The Moment of Forgiveness

Forgiveness.  It seems like such an easy principle to understand.  Someone hurts you, they apologize and you forgive them.  I teach this principle to my kids every day, yet for adults when the stakes, the hurt and actions get larger and more life altering it becomes so much harder for us to really truly forgive others.  One of the stickiest parts of forgiveness can come when someone has wronged you, yet they believe they have done nothing wrong.  How do we work to forgive someone who believes they have done nothing that requires forgiveness?  How do we unpack and work through the feelings of hurt, anger, resentment and sometimes even hatred that grow and fester in the wounds we suffer in life?

Forgiveness1The last 2.5 years have brought a lot of life changing events into my life, some of them I have worked to seek forgiveness from others.  Some I have forgiven, while others still require that I work on that forgiveness on a daily basis.  There is one event in particular that I thought I had moved past, I thought that I had “gotten over”, until recently when a job posting for my old job brought forward all these feelings of anger, resentment, hurt and negativity.  These feelings knocked me down like a brick wall, they were so strong and so unexpected.  I let myself feel them and as I was trying to mentally unpack why I was feeling this way, I realized that these feelings were still holding me back because I had tried to move past the event, and move past the people who hurt me without truly forgiving them.

The background of this anger and hurt I was holding on to is the result of being forced to resign from my job a little over 2 years ago.  I feel the details of this event are irrelevant at this point other than I felt personally betrayed by two individuals that I trusted.  One person in particular I considered a close friend.  She held my newborn babies, celebrated their first steps, attended their birthday parties.  I trusted her to be part of my daughters lives, not knowing that all that time she was working to find a way to take my job. The feelings of betrayal ran deep for me.

I chose to move on.

I chose to move on.

I have not spoken to her since the last day of my employment there.  I have seen her in the aisles of my local Target but always avoided the forced interaction because really I had nothing nice to say so I chose to say nothing at all.  As more time passed from the actual event I came to think about it and her less and less.  It would creep into my mind every once in a while when a news story would break about my former employer, but I would just scoop those feelings back up and put them back in their appropriate box.  I never realized until this last explosion of emotions that every time those feelings would find their way out I wouldn’t deal with them, I would just scoop them back up and pack them away in the corner of my brain until the next overflow.

This last time the feelings started out the same but slowly morphed into something different.  I was angry that this event and this woman were still able to impact my feelings, my mood and my life. I realized that I skipped a crucial step in moving past it, I never completed the forgiveness step.

Trying to move on without forgiveness is like packing your suitcase but forgetting to zip it, every time you try to pick it up to really move on, the feelings just come tumbling back out creating a mess on the floor all over again.

With this new found wisdom I made the conscious choice to forgive her and really Let It Go. (thanks to Queen Elsa and Frozen for the perfect anthem).

There are a few layers to this forgiveness but once I really examined them all, I realized that the Lord put this bend in my road for a reason.  I am exactly where He wants me to be and where my daughters need me to be.  Leaving that job and the trajectory my career in that field was on has allowed me to slow down, enjoy and be 100% present for the most important things in life: my daughters, my family and myself. The job I have now has been one of the most unexpected blessings in the last two years.  I went from being in a job where it was job first family second, to a place where I am supported in putting my daughters first and working for a family that truly loves and cares about my daughters.  They welcome their “tiny colleagues” happily to the office on days school is closed or they have a doctors appointment.  I don’t have a requirement to answer emails in the middle of the night, dinner is not interrupted by phone calls that I would be reprimanded for not answering, school programs are not missed for committee meetings, snow days are full of building snowmen and baking, not constant emails and phone calls and telling the girls “give mommy 5 more minutes to finish work”.  My beautiful little girls will not be little forever, and I am blessed to now be able to be just “mommy” when I am at home. If I were still working in that old job I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to create these bonds and memories. It is astounding the clarity you get when you really sit down and unpack your feelings and process them one by one.  It is so freeing.  I feel like I can relate to how Elsa feels in Frozen when she is walking up the mountain and finally lets go of her glove, and with it all of the expectations, burdens and shame and embraces who she is and all that she can become.

I have chosen to forgive this woman for what I used to feel was her stealing my career, ruining my reputation among my colleagues, and kicking me while I was already down on the ground.  I have found talents I didn’t know I had, and would have never found if the path of my life hadn’t changed.  I forgive her for putting her need for power before her compassion for others, it has helped me change my behavior to always put compassion at the forefront of my choices.  The most difficult part of this journey of forgiveness has been forgiving the feelings of betrayal from what I truly believed was a friend, for the use of my daughters to get closer to me and to get me to let me guard down.  This is a huge leap of faith and forgiveness because it involves feelings and emotions involving my children, and as their mom my mother lion instincts will always prevail.  It has taught me to protect them more fiercely than ever and will give me good insight as they enter the cruel world of school and adolescence.  It gives me good perspective as I teach them what characteristics make a good friend. It will help me comfort them when they get their feelings hurt, hearts broken and they themselves learn the compassion of true forgiveness.

Forgiveness3It has been so freeing to let these emotions go, to really let them float away in the wind rather than packing them back into their box.  I am lighter and the world is more colorful today because I am no longer holding onto the anger, sadness and hatred that has been living inside that little box in my brain for the past two years.

This begs the question….what are you still holding on to?  What or who do you need to forgive?

Christmas Card!

I have spent a lot of time over the last month learning how to use Photoshop CC.  I have always been a Lightroom person for photo editing, so Photoshop has been a learning experience to say the least.  I am loving all the fun graphic “design” that I am learning to do with with Photoshop.  I am working on some printable etc that I will post on a new page I am working on creating.  This is my first pass at a Christmas Card.  Happy December from my little family to yours!

Christmas Card

Nora’s Favorite Song

Nora age 3 with her preemie sleeper

Nora age 3 with her preemie sleeper

Nora turned 3 last week, and the end of my pregnancy with her was challenging as were the first months of her life.  She has been a fiery spirit from the very start.  She had awful ear problems from very early on (I swear she was born with a double ear infection) she had reflux, and because of all of that she cried….a lot.  This was a big change for me as Evie was a pretty happy baby as long as she was fed.  Nora bless her tiny heart was in pain and there wasn’t much I could do for her except nurse her and rock her and sing to her.

I am NOT a singer, I was not blessed with that musical talent to say the least and I’m not a huge fan of “baby songs” or lullabies so I usually just played soft music of all different kinds.  The Band Perry’s first hit song “If I Die Young” came out during the end of my pregnancy and even with the sad undertone of the lyrics the melody really soothed me at the end of my pregnancy.  The craziest part was in the last weeks of my pregnancy Nora was really active and I had really low amniotic fluid so when she would have periods of lots of movement it would be painful for me due to the lack of cushion.  If I would turn “If I Die Young” on my iPod in the car and crank up the volume it would sooth her and she would stop.

In the first few months after she was born, this is the song I would sing to her in the middle of the night to sooth her, and if she was upset and crying in the car this song would make her calm.  It has to be something about the melody of the song that just sits well in her soul.  Even three years later, it is still her “favorite” song and she asks for it every single time we are in the car.  She won’t sing if she knows you are taking her video or picture, so I had to be super stealth and catch her while she was singing to Princess Aurora.

Sweet Sleeping Nora

Sweet Sleeping Nora

Music can speak to souls in ways that words can’t.  Melodies can make us feel things that give us peace.  I know now that every time I hear this song I will always think of my Sweet Eleanor and the many nights we spent together with the melody of this song.  I know my nights of her falling asleep in my arms are fewer and fewer (I barely get any now) but when I do get that gift, like last night.  All seems right with the world.

Happy Halloween!

In honor of the rainy and windy Halloween we have here in Indiana, I thought I’d share my favorite Halloween video from and Indiana native (before he got creepy).  Enjoy and have a safe and happy Halloween!

And for those of you who aren’t Thriller fans….here’s a more “friendly” halloween greeting.

 

TRICK OR TREAT!

Support the Person instead of just the Pink.

October has always been one of my favorite months of the year.  First and foremost because it’s my birthday month (yesterday in fact), it’s also my mom’s birthday month (13th), one of my best friends (16th), my nephew (23th) and my daughters (30th).  Plus the end of the month is Halloween which is the biggest dress up day of the year!

Chicago 2008

Chicago 2008

My Nana (my dad’s mother) had and beat breast cancer twice when I was younger.  I don’t really have a lot of memories of these times as my parents were really good at shielding us from these things as children and young adults.  I do remember feeling “proud” to support breast cancer awareness and started to take part in the annual Race for the Cure in college and even completed two Avon Walks for Breast cancer, one in Washington D.C. in 2003 and in Chicago in 2008.  I was full blown into the “pinkwashing” of October and would sport my pink ribbon gear with pride.

In 2009 that all changed…….

SarahKellyFirst a little background, my sister and I weren’t always the best of friends growing up.  We are 6.5 years apart, and there are many many stories I could tell about our childhoods.  Some that I personally remember like borrowing her brand new, tags still attached Gap fleece when she was home from Purdue for Christmas break and getting into a car accident where the EMT’s had to cut it off of me.  We laugh to this day that the first thing I said to her when she got to the hospital through tears was “I’m sorry I ruined your shirt and I didn’t ask!”  There are other stories I know only from being told at family get togethers of her locking me in the screen porch as a toddler to see if I would cry because I wasn’t a baby who cried often.  All of these stories and memories have lead us down the path to having the close relationship we have now.  My sister is my rock, my confidant, my protector (whether I like it or not), and my biggest cheerleader.

KellyEvie

Evie with Aunt Kelly

Evie was born in July of 2009, and when Aunt Kelly came to visit  she was about a month old and it solidified an even deeper bond between us as sisters because now we were also both mothers.  She helped me through those long, tired, lonely nights of new motherhood.  Kept me sane and focused when I wanted to quit breastfeeding because it hurt so bad, and calmly encouraged me to keep going in a way only a sister could.  She taught me how to master the swaddle, focus on one feeding at a time, the magic leg exercises to make them fart, and most importantly that I didn’t need to be perfect to be a good mom.  I just needed to be me and that was all she needed. We talked about how maybe someday we could be pregnant at the same time, and have kids the same age.

Then it was October of 2009, and like I said before…everything changed.  She went into see her midwife for a check up as she and her husband were wanting to try for another child.  She had suffered 2 miscarriages after her second son, so she wanted to get an all clear before they started to try again.  She mentioned this spot on her left breast near her armpit to her midwife and she thought maybe it was a leftover clogged duct from breastfeeding or something simple like that.  Her midwife seemed a little more concerned and sent her for a mammogram and ultrasound….which then lead to a biopsy….which lead to that awful statement on November 10, 2009: You have breast cancer.  She was 33, she had plans for her life, for her family, for her future and now it was all different.  I will never forget that moment, when my mom called, I was holding Evie getting ready to put her to bed, she was 3.5 months old.  I remember hearing the words “Its cancer” and then everything else was just noise.

kellybaldShe had her surgery 9 days later, started chemo in January of 2010 followed by radiation.  She also discovered the type of cancer she had was estrogen receptor positive which put a giant black mark against the thoughts of another child in her future.  With all this information flying around the noise between her and I got louder when I discovered I was pregnant at the end of February of 2010 just before her third chemo treatment.  The months following were the most trying in our relationship as sisters and as friends, but in the larger picture actually served to make our bond stronger.  She lost her hair, and has an incredibly perfect round head buried under her gorgeously thick hair.  Her hair grew back the same color that it was before it was gone and now she rocks the cutest pixie cut ever!

The point of the post (800 words later) is that while as good intentioned as it may have been when it started.  Octobers explosion of pink has turned from a focus on the awful disease to more of a commercialized marketing scheme and even a fashion trend.  NFL players wear pink shoes, gloves and towels.  The grocery stores become overwhelmed with packaging turned “Pink for the Cure”. The pizza boxes from my favorite local pizza joint change to pink in October.  It has become increasingly difficult to not be assaulted by the pink in every direction you turn.

I am not in anyway saying that awareness and early detection education is not extremely important and vital to diagnosis and treatment of this awful disease, but I am saying that overtime I think the “Pink” lost some of it’s most important souls….the quiet, weary, tired and forgotten souls who’s lives have been forever changed by this disease.

Last chemo treatment

Last chemo treatment

The culture today is so focused on “The Cure” “Save Lids to Save Lives” and lets not forget two phrases that make me the most stabby “Save the Tatas” and “Save Second Base”.  I can be quite confident in the statement that a large number of women (and men too) who have fought breast cancer find these taglines offensive.  They make the focus on the body part and not the person.  My sisters breasts have no direct effect on her ability to get pregnant and have more children, but the type of cancer that invaded that specific part of her body does.  There is little to no acknowledgement in the mainstream marketing of breast cancer awareness month that talks about the hard reality of what the “Cure” really means. There is no discussion about what the treatment of this disease does to the bodies of those so gracefully fighting it, nor what the disease and treatment steals from these women.  No one wants to talk about the plans that are changed, the dreams that are lost, the lives that are forever different, and that there are those precious souls who still lose the battle no matter how fiercely they fought.

I ask you that this October you take a moment to be mindful of the far reaching, and long lasting effects of breast cancer.  Think about women like my sister who try go about their everyday lives in the month of October yet are constantly faced with the reminder everywhere they look about the day their lives changed and some of their dreams were stolen.  Think about the men who have lost their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters, their grief may still be very raw but even in the simple pleasure of watching football they can’t escape the reminder of what they lost.

Summer 2013

Summer 2013

I support awareness of this disease and the discussions on early detection, but I want to see a shift in the marketing machine that is Pink October.  Breast cancer isn’t pretty, and slapping the color pink on it can’t hide the raw reality of how this disease impacts lives.  In the days of reality TV and graphic gruesome pictures on the news I would like to see someone interject some reality into Pink October, to show more than a pack of smiling women in pink because that is not reality, it’s more like “putting lipstick on a pig” (thanks for the quote dad).

I will end by saying I am one of the lucky ones affected by this disease because my sister is a survivor.  She battled her cancer with such gracious determination that it gave me the ability to have many more years with her.  Her successful battle allowed us to make new dreams and plans together, but not before it stretched our bond to it’s limits.  I am going to take a new spin on Pink October this year and I am going to support the people affected by this disease and not just the pink.

Life lessons learned at the rainbow slide

This time of year always reminds me of verse in the Indigo Girls song Mystery

“I could go crazy on a night like tonight
Summer’s beginning to give up her fight
And every thought’s a possibility
And the voices are heard but nothing is seen
Why do you spend this time with me
Maybe an equal mystery?”

The days are hot and humid, but as the sun goes down there is a weakening in summers grasp.  My favorite time of year is the time where summer and fall battle each other for dominance and summer owns the days but fall begins to take over the evenings.  Yesterday was a hot one during the day, and the girls wanted so badly to go to the park because they didn’t get to play outside at school due to the heat.  I was happy to honor this request and was pleasantly surprised when I was greeted with a cooler breeze instead of sticky humidity.

The dynamic of any park in the evenings is like a social experiment.   There are times when we are the only ones at our park of choice for the evening and other times its like a school yard during recess.  I find it interesting to watch my daughters interact with other kids who until that very moment are complete strangers to them.  I love watching them navigate their expanding social development and try so very hard to hold back interfering with their interactions.  Evie is just blossoming into the phase of “making friends” at the park and making up games as she goes.  There are times when this leaves little sister out and while she used to be indifferent, now she is fully aware that her sister is choosing to play with someone else.  Her little tears rip straight to my heart.  I can usually console her by offering some one on one pushes on the swings or a game of chase up and down the slide, but I know that these distractions will only work temporarily.

We did have one thought provoking occurrence at the park last night that made me stop and think and I wanted to share my thoughts.  Evie’s new park friend for the night, a little girl around her age, disappeared during their game for brief moment and then returned and they resumed racing up the ladder and down the tallest slide at the park.  I noticed once the little girl returned that she kept messing with the waist band of her shorts.  They were denim shorts so I thought maybe they kept getting twisted on the plastic of the slide, but after a couple more times down the slide I realized her pants weren’t buttoned and she kept re-zipping the shorts.  She noticed me noticing her struggles at this time and said “I can’t button my shorts, I went potty and I don’t know how to get them buttoned again.”  I looked around for her adult companion but couldn’t see one.  I asked her if her mom was here, and she said “my dad’s in the car”.  You can see almost the entire playground from the front section of the parking lot, but I still found it odd that she was out playing “alone”.  The second thing that gave me pause is that I had to hesitate to help this little girl.  Something so simple as snapping the button of shorts, an act which would have taken 5 seconds.  I didn’t know this little girl nor did I know her dad who was in the car.  What would he/could he think if he sees a strange woman touching his daughters shorts?  What would have happened had this little girl asked someone who may have been at the park for not so innocent reasons? I’m pretty confident that when I was a child that no mother would have thought twice about helping me button the snap on my jean shorts at the park should I have needed the assistance, nor would my mother have thought twice about the possibility that someone would be hanging out at the park for sinister reasons. I took pause in the moment that I told the little girl she should go ask her dad for help.  I thought about my daughters growing up in a world where I have to teach them there is evil in the world at a young age.  Where the trusting nature of children has to be pulled back and instead replaced with constant skepticism.  The days of playing anywhere around the neighborhood and coming home when the street lights came on are over.  The days when parents didn’t need to know the exact GPS coordinates of their children at every given moment they are out of sight are past.  It makes me sad to know that we live in a time where the fear of accusation or misunderstanding prohibits us from helping children.  I will go so far to say that if the situation were reversed and Evie needed help with the snap on her shorts and I wasn’t there in that moment and another unknown adult had helped her, I would tell her not to ask strangers for help like that again and to always come find me or another adult she knows.  The lack of trust in others and situations like this make me sad for the soul of our society, and I wish I knew what to do to change it.

I don’t want to end my post on a Debbie Downer note so I will end with some photos. I took this park outing as an opportunity to bring my camera along since just before sunset is my favorite time to shoot pictures of the girls.  Sadly the cloud cover came and ruined my hopes for beautiful natural light.  I did end up with a few that I wanted to share.

I'm going to be so sad when the freckles fade with summer

I’m going to be so sad when the freckles fade with summer

Love Nora's little muscles

Love Nora’s little muscles

EvieCoolCreek

If you could only hear the giggles.

If you could only hear the giggles.

And in a turn of events that almost NEVER happens, I actually got some pictures of the girls WITH ME!  Imagine that!

Nora told me I needed to wear her glitter bow headband, and she had to put it on for me.

Nora told me I needed to wear her glitter bow headband and she had to put it on for me, of course I let her.

I swear she looks older in every picture I take.

I swear she looks older in every picture I take.

And the rarest picture of all….the three of us!  Even though Nora wouldn’t look directly at the camera.

Love these little stinkers

Love these little stinkers

 

I hope you all enjoy these sacred days and nights of the blended perfection of summer and fall.

 

 

 

 

Things I wish I knew about motherhood…..

Two of my very dear friends are pregnant with their first babies.  I’m not sure who is more excited, them or me.  I was the first in my close group of girlfriends to have a baby and then babies.  I like many new moms felt completely clueless and totally overwhelmed and alone when my girls were tiny newborns and lets be honest, I still feel that way sometimes.  My mom, sister and sister in law were great resources for me and gave me incredible advice, but I still felt alone.  I remember thinking on more than one occasion, whether it was the middle of the night and my baby just wouldn’t sleep unless she was being held, or she had just exploded poop out her diaper in the middle of target and it was leaking out of the strap holes of her car seat on to the floor of target…….WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS PART?!?!!?!?!?!  I wish someone would have clued me in on the embarrassing not so glamorous parts of motherhood.  It wouldn’t have changed my mind about wanting to become a mom but it might have made some of those moments not so lonely or defeating.  The following is my list of things I wish someone would have clued me in on so I could have laughed at myself more and stressed less. Some have a more serious tone while some aremore humorous.

*Pregnancy has a very short “cute and comfortable” stage, and very quickly turns into bloated, swollen and unappealing.  This condition grows at an exponential rate in the last 10 weeks.

*People (including strangers) will think it’s okay to touch your stomach, and comment on your size.  Neither of these things are appropriate and you should feel free to let your hormones get the best of them.

Evie Birth*Labor hurts, birth hurts, and the “ring of fire” is a true fact.  It’s okay to get an epidural, it’s not going to make your baby born stoned.  It’s also okay to want to forgo the pain medication and give birth without medication.  Don’t let someone tell you your plan “isn’t natural”  the act of birth itself is natural, whether it’s with or without medication or whether you push your baby out yourself or have a c-section.  It’s your body and your baby and the only opinions that are required are yours and your doctors.

*If you have a vaginal delivery – Ice pack pads, epifoam, and witch hazel pads are your best friend.  Stockpile these three things from the hospital.  Continually ask for more, and hoard them in your bag to take home.  You and your vagina will thank me for it.

*If you have a c-section – Don’t try to be a hero, take the pain medication offered by the hospital and stay on top of it.  I never had a c-section birth but have had 2 surgeries on my ovaries with the same incision as a c-section and trust me when I say, I bow down to c-section mamas.  I don’t know how you do it after that kind of surgery, you women are incredible.

Nora Birth*Breastfeeding is hard, it hurts in more ways than one, its emotional, its frustrating and you are going to want to give up.  It’s hard because you think “oh women have been doing this for centuries, it’s natural, I just put the baby on my breast and off we go…..” and then reality hits that there is a science to it.  There is correct placement of the babies mouth on your nipple that can make or break your nipple skin, literally.  It pinches, its not comfortable even if you have the proper latch, and then once you get all that worked out, all the sudden your stomach starts cramping and it feels like early labor all over again.  Yes nursing makes your uterus contract, it’s one of the human body’s amazing tricks, nursing makes your uterus contract quicker….but what no one tells you is…it hurts.  It doesn’t last forever, maybe a couple days to a week.  Its emotional because you yourself are an out of control hormonal roller coaster, and the littlest things can make you feel like you are going to fail as a mother.  The best advice I got on breastfeeding came from my sister:  Don’t think about your end goal of breastfeeding for a month, 6 months, a year etc.  If you do that the task seems so overwhelming, and never ending and in those early days when your nipples are raw and you are exhausted the simple thought of having to do this for that long may push you over the edge.  Think about the feeding at hand, get through that one, and when that one is over its one more under your belt.  Then focus on the next, take it one feeding at a time.  The pain stops, the nipples toughen, the routine gets to be second nature, but it takes time and not just a week but a few weeks.

*Don’t let anyone shame you for your feeding choices.  If you choose to breastfeed, great.  If you choose formula, great.  Both of my daughters were both breast and bottle fed and both are smart, happy, healthy girls.  I was able to nurse while on maternity leave but once I went back to a high stress job my supply tanked.  I started using formula because the stress of trying to keep up with their demand was taking its toll on my mental state, which in turn took a toll on my daughters.  Do what works for you and your family when it comes to feeding choices for your baby, neither choice is right or wrong. Trust me easier said than done and I still have twinges of mom guilt sometimes when I see a mom nursing her baby and I wish my nursing relationship with my daughters would have lasted longer. If I had continued my mental state would have suffered.

3inColorado*Your body has changed, it’s expanded in incredible ways.  Even if you are one of the lucky ones that gets back to your pre-pregnancy weight quickly, there is a large possibility that your clothes won’t fit the same way they did before you were pregnant.  These next statements are going to be really hard and freeing at the same time to share.  I am 5 feet 5 inches tall, I weighed 148lbs when I got pregnant with Evie, The days she was born I weighed in at 183lbs.  I got back down to 150lbs when I found out I was pregnant with Nora (Evie was 6 months old), I don’t know how much I weighed when Nora was born because I was so down on myself I refused to look at the scale anymore at the doctors office.  I struggled to shed the “baby weight” the second time around and I tore myself down on a daily basis about it.  I refused to give myself any grace that I had had two babies and that I shouldn’t let my worth and beauty be measured by my weight or size.  I had two beautiful daughters and they are worth every extra pound I carried for those first couple years.  It took me over 2 years to finally get back to a healthy weight for my height and it really has happened in the last 9 months.  The moral of this section is to understand that it takes time for your body to heal, and reshape.  Give yourself some grace and some self love.

* Poop will happen at the most inconvenient times.  Exploding out the diaper of your newborn into the carseat and then dripping out on the floor of the Target check out lane while your 15 month old is having a massive meltdown over glitter hair clips.

*You will go to an important meeting with a giant spot of spit up or snot on your clothes and you won’t realize it until after the meeting is over.

*You get an hour to yourself and you go to try on nursing bras to try to find one that makes you feel more like a woman and less like a cow and the woman in the next fitting room baby starts to cry and you realize you have leaked all over a bra that is awful and it isn’t yours and doesn’t fit.  Take a deep breath, this happens more than you know.  Just inform the sales associate and they will take care of it and not make you pay for it.

*Your days of personal space are over, from the minute you find out you are pregnant your body has now become your baby’s (child’s) and that never really stops.

noranewborn*You will think you won’t make it through the night, your heart will sink when you hear them restless in their bed 10 minutes after you laid them down and you will pray to any higher being to just let them go to sleep, you will cry out of exhaustion, you will think tomorrow will never come and that you will die from lack of sleep.  Then in that fleeting moment of desperation your baby will smile at you, or grab on to your shirt as you rock them, will snuggle in and fall asleep in the nook of your neck and you will feel such love and that is what helps you make it one more day.

*When they sleep through the night the first time, you will most likely wake up in complete panic, possibly soaked in breastmilk and fly into their room like a bat out of hell, then once the panic passes you will silently dance with joy back to your bed.

*When they get older you will find yourself sneaking in their room to tuck them in, and linger just a little to watch the sweet innocence of them sleeping.

Motherhood is messy, emotional, sometimes painful, frustrating and the most incredible job I have ever had.  The hard times are muted by the joy.  Every mom has hard times, every mom has struggles, we are all human and perfect in our imperfection.  Next time you see a mom with a dried booger on her shirt, or spit up in her hair….hand her a wipe and give her an understanding smile instead of a judgmental look.  We all need a little support and a lot of love.

Christmas time is coming…which means a visit to Santa

Last year when I took Evie and Nora to get their picture taken with Santa lets just say the picture we got is timeless.  A lot of kids are scared of Santa and cry when placed on his lap.  Last years picture goes down as one of the Classic Scared of Santa pictures of all time in my book.  I am very excited to see what happens this year.  I sent this picture via Facebook and Twitter to Ellen DeGeneres to see if she thought it was as funny as we did.  May she will have Evie and Nora on her show this Holiday season to get their picture taken with Santa.  How fun would that be!

 

Enjoy!

Evie, Nora and Santa 2011

Happy Birthday Sweet Eleanor Reagan.

Today is my baby girls 2nd birthday.  She came into my life in all respects in a unexpected flash, from the positive pregnancy test in the bathroom at work, to the amazing comfort I felt the first time I heard her heartbeat at the doctor, to those first fluttering movements low in my stomach, the first images of her on the ultrasound screen, the comfort of feeling her grow and move and not knowing she was a she.  The memory of her birth is one of the proudest moments I have as a woman.  I was induced with Evie and had an epidural and an easy slow, controlled birth.  It was perfect as it was exactly what I had planned.  Nora has proven from day one that she makes her own plans and goes her own way on her own time. I was scheduled to be induced on November 4, 2010 due to low amniotic fluid.   On Saturday October 30, 2010 Eleanor Reagan was born after 4 hours of unintentional unmedicated labor.

I never intended to have an unmedicated birth, I did not prepare for one or learn about breathing methods etc.  When my contractions started I honestly didn’t think much of them as they weren’t horrifically painful like I thought they would be so I just pushed through my day.  When at about 12:30 they were getting pretty strong and regular I headed to the hospital.  I remember that being one of the most uncomfortable car rides ever.  We got to the hospital and they began to check to see how dilated I was, and I remember very vividly stating that if I wasn’t at at least 4cm so I could be admitted I might hurt someone.  Little did I know that I had been in full transition during the car ride and I was dilated to almost 10cm.  I discovered that there is a benefit to a baby being positioned posterior, which is that it can prevent a unintential home birth in those women (now me included) who wait too long to get to the hospital.  It took one push to flip Nora into the birthing position and 2 more pushes to get her out into this world.  She came into this world in  flash of drama and panic and showed me the incredible things my body could do.  The minute I saw her tiny little body, all the chaos went silent…all the pain was gone, the whole world went fuzzy except for the tiny little girl who was mine.

First Snuggle

She was alert, and awake and here, finally here.  As a mom you spend roughly 36 weeks (since the first 4 don’t “count”) waiting to meet this life you are growing.  You spend the time waiting in doctors offices or late at night when their acrobatics keep you awake  wondering who they are going to be, what they are going to look like.  I can’t explain the feeling you get at that moment when you first see your child, hold them, smell them and say welcome to the world.

Today begins the day of the terrific and terrible twos, she walks, talks, sings, plays, feeds herself and loves everything covered in syrup. She’s has outgrown the baby section of baby Gap.  There is something so bittersweet at saying goodbye to the baby stage of your child’s life, but being excited about all the new adventures that are awaiting them.  Nora is losing her baby smell, and really only has it right after bath time when I have lathered her in Johnson and Johnson’s baby soap.  Every so often I get a glimpse of her babyness, and those moments are getting fewer and fewer.  Evie and I get to sing Happy Birthday sweet Baby Nora…..You and your sister are my lifeblood and the happiness in my soul.  Here is a look back at your last 2 beautiful years.

Happy Birthday my sweet girl.  I can’t wait to see and experience all life has to offer you.  There are so many more adventures for us to have and mountains for us to conquer.  You will forever be my Baby Nora.