You're a blonde! We thought you were going to be bald for a bit, after all of your hair loss last month. But, your new hair grew in, and it is a beautiful shade of blonde, just like Mommy and Daddy when we were little. We think it suits you quite nicely...though you do look much different!

It's impossible to imagine our family without you...
and hard to believe it's only been four months since your arrival!
You bring such joy to our lives, Emerson.
Thank you for making every day a special one.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Happy Memory

A year ago yesterday, Bobby came home from work, and we decided that the time had come to take a pregnancy test. So, I did, and after three anxious minutes, we learned that we were going to be parents. We spent the rest of our evening celebrating our answered prayer together, overjoyed by our news and full of anticipation.

Last night, Bobby came home from work, and we spent our evening cuddling with our sweet, 4 month old Emerson, who is recuperating from the second round of immunizations she got earlier this week. She got her nightly bath on the bathroom counter, while we reminisced about the two pink lines we saw in that same spot one year ago...lines revealing that she was on her way.

I'll forever remember that night. Such a happy memory!

We knew our lives were going to change; we just didn't know that from that very moment, they did.

We knew we loved our little one already; we just couldn't know how much, or how incredibly deeply we'd feel that love once she arrived.

The sentence below is a portion of what I wrote on the first page of my pregnancy journal on that night, when I learned I was going to be Emerson's mom. The sentiment remains equally as true now that she's here...part of our family, and my greatest joy.

"There are truly no words...
only the feelings of joy, excitement, wonder, and gratitude 
for the journey that is beginning."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Musings of Motherhood

A few thoughts after experiencing three (and a half) months of motherhood....

  • Never in any job or project I've undertaken have I been so completely exhausted at day's end. These days,  I am physically and emotionally wiped out. I feel...spent. As though there is nothing left of me to give. I am giving myself entirely to my daughter between 8ish in the morning when she wakes up until 10ish at night (when we both go to bed). I am "on the job" every moment I'm awake. There is nothing like it!
  • Of course, I always appreciated my mom. I've written Mother's Day cards full of sentiment and gratitude...but I get it now. I "get" why we celebrate motherhood. I have an entirely new perspective of what my mother did (does!) for me. There is still much to learn, and I know my eyes will continue to be opened as to the magnitude of how wonderful she is as I discover more about what it really means to be a loving mom.
  • The work I do at home can feel pretty small, compared to the happenings in the rest of the world. I'm trying to remember how important it is to keep our little world turning. Clean laundry, paid bills, tidy kitchen, tasty supper, happy and healthy's meaningful work, and it's mine.
  • I am so grateful for the new spiritual awareness and focus that I am experiencing.  It is our deep desire to raise Emerson in a godly manner, teaching her to fear the Lord, and I have a new recognition of my need for wisdom and Christ's strength. I am increasingly aware of my dependence on God to guide my day and guard Emerson.  I have a better understanding of unconditional love, and far greater appreciation for sacrifice. My prayers each night over Emerson's crib as she sleeps are some of the most fervent, honest and genuine words I have ever spoken to my Father, and I'm thankful.
  • I'm lonesome for time with special friends. I want to spend time with friends close-by, and catch-up with friends far away. I want to chat, sip coffee, & connect. I love spending my days with Emerson, but I miss the company of friends.
  • There is an interesting balance between feeling as though I'm "losing myself" in motherhood, and finding myself, as well. "Mom" is what I've always wanted to be, and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but recognizing the changes in myself that this new role requires is interesting and unique.
  • I glanced in the mirror during Emerson's bath the other night. There was spit-up all over the front of my t-shirt, and spaghetti sauce stains on my shoulder (...a result of my haphazardly eating ravioli so as not to drip on baby). My hair was falling down from the messy bun on top of my head, and my make-up had long since rubbed off (though I am proud that I had been wearing some in the first place). I saw in the mirror what very much looked like a "mom uniform", and I was strangely pleased. We'd had a happy day. I'd worked hard. And in seeing that reflection, I knew I'd done my job.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I love anniversaries. Wedding and romantic anniversaries, of course, but also the recognition of dates in my life that were somehow meaningful. In my mind, taking note of the notable days in our past provides a sense of where we were & where we are & where we're going, and provides some connection between the days and months that keep going by. It's important for me to recognize these occasions. Without doing so, the days can turn into years...seemingly endless until time has too quickly passed to realize it.

(I've written about a few of my meaningful anniversaries here and here and here...and here.)

Admittedly, writing about this anniversary borders on the line of over-sharing, but since I've made it clear how important it is to me to recognize milestone dates, I'll proceed.

Emerson was likely conceived on this date last year.

I know...rather personal. Although, conceivably (ha), anyone that knows anything about the timeline of pregnancy and her estimated due date could have figured that out.

Anyway, whether or not the exact date is accurate, it's fun for me to think about. If you believe that life begins at conception (as I do), then this occasion is a special one. On this date (or thereabouts) one year ago, God created Emerson. Her life began before I knew it had; she was fearfully and wonderfully made!

Something worth celebrating, indeed.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Emerson: Three Months

October 1, 2012

  • By my at-home measurement (no dr. appt. this month), you weigh just over 14 pounds.
  • You're wearing cloth diapers! They were a success from day one. You seem pretty comfortable!
  • Thanks to the cloth diapers and the extra cushion in your bottom, most of your 0-3 month clothes don't fit anymore. For the most part, 3-6 month clothes fit, but you'll be wearing 6-9 month sizes sooner rather than later, it appears. It's fun transitioning into your fall wardrobe!
  • Nightly baths are still such a good time, and you tell us quite clearly when you're ready for it each night. Your delight in bathing is becoming more and more evident. You relax into your position in the tub immediately, you love grabbing and sucking on the soapy washcloth, and you're quite pleased when Daddy pours the cup of water on your tummy. You've stopped crying at the end of bath time, and we're all able to enjoy the wind-down routine a bit more now. While we put on your pajamas, I usually sing "Five Little Frogs" or "Rubber Ducky" to you. The length of the songs is just about as much time as I need to get you diapered and pajama-ed, and it seems to usually keep you entertained long enough to do so.
  • We nurse in the living room after bath and pj's, and it seems to be getting easier and easier for you to wind down and put yourself to sleep after you eat. We usually lay on the couch for a while before putting you in your crib between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. (Any earlier and you tend to wake-up as soon as we lay you down.)
  • No more swaddle for you, big girl! You sleep in a "sleep sack" now, and it's so precious to see you all stretched out, arms above your head. Such a peaceful sleeper.
  • You are sleeping through the night! Waking up at 6:00 a.m. for a quick feeding is the exception rather than the norm, and more often than not, it's between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. when you begin to stir and are ready to start your day. 
  • You wake up with a smile just about every day, and leaning over your crib each morning to your happy greeting is my favorite part of the day. 
  • That smile! It lights up your face and is oh, so contagious. What a joy! 
  • Your hands are your favorite toy, and you love to slobber and slurp on them. 
  • You study your environments intently, and are generally serious until you're familiar with where you are and who you are with.
  • We know when you're happy! And, when you're not. You continue to seem so content most of the time, happy to be where the action is. But, you're discovering how to communicate different emotions, and you are able to demonstrate your dissatisfaction with a situation quite clearly. 
  • You have much less hair now than you did when you were born, and the hair that's left is much lighter than it was. It comes off in your bath and there's a little circle of dark brown hair in your crib where you lay your head. When it grows back, will you be blond like Mommy and Daddy were, we wonder?
  • Your tummy-time stamina has increased considerably. Your longest stretches of 10 minutes or so happen just about every morning. Watching Sesame Street keeps you interested while you exercise. 
  • You are definitely recognizing familiar faces, and usually give a smile to those you know. 
  • We've had lots of "conversations" this month, as you've begun to find your voice. Lots of back and forth "oh's" and raspberries. You are a communicator, with lots to say. We have such fun things to talk about in days to come! 
  • Your babbles have a low tone, and we wonder if you'll have a deep voice. 
  • You love to sit-up, and your head control is wonderful. You begin to tighten your abs and arch your back when you're ready to be pulled-up, and are so proud when you've done it. 

There are new things to learn about you each day! 
Watching you grow and seeing your personality develop is a true gift. 
Emerson, I am so thankful that I get to be your mom.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

This Too Shall Pass

I've always appreciated the phrase "this too shall pass". My best friend wrote that sentence on a note card attached to a "get well" gift when I had my wisdom teeth removed years ago, and I placed the note in my medicine drawer where it's been ever since. (Having the need to open the medicine drawer usually means that I could benefit from the reminder that my ailment is temporary; it's been an encouragement more than once!)

Motherhood has brought this phrase to mind a few times. Now more than ever, its meaning seems so relatable in my life.

There were days in those first few weeks with Emerson where it truly felt as though sleep was a thing of my past; that my nights were going to be forever spent in that recliner. But, that hardship passed. And that's a good thing.

Then again, Emerson won't be in her swaddle ever again. She doesn't find ceiling fans quite so interesting anymore, and these days she doesn't have to lay on my chest in order to fall asleep. She's growing, and some of the defining behavior patterns that we've come to expect are changing. That's also a good thing...but it's bittersweet, too. Her days as an infant are short...they too shall pass. And, I know I'll miss this chapter.

"This too shall pass." For better or worse, it does ring so, so true, doesn't it?

Days are short. Time is precious. we're building...shall pass. I don't reflect on that in such a way as to despair in life's brevity. Instead, I'm considering it a reminder to cherish the joy in living right now

The rough moments will pass.
The precious ones will, too. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sound Sleeper

We've reached another milestone in the Phillips household!

Last night, Emerson slept un-swaddled for the first time. I'm very proud of her, and frankly, pleased with my own maternal instinct in recognizing that she may be ready for such a thing. She'd been squirming in her swaddle blanket far more than she used to, and for the past several mornings, seemed frustrated (rather than comforted) being constricted. It seemed worth a try to use the sleep sack instead.

I'm so glad we decided to give it a shot.

Bless her heart, Emerson slept so hard from the moment Bobby put her in the crib, and slept peacefully until 6:45 a.m. I'd say it was a success.

And, in a related accomplishment, Emerson is currently sleeping soundly on the couch, after falling asleep on her own. (She's on a roll!) This is the first time she's fallen asleep during the day without nursing or being held, and is a huge deal to this mama.

Every day is full of surprises! I must say, today's was pretty wonderful.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Emerson: Two Months

September 1, 2012

  • You're wearing size 0-3 month clothes, and are still in disposable size 1 diapers. 
  • You weighed 13 pounds, 2 ounces at your 2 month (+ 3 days) check-up. And, you've already grown 4 inches since you were born! You're in the 90th percentile for height and weight, and are "perfectly healthy". Such a blessing.
  • Your daytime feedings have become a bit more predictable, and you're "snacking" much less frequently. We still nurse closer to every two hours than every three, but you're becoming more efficient with your eating habits. 
  • You have started taking nightly baths, and you absolutely love them. You hardly ever fuss, and if you do, it's usually because Mommy let you get a little chilly before getting you dry. (Or, perhaps because you're annoyed that bath time is over!) We think it's a nice pre-bedtime routine to start with you, and it seems to relax all of us at the end of the day.
  • The weather finally cooled down enough to take you on a few walks! Our first family walk was such fun, and you held a solid gaze straight ahead the entire time. You were so relaxed, and were asleep by the end of the outing. We have lots of walks in our future, I suspect.
  • You started smiling! It's as incredible to see you smile as your grandma said it would be. Daddy and I each have our tricks that seem to get you going. I buzz my lips, and Dad blows raspberries...which you seem determined to figure out how to do! But, oh those precious smiles...each one just melts our hearts. 
  • We watched the Olympics together, and realized that the next time we watch the summer games with you, you'll be four. Whoa. I think the Summer Olympics shall forever remind me of you.
  • You are absolutely happiest being right in the middle of the action, where you can see who and what is around you. Case in point: you demand getting to sit on my lap at the kitchen table while Daddy and I eat dinner. (I don't fault you for it, and really, can totally relate.)
  • You seem to get bored with tummy time pretty quickly, but when it's tolerable to you, you're such a pro! Such a strong, healthy girl.
  • You've been to church several times now, beginning at six weeks. You're usually awake during the music in the service, and holding you in my arms while we worship is one of my new favorite things. You've been falling asleep as we sing, and then you sleep (and sometimes snore) during the sermon. 
  • You usually fall asleep around 9:00 p.m. and sleep on my chest in the living room until 11:00 p.m. or so. Sometimes you want to nurse one last time before bed, and other times you're not interested at all. Putting you in your crib at bedtime has gotten easier and easier, and since around 5 weeks, you are generally able to put yourself to sleep if you're only drowsy when we put on your swaddle and lay you down. And (here's the best part!), you're often only waking up to nurse ONE time during the night, usually between 4:30-5:30 a.m. Those 5 and 6 hours stretches of sleep are so wonderful...for all of us!
  • Your daddy loves playing with you. He's always the one to think to pull out a toy for you when you seem to need some stimulation. You're going to have such fun together in the days ahead!
  • You discovered ceiling fans a few days ago, and will babble at them for several minutes. It's adorable.
  • We've developed several routines as a family now; it's fun that you've been around long enough for us to already have certain ways of regularly doing things! Mornings, dinner, bath time and bedtime...I must say, your daddy and I make a pretty good team as we learn to take care of you!

Watching you discover our world is such a joy, Emerson. 
We've fallen in a deep, deep love with you! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pump Up the Jams

Around 4:00 p.m. each weekday, Emerson is very ready for a nap. And, I am very ready for Bobby to come home from work.

So, in an effort to get her to sleep (and get myself off the couch), we have taken up a new hobby.

I put on the Moby Wrap, slide Emerson inside, turn on the television, and flip through the music channels.

And then, we dance.

Switching between the stations titled "Pop Hits", "90's", "80's", "Party Favorites", and "Throwback Jamz" (yes, with a "z"), we dance all over the living room...and sweet Emerson is usually asleep within minutes.

Forget gentle lullabies at this time of day. Emerson clearly prefers when we "Play that Funky Music". And play it we do, along with such timeless classics as "Ice, Ice, Baby" and "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It". (I know, right?)

This is where you could usually expect to find a picture in my posts.
Not happening this time. 
There are some things that should stay between a mother and daughter in the privacy of the living room.
(And, let's face it, the image you've conjured up in your mind of this whole scenario is probably just about right.)

It's definitely a mutually-beneficial activity. Emerson gets to rest; I get to work on losing those last ten pounds of pregnancy weight.

And, it truly is a workout! I've got a 13 pound baby wrapped in a piece of black fabric, held tightly against my body, while I dance (and I do use that term loosely) all over the place. I give her head extra support with one hand, and do bicep curls with a 5 pound weight with the other. We both end up sweaty. It's fantastic.

This is what memories are made of! And I know this goofy little routine is one of those experiences of my early months of motherhood that I will remember with a smile.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Thoughts I had yesterday morning as I prepared myself for Emerson's first set of immunizations in the afternoon:
  • I'm so thankful that this is the first real medical intervention she's had to face in her two months of life, and that even this is arguably "elective". 
  • There are millions of people of around the world who would give much to be able to give their child preventative medicine such as this. It wasn't long ago that preventing these diseases wasn't an option in our own country, and countless families suffered loss because there were no vaccines. We are so blessed to live in an age where we can protect our babies from so much.
  • We are allowing Emerson to experience pain to protect her from something worse. The Lord often does the same thing, doesn't He? He sees His children through painful times, knowing that the pain and the trials serve a purpose and greater days are ahead. 
  • I'm really not looking forward to this.

We were so proud of how Emerson handled her shots. She lay on the exam table, and Bobby and I leaned over her body and held down her arms. And, right before the injections began, she smiled that precious smile. (Of course she would. You're not making this any easier, little one!) The nurse was so quick and the three shots were over before her "serious" crying could really begin. She got mad, but I nursed her immediately and she calmed quickly (as did I.) She slept on the drive home, and for most of the afternoon. During the evening, her pain was evident, usually when she stretched her sore little legs. (I expected the vaccine procedure to be difficult for ME, watching her experience pain. Little did I know that seeing her continue to hurt for the rest of the day would be even harder.) She wanted lots of cuddle time, and was far more fussy than usual, but never felt particularly feverish. She went to bed easily and slept through the night, with just one extra feeding. Hopefully, the worst is behind her and she can get back to being her content, happy self today. 

Thoughts I have now that the first round of shots is done:
  • We did it! 
  • I'm glad that's over.
  • Thank you, God, for protecting my little girl.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Emerson: One Month

August 1, 2012

  • Most of your newborn-sized clothes don't fit you anymore, and now you're wearing 0-3 month outfits...which is good, because you were gifted so many adorable summer ensembles, we're trying to get you in all of them at least once before you're too big...or, the weather gets cool. (Which doesn't seem likely...this has been an abnormally hot and dry summer, and cooler fall weather seems very far away.) I got a bit sad packing away some of your first outfits, including the one you wore home from the hospital. You've grown so much already, and it's hard to imagine that you were once so small that you fit in them!
  • You weighed 8 lbs. 13 oz. at your 2 week check-up. 
  • You outgrew your teeny-tiny, newborn-sized diapers a few days before you turned a month old. Now you're wearing size 1, which at first seemed huge, but now fit just right. (We're not using the cloth diapers just yet...too many other things to figure out first!)
  • You're feeding "on demand"...and goodness, you do demand! You like to snack during the day, and often just eat a little here and there. You range from wanting to eat every half hour to every three hours during the day, and seem to "stockpile" in the evening, eating far more frequently before bedtime. 
  • You are so strong! You've been consistently holding your neck up since you were just a few days old, and your strength is clearly increasing. We love watching you "exercise" and build those muscles as you lift your head off our chests (which happens to be your favorite place to sleep).
  • You took a bottle from Dad once, and it made me oddly sad. You were drinking my milk, but I felt distant from you watching you eat from someone else. Subsequent bottle attempts have been less successful, but we'll keep trying. We think it makes practical sense for you to know how to eat that way, but between you and me, it's okay if it takes you a while longer to learn.
  • You will not take a pacifier. You're not interested in it at all, and seem to act as though you know it's a trick and a sorry substitute for the real deal.
  • You wake up to nurse an average of twice nightly...sometimes three times, and every so often, just once! You nurse and go to bed (finally, around three weeks old, in your crib!) between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. and then we wait to see what happens during the night. You keep us guessing! 
  • Your eyes are really focusing now, and you like to gaze at whatever is in sight...often, the large window in the living room. You are most content where the action is, and far prefer being a part of things/moving around to being alone in your bassinet.
  • Sometimes it seems that you're tired of being a baby, and are ready to get up and go.
  • For the most part, you seem quite serious, taking in all of your surroundings and thinking about what's going on around you. But, you are content most of the time and seem rather easygoing...a quality that most definitely comes from your daddy. We like to think you're quite secure and that you know you're safe.

We love you more than we can express and have found such joy in getting to know you this month. Every day has been a new adventure and we are full of anticipation for all we'll get to discover about you in the days to come. 
Thank you, precious girl, for making the past month one to remember. 
You are an absolute wonder.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Keeping It Real

These early days with my daughter are precious, and I treasure this time. I'm thankful for the gift of Emerson's health, and for mine. I'm thankful that God gave us a child, when I know that so many others desperately desire a child of their own.

I'm not complaining. 

Being a mom and learning how to parent challenge...a joy...and what I've always wanted. And so, I hesitate to write this, because I certainly don't want to come across as ungrateful. But, in between the lullabies & the pretty pink outfits, the photo-ops & the fun "firsts", there have been some harsh realities to face as I learn to be a mom. I want to document these, too...for posterity's sake, and in order to be truly genuine about this experience.

So, here's to "keeping it real"....

Motherhood is a 24/7 mindset. It's not as though I went into this blindly. I knew this was a 24/7 gig. But, there are some things that are impossible to comprehend until you're living it. Being a mom and being what Emerson needs me to be isn't something I can "turn off". And, I wouldn't want to! But, it's an experience unlike any other. I can't walk away from the situation...even physically leaving the room requires mindfulness about my baby's needs while I'm away. I can't shut down my brain and stop thinking about her. It is a constant, ceaseless responsibility and mindset that began the very second she was born. She's been a part of every one of my thoughts for the last four weeks. There has never been a circumstance in my life that I couldn't mentally or physically distance myself from...until now...when I can do neither! I wouldn't trade this new mindset for anything...but, it's different, it's unlike anything else, and it's overpowering.

Sleep is a precious commodity that should never be taken for granted. I have never been so tired. And, again, though people say that that's part of this whole thing called "new parenthood", it's not something you can entirely prepare yourself for. I was certainly well-rested leading up to Emerson's birth, and I'm confident that being caught up on sleep helped me through the rigors of labor. And, perhaps, in conjunction with the beautiful hormone that is adrenaline, my being well-rested gave me energy in the early days at home with her. But, the adrenaline does wear off, I'm sorry to report, and the weariness that has taken over now could not be held off by any amount of "storing sleep" beforehand. It really is a different kind of tired from any sleepiness I've ever before experienced. Efforts to "catch up" seem futile. It's a vicious lack-of-sleep cycle.

On a similar note, our bed has never felt so wonderful. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder! Emerson rather prefers to sleep in my arms instead of her bassinet or crib. So, I have spent precious little time in our bed...with the clean sheets...and the fluffy down comforter...and the delightfully-soft mattress...over the past few weeks, due to sleeping/attempting to sleep in the La-Z-Boy recliner in the nursery. However, the midday naps I have been able to enjoy have been incredible, and I value sleep now more than I ever have before. (Update! Since I drafted this post a week or so ago, we've thankfully made progress in this area. Emerson seems to have decided that her crib is, in fact, quite comfortable. I'm cautiously optimistic that my nights in the recliner are behind me.)

I left the house a couple of weeks ago, without Emerson. We had put off a Walmart shop as long as possible. (When the toilet paper supply dwindles, there's really no more procrastinating to be done.) And, besides the lack of food and toiletries, it was just...time...for me to get out of the house for a little while. My mom stayed with Emerson, and I got in the car. I was barely out of the neighborhood before the tears surprisingly came. I cried for a minute or part, because I felt a distance from my baby that I haven't felt in over nine part, because it felt overwhelmingly refreshing to be by myself, out in the world, thinking about a grocery list instead of whether her diaper needed to be changed...and, in part, because I felt a tinge of guilt for enjoying some time away. But, the tears were short-lived, the outing was time well-spent, and greeting Emerson when I got home was a joy.

I have never been so aware of my body's capabilities, and frustrated by its limitations. I had a natural and pain medication-free labor and delivery. I knew my body was not only capable, but was created for such a task. I'm proud of myself for trusting God's design and accomplishing what I did with His care, and I would (and plan to) do it again. I'm thankful for a body that is capable of doing amazing things. On the other hand, I am discouraged by my need to let my body rest. I want to have the energy to keep up with Emerson, to respond to her needs with positivity and a cheerful spirit...and be the one to take care of her all the time. But, I'm tired and my body is constantly begging for more sleep. It's hard to be human at times like this.

Being able to find a bit of time to document this journey via blog is evidence that we're all navigating this new "normal", and adjusting to each other. Although pondering and writing these reflections on the "hard parts" of new motherhood has been helpful, there are so many happy moments to document, too. I'm excited to share!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Introducing Emerson Blair

At 7:03 p.m. on Sunday, July 1st, 2012 Bobby and I welcomed our daughter, Emerson Blair, into the world. A 7 pound, 9 ounce bundle of pure joy...our perfect miracle.

There are no words to express the sheer awe and absolute wonder we felt the moment we met her. We were overwhelmed with an immediate and abundant love for Emerson, and profoundly grateful to God for the healthy and natural labor and delivery we experienced, and the gift of our beautiful little girl.

What a blessing it has been to get acquainted these past three weeks and share Emerson with those we love. She is part of the family, and it is, in so many ways, as though we've known her forever.

Welcome, Emerson Blair. You cannot know how deeply loved and treasured you are.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Royal Anniversary

One year ago today, Royal came home to live with Bobby and me.

When we rescued him from the Humane Society, we had no idea the joy he would bring. We have had such a fun year getting to know him. He's got spunk, our puppy, and he seems to love life.

And, his backyard...and opossums...and chasing shadows (or, flashlight beams)...and waking Bobby up in the morning when he races inside to jump on the bed.

The living room is his playground, and he runs circles around the sectional, begging to be chased while he holds his rope toy or tennis ball. He'll take a running leap and dive into "his" couch in the other room. (It was a compromise. "Stay off the new furniture and you can lay on the old couch." It's a nice understanding we have, and it seems to be working.)

He's learned what it means when he hears "you wanna go on a walk?" or "you wanna go for a ride?", and he loves sticking his head out the cracked window on a drive. (Although, really, a crack is all he gets since he tried to escape months ago. We can't risk that again.)

Royal knows the sound of Bobby's truck, and begins to look out the window in anticipation of his coming home from work every evening. It's precious to watch him go to the door, waiting anxiously with his tail wagging vigorously until his Master walks in the door. He knows that "Dad's home!" means happy times. (I can relate.)

He's grown-up considerably in recent months. (We haven't had incidences like those documented here, here, here, and here in a while. Or, perhaps we've just grown accustomed to his antics. It's possible.) He's worked through some of his jumping-on-people tendencies, and is learning the difference between "friend" (i.e. my parents) and "foe" (i.e. the UPS man, or other presumably harmless strangers). He seems to be maturing into the role of "family protector" and we love that, because... a couple of days? weeks? who really knows?, Royal is going to become a big brother. We think he's ready, and I'm so looking forward to seeing how he reacts to a baby in the house. He'll always be our furry, four-legged firstborn, and I'm so thankful for the all of the "parenting" lessons he's taught us in this pre-human baby year we've spent together.

 He's a good boy. He's part of the family. He's home.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Invitation by cocodot.
I can understand why hosting a large gathering two weeks before a new baby joins the family may sound unappealing to most. But, as much as Bobby and I enjoy entertaining, we decided to do exactly that! And, in our opinion, it turned out to be a great idea. Everyone seemed to have a good time!

I should mention that there was an added, largely-unforeseen bonus to the gathering. I was able to capitalize on the nesting instinct to get the house in great shape for the party, and everyone knows that cleaning house is more "fun" when company's coming. 

Fun social event plus really-clean-house two weeks before my due, win! 

And, if we can maintain the house in its current condition (as is the goal!), then we'll get to bring baby home to an organized, clutter-free space...which will make for one very happy new mama.

It was such fun for us to spend time with some of the people who have helped make the past nine months such a special time, and who will undoubtedly make the first days of our little girl's life that much sweeter by being a part of them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

37 Weeks

As of yesterday, my pregnancy is officially considered "full-term", which means that baby could conceivably come into the world safely anytime.

There were days when this point seemed so very far away. But, like time has a habit of doing, it does go by, and here we are!

I'm not miserably uncomfortable, by any means. I'm not hoping she makes her debut anytime soon. In fact, honestly, I know I'm going to miss being pregnant, and I'm not in any rush for it to be over.

But, I am growing increasingly anxious to finally meet this little one, to call her by name, and to introduce her to all of my favorite people.

I'm ready.

Her nursery is complete. Her clothes are washed. My bags are packed.

And now, we wait.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


One of my favorite habits throughout this pregnancy has been checking on baby's weekly growth. Thanks to Pampers' "Hello, Baby" iPhone application, I've been able to get a glimpse of what she might look like each week as she develops.

The changes blow me away. What began on a cellular level is now a nearly fully-developed human, ready for life outside the womb. Wow, wow, wow.

It is a fascinating progression, and nothing short of miraculous. Truly, it's mind-boggling to think about all of the intricacies of the development process that God designed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Showering "little firecracker"

A couple of weekends ago, my sister and my best friend co-hosted a beautiful baby shower for "little firecracker"! The day was absolutely lovely, and I was completely blown-away by the amount of thoughtful details they included. 
(Rachel would tell you that event-planning is not her forte; I'd beg to differ.)

From Rachel's handmade invitations, to Morgan's hand-painted artwork...
from the paper "firework" decor, to serving my favorite cake...
from the entertaining and meaningful activities, to the wonderful variety of gifts for baby and Bobby and me...
I felt entirely loved.

It was a labor of love for my sister to put together such a special day for me, and it meant so much that she and Morgan teamed-up to make it happen. I appreciate each of them more than they know.

I am incredibly thankful to be surrounded by so many loving women, and to celebrate with so many of them at the shower was a gift in itself. 

My daughter is going to be one blessed girl...her mother certainly is!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Things I Love About My Marriage

Recently I've been considering specific attributes of my marriage that I think really help to make it "work". There are certainly more reasons than these why we "click" the way we do, but these few specific thoughts come to mind time and time again. These qualities are some I've recognized before, and they are qualities that I hope I can always say are true of us.

1. We don't take life too seriously. This is far more a result of Bobby's outlook on life than mine, but I have come a long way, and I'm quite proud of my changed outlook over the past...well, how long have I known Bobby?...8 years. We keep things in perspective, and get a chance to practice doing so frequently. It's a healthier way to live, in general, and benefits our marriage, too.

2. We don't stay mad for very long, and we don't hold grudges. When we're frustrated, we let each other know it. Then, we discuss it. Or, we don't. (Which, I know, isn't necessarily the healthiest thing to do in the long-run, but sometimes, it's the best choice.) Regardless, we vent, we talk, we move on. I cannot remember a single occasion in our (albeit, relatively short) married history where a difference of opinion led to an extended argument, or long-term hurt feelings. We get mad, and get over it. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing.

3. We're a team, and we don't keep score. When the dog or the car or the yard (or one of us) needs attention, we take care of it (and each other). Sometimes I pick up the slack, and sometimes Bobby does. We take turns with chores, and we try not to keep a record of who did what, when. Eventually, it all evens out. It's a partnership, and we both know that we each have the best interests of the other in mind.

I know our relationship and interactions will change once "baby makes three". Knowing exactly how much, though, or in what ways, is impossible to predict. My prayer is that these elements of our relationship, among others, will remain our foundation as we prepare to navigate this new, wonderful, difficult, and emotional journey called "parenthood".