A daily...meh, weekly dose of babies, reality, and love.
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Sunday, December 30, 2012

week of lists: let's have fun

It's the kind of winter afternoon that fills my house with the bright reflection of snow covered yards, and this is on my tv.

My baby is tucked into my bed (she prefers to sleep like a grown up-  pillow and blankets included), while my brother and his wife lounge around our house. They're here on holiday break, visiting from Boston and making the whole gem state feel a little bit cheerier.
My list today was supposed to be "stuff I could've done better." But for goodness sakes, I'm feeling much too happy to list all of that business. 'Cause yeah, there are more than a few things...anyways, instead, I present:

Choosing Joy 
"new stuff i loved this year"

1. i love the show Parenthood. Good golly that's a well-written program. If you don't laugh and cry at every episode- clean up your life.

2. i loved my radio production class last spring. The projects from that class are some of my favorite from all of college.
Here's a link to a few of them in case anyone is interested. And by anyone I definitely mean my mom.
name the baby
i believe in regrets

3. i love hearing and reading other people's birth stories. There is something about being big pregnant that makes other women want to tell you about their own labors and deliveries. I know this can be annoying to some girls, but it brought me such joy to hear about babies being born. Every single one of us is a miracle, and that ought to be celebrated through story telling. It's like this one last vestige of oral history keeping, passed down from moms to daughters and friends and neighbors, a global tribe of women rejoicing with one another. I don't care if you had an epidural at the hospital, chanted songs during your home birth, or finally got the phone call from an adoption agency that your baby was officially YOURS; I want to hear about it.

4. i love "wearing" my baby. Ok, so there is this bizarre subculture of people who believe that "wearing your baby" is the only way to give them hope for their future (my phrasing, not theirs). I think this is crazy talk, and I'm sort of embarrassed to admit how much I adore wearing my baby in a sling, but I do. There is nothing as sweet as her warm body next to mine as I clean up my house, or make a phone call, or go for a walk. It's also convenient. So there you go: I'm a closet attachment weirdo.

5. i love a certain bunny chair. Who- tell me who- could have ever told me how strong my feelings would be towards this fuzzy little haven with floppy ears and whimsical flute solos? No one. That's who.

6. i love clara noelle, of course. 

Happy Sunday, Horney readers :)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

a week of lists: numero uno

In honor of the pending new year, I've decided to write myself a few lists. A list has many uses, and I intend to exploit them all. Today's list is handy for:

Being Reflective
"a list of things that surprised me last year"

1. I like being at my house. You might even call me a homebody. Previous to this year, I never would have assigned myself such a, shall we say, introverted nomenclature. And don't get me wrong, I still love a raucous party, but GOOD GOLLY I love quiet days at my house with my kid and my husband and a couple of sandwiches. Which begs us to examine this observance: Am I getting old?

2. Being pregnant was harder than giving birth. Like, a thousand times harder. I've always had it switched around in my head, that pregnancy would be this tender moment in time between me and my unborn child, back-lit by some sort of holy glow, and childbirth a hard fought war of vaginal walls and anguished, sweaty cursing. Nay, I tell you. Nay. Pregnancy is 20 weeks of excitement, centered around one exhilarating gender reveal ultrasound, followed by 18 more weeks of rapid weight gain off set by hormonal imbalance and reclusive tendencies, wrapped up with 2 weeks of ungodly torturous sleepless nights of 'fake labor.'
Then you go through labor. Then you have contractions that are actually DOING something, and then you get to push that baby right on out, that glorious slippery moment when you become a mom, not just a round tub of impatience and stretch marks. There's a pretty clear moment in our lives when we begin to long for children; for some people that means getting pregnant, for some it means adoption, and for some it might mean waiting and waiting. But from here? From where I'm standing? None of it really matters once you hold that kid in your arms. It is the end all of end all of shout out loud joy.

16 weeks: still fun 

20 weeks: yay it's a girl! 

27 weeks: oh, pregnancy is just adorable, huh?

38 weeks: this is for real. 

39 weeks: i will be pregnant forever. 

oh hey Clara Horney. hey. we love you. 

3. Sam is a really good dad. I don't know why I didn't see this coming. Sam's parents raised all of their kids to be kind, loving people, especially towards children. But for some reason I always imagined myself as the "main" parent around here, the one who would sort of take charge in the child-rearing department (especially with a newborn.) But it turns out that Samuel is one hell of a father. A diaper changing, bath giving, song singing, bounce to sleep kind of a guy who makes me proud every day. He doesn't just love our baby; he loves being a daddy. I mean, YUM, you know what I'm saying?

4. Being a mom is important. Honestly, having a baby seemed like a step down for any ambition I had in my life. I figured it was a necessary demotion in order to build our family, and someday I'd get right back into the thick of making a real difference in the world. But let me tell you- when you are a mom, you are changing the world. I am amazed when I look around at my friends and family as they struggle to raise obedient kids who have compassion and big dreams. We are working to give the world the best gift we have to offer: a generation of people who want to do what is right. Moms and Dads have an important job, and it is not to be taken lightly. Take heart, my friends! These days are short and fast and ours for the taking!

So says the girl in the sailor suit down there.

Tomorrow's list: Stuff I could've done better. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

oh for GOODNESS sakes

Well, well. Here we are, four months into your life.
Four months.
122 days.
2, 928 hours.

It's incredible, really. One year ago I was sitting in this very kitchen, dreaming and dreaming of you. Worrying. Wondering. You were growing a heart, and my heart was growing (along with my belly). I couldn't imagine a life with you in it, this tiny baby heart full of my own blood and life.

The new year shot off and suddenly I was very, very pregnant. From my round face to my tired feet and all the swollen parts in between, I was with child.
  I was with you, child.
And then, dear daughter, it was time. My breath caught and my muscles did miracles they never knew before, and our whole world burst with joy at your teeny tiny arrival.

So, here we are.
Four months.
122 days.
2, 928 hours later.

You've started screeching these past few days. It's an awful noise that makes us laugh (almost) every time. You love to talk. You love to sit on my lap- you'd sit there forever if I'd let you. You hate being hungry. You hate being patient. You hate your carseat. Your temper, loud and fast and shocking, comes straight from your daddy. Your babble, happy and social and demanding, is just like your mama. Your blue eyes, lovely enough to draw compliments from everyone we meet- those are from both of your grandpas.

We have NEVER been so happy. Never. You are a delight beyond measure, the light of every day, the name we whisper across the dark of our bedroom when we talk as we fall asleep at night. You are beautiful and I fear all of the things that will one day hurt you, especially me. You are selfish because you are human, and we pray that one day you'll know the King who will redeem your heart.

You are our little girl. We loved you before we ever met you, Clara Noelle, and the pleasure of your acquaintance has simply become greater with every kiss, night without sleep, wiggle of your eyebrows, and every fit you throw. And after four lightening fast months, 122 difficult and wonderful days, and 2, 928 hours of getting to you know you, here's what we've decided:

You're worth every gosh darn second.

we lovelovelove you.
mama and daddy

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

oh, capture them, capture them.

I recently deactivated my facebook account. Around here we're calling it "a facebook fast" (Sam Horney is happy, that guy isn't a real facebook fan).  I didn't actually delete my account, because I fully plan on logging back in one of these days, but for now it is a welcome reprieve from a constant stream of opinions and chatter. I love social media, and consider it an important facet in this century of relationships, but sometimes it is just. too. much. And I've found, in all honesty, that since I became a mother, my skin is somehow much less thick than it used to be. I'm really bothered by what people think of me, and any negative comments or messages that I receive dig much deeper than they used to. Before Clara arrived. Before my heart lived outside my chest. Before I felt so gosh darn vulnerable all the time.

So, I'm taking a break. And I've noticed some changes already.

My home, somehow, seems much quieter. The only voices allowed in here right now belong to my husband, my daughter, and the people who make a phone call or stop by. Archaic? Yes. Good for my scattered head and thoughts? Definitely.

I feel a sense of calm. I know that there are lots of ways to communicate with people, and I enjoy every single one of them. (Says the girl writing a blog about leaving facebook. Somebody slap me.)
But don't you think that all of these fun new ways to connect with each other can actually dillute the meaningful things we have to share? I get overwhelmed with all of this pressure and commentary and bizarre false intimacy that I allow in my life. And it's like, I don't have the SPACE for anyone or anything else to exist.
That's how I feel, anyways.
But when I step back for a minute; when I refocus on the actual center of the Universe, who also happens to be my Creator, I remember a few truths.
First, God will sustain me. He is the source of my energy.
Second, when I use my energy to make decisions that please Him, I get MORE energy.
It's in that place where I close in, where I try to protect myself from injury or strife, that I become exhausted. And there's no space for anyone else in there. But when I step out of my own fears, and act like the true, VALUED version of myself, the one who is loved beyond loved beyond loved? I have exactly what I need to love others. And all the space in the world to do it.

There are small moments to notice.  
It turns out that breastfeeding is this magical moment in time when you are actually expected to slow down. You have to sit. You have to free up your hands. You simply have to stop. And I have learned something in those quiet times with my daughter in my arms.

  We need those moments.  

Not just we, nursing mothers: we, everyone. There is a quiet kind of gratitude that exists in that pause. I can hear the churning of my washing machine, and be thankful for clean clothes. I notice the winter sunlight fading through the bedroom window, and am thankful for a warm house. The weight of my child against my chest is a thankful that exists on a whole other parallel, but it is only in the quiet that I can really feel her heart beating against mine. And like a photographer with one minute of light left in the day, or a traveller about to turn towards home, we must CAPTURE that moment. We must see what we are thankful for, we must say it aloud, we must swirl it on our tongues and run it through our fingers until the memory of this moment - hard or easy or desperate or lovely- is so marinated in our thanks that there is room for nothing else.

No worry.
No anger.
No fear.

Those things right there? They need air to live, and when we take that air and turn into a breath of quiet thanks...they go away. 

Oh my friends, let's capture those moments. You might not need to turn off facebook. You might not need to nurse a hungry baby every few hours.
 But stop anyways.
Sit down for a second. Listen. And count your blessings, one by one.

I'm right there with you, counting away.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

why our house will never be quiet again

Our daughter talks all. the. time. I love that she loves to communicate- it's an endearing quality to this English major mother. Sam thinks she'll be a writer like her mama; I think she'll be an actress. I mean, have you seen those facial expressions? Her eyebrows alone could bring down the house.

But whatever she decides to do, I bet it will make people happy. 'Cause it definitely spreads a lot of cheer up in this Horney household :) So here's some cheer for you;

Happy weekend, and 17 days 'til Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

dear jessie

Last year during the holidays, we found out that we were expecting a baby. We had lost our very first baby earlier that year, and I was worried. I laid awake every night, heavy hands covering my still flat stomach, imagining a sesame seed heart growing and beating inside my womb. I wasn't happy. I was terrified. Every week brought us one step closer to the birth of our child, and it couldn't go fast enough.

I know, know, know that every single baby is a miracle from the Lord. I've seen too many disappear right out of the defeated hands of their parents to believe anything else.

So when I hear her happy babbles and laugh at her bright smiles, and even when I comfort the angry tears of my little Clara Noelle, I remember those long nights of pregnancy when I waited and waited to hear her first cries.

As I pulled out our Christmas decorations this week, I found that little note in the picture above, a note that I wrote to myself. It's a trip back in time. It's a celebration.
 But mostly it's a way to remember.

Song by Civil Parish, as found on this fantastic free playlist. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Horney family holidays (it's as good as it sounds)

This year, in a striking moment of ambition, I decided to host Thanksgiving at our house. And I do mean "I" decided. This is a perfect example of perhaps the most common disagreement in the Horney house, when I broadcast big decisions without "actually" discussing said decision with my darling husband. 5 years later and this is still happening, you ask? Don't worry, God is working on me. Keep reading.

I thought it would be such a great idea to invite Sam's family to our house for Thanksgiving, and then dedicate our girl at church that Sunday. 2 birds, one stone, so to speak (ha! get it? birds? turkey? Come on now.) They agreed to come, and suddenly it was November. Six Horney relatives were about to descend upon our humble home, plus the bits and pieces of my family who were still in town and planning on joining us for dinner, and a few dear friends just to round things out.

*cue Sam's panic face, followed by Jessie's lackluster reassurances, and Clara's sudden "I used to sleep through the night?" amnesia attack.

Confession: I was worried. Our house isn't very big, our baby isn't very old, and I have never made Thanksgiving dinner in my life. So why the heck did I invite everyone over? This is where I blame my mother (hi mom!). It is her unwavering belief in me that created this monster before you, the monster who thinks everything is possible and that she can do anything with a little help. My mom always encouraged us to follow our hearts and make things happen, no matter the obstacle. We were superstars in her eyes, and I carry around some of that 'my mom says I'm special' ill-bred confidence to this day. So...Thanksgiving over here, everybody! At my little house, with my in-laws, my introverted husband, my three month old baby, my lack of culinary expertise, and a whole lotta positive self-talk.

The week wasn't perfect. My kid cried through several of the nights, her wails reverberating off the hardwood floors and into the ears of her grandparents, aunts and uncles deep into the midnight hour. My little brother spilled red wine, I googled a gravy recipe AS we served the turkey, and Sam and I even threw in a small disagreement for good measure. But take heart, Horney readers! The holiday spirit reigned, floating through our house in the form of strong coffee, baby giggles, the fantastic homemade rolls my little sister whipped up, beautiful decorations, and lots and lots and lots of love.

So here you go: 3 things I'm thankful for, 1 thing I know, and 1 thing I was oh-so-wrong about.

1. I'm thankful for Sam's parents. For my mother-in-law and the intentional way she communicates and cares about her sons' wives, for my father-in-law and the way he serves without any expectations at all. Thank you, Debbie, for unloading my dishwasher a million times, keeping two pots of coffee brewed, listening when I need to talk, and loving my daughter with a grandmother's abandon. Thank you, Sandy, for trusting me as a new mom, for supporting me as your son's wife, and for being a silent beam of strength in our family. You are both dear to me as second parents!

2. I'm thankful for Sam's little brothers and their wives. They are some of our best friends, and the fact that we would even want them in our house for a week says a lot about how special they are to us. I mean, for goodness sakes, they grew mustaches just to be the 'weird uncles' at Clara's dedication. I know that's ridiculous, but to me it was just another reason to love them. Alene and Andrea are the sisters of my heart, and GOSH I love you both! Like, Hallmark Christmas movie tender moment kind of love.

3. I'm thankful for my little sister. There was this moment, during dinner, when I looked around our table at the faces of so many people I love, and there were two baby cousins sleeping in my bedroom, and I thought, "Yeah. We're the moms now. We're the aunts. We pull out turkey gizzards and we make pies and we pray for dinner and we go home with our husbands. We are making these families." I've never been so grateful for my three sisters as I am in motherhood, and watching Jamilyn walk the path before her with such grace and kindness fills me with admiration and pride.

4. I know that I have to be a mom first. This was hard. It was hard to walk away from a messy kitchen to nurse, it was hard to wake up all night and put her back to sleep, and it was hard to realize that any and all Clara questions needed to be answered by ME. Her MOM. It was a bizarre leap into public parenting, complete with lonely, screaming car rides once her aunts and uncles realized just how deep her hatred for that carseat goes and conveniently always rode in the other car (fair weather fans, those guys.) It's a different gig to try and host while parenting at the same time. But every time I walked into the living room and saw Clara holding court, the family gathered around and laughing at her every facial expression, I melted a little. She spread love around our house like butter on a dinner roll, and it was pure magic.

5. I was wrong about Sam. I knew this week would be hard on him, and I knew he was nervous. So I prepared myself to protect him from the stress, to keep him as far away from the holiday messes as long as I could, mostly in the name of self-preservation. I was wrong about how he would react. This pressure cooker of a week brought us closer than ever, and provided a moment of recognition for each other's strengths that couldn't have happened anywhere else. Look-  even when things are hard around here, even when happiness is more of a mountain than a hill, and even when we seem to be speaking two different languages, SAM ALWAYS TRIES. And this week, my lovely husband, you earned a gosh darn gold medal. Thank you for listening. Thank you for hearing. And thank you for letting your heart be vulnerable. I love you, I love you, I love you. And I trust you.


Thank you Lord for a week of blessings, big and small, difficult and easy. 
You are King. Bless your name! 

good night and happy birthday

We made this little video for a far away Uncle who we miss so much. So if you'd like to hear a bedtime story...well, happy Thursday :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

hey kid

Naps don't really work when they last for 10 minutes. Get your act together.

Your single every other week tired and hungry mother

Monday, November 26, 2012

promises promises

After a week of our house bursting with visiting relatives, 2 days of thanksgiving cooking and preparation, 3 sleepless nights with an out of routine baby, 4 trips to the airport, dedicating our daughter at church and hosting a Sunday lunch for 30 people...

The Horneys are eating dinner in bed and going to sleep early.

I will blog again soon and share about all the aforementioned business-
I just need a nap first :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

the Horney villagers

I want to show you guys Clara's nursery. Not because I think it's a masterpiece of design, or even because I want you to admire her little space. I mean, who gives a crap about nurseries anyways?Besides obsessive moms-to-be wasting hours on websites entirely dedicated to the art of building a perfect room for your baby? No one.
p.s. I definitely did that all spring.

 I want to show you her room because it the best way to describe how I want to raise my family.

Every single inch of Clara's room showcases the talents and kindness of people we love. It is a symphony of their creations, a sweet song dedicated to our baby and her future. And I love it.

1. The white bookshelves that her Poppi built. I pray that she will see those sturdy, solid wood shelves and know that her Poppi and Papa will always have sturdy, solid, Godly advice for her.

2. The books that YOU gave her. I asked people to give her books at her baby showers instead of cards. I would throw cards away, and lose the kind words inside. But now she has a wall full of books, which are full of little notes of love and encouragement. When she thinks the whole world is unfair or (though goodness knows this would never happen) she thinks her parents are the worst, she'll have all of these notes to remind her that she is indeed cherished. Feel free to add to this wall- just make sure you put a note inside the book :)

3. A heart mobile from her Grandma. I had a big idea for a heart mobile but absolutey no idea how to execute it, so my mom took over and made this sweet piece from my big mess. I pray this mobile is a reminder that there is love all around her, and that her Grandma and her Nona are the curators of love in her family.

4. The Eiffel Tower that her Aunt Jamilyn painted. I saw a print like this online that was super expensive, and my little sister said she would "just paint it for me." And she did. My little girl has 8 aunts who adore her and who will stand the gap when I am simply not enough. I can't begin to express how thankful I am for those women in my life and hers.

5. The Little Prince print, from Cassidy's honeymoon in France. It's a tiny reminder of wonderful stories, grand adventures, and favorite friends who will teach her how to live and laugh BIG!

6. The dresser that I bought on Craig's List. Her Aunt Becca and Uncle Mitch wrangled their two little girls over to our house and helped us sand and paint the nursery furniture to my liking. I hope that pretty dresser and nightstand remind her that anything can be made better with some hard work and help from others.

8. I love to rock her in the green glider. Sam's siblings and family bought it for us, and when I kiss her soft skin while she sleeps in my arms, I know that she has a whole family committed to her comfort and safety.

9. A crib from our Wolfe pack. I sort of love that she'll sleep where the Wolfe cubs slept, almost as much as I love our dear friends and the way they support us- our marriage, our lives, and now as new parents. They are very important to our family!

10. We'll measure our kids on that beautiful wooden ruler that Tally made for us. It's a great central place to keep our family growth memories, and a showcase of Tally's skills and the Harding's friendship.

11. Aunt Alene made the colorful garland draped across the wall. It is bright and pretty and makes her room a happy place to be, just like Alene makes everywhere she is a happy place to be.

12. Those frames hold "Clara's Prayer" in french. It says "Thank You Lord for Clara, may she always be a light." I've prayed that over her since she was in my belly, and breathe it every time I think of the life in front of her.

13. Yellow walls that Aunt Becca and Leanne painted for me when I was 8 months pregnant. What a gift, right? I'm so thankful for other moms in my life who encourage me and give me such amazing examples to follow.

14. I wanted the ceiling in Clara's room painted, which is an annoying and difficult job that her perfectionist of a father took every care to do just right. So every time Clara lays in bed and stares at this yellow ceiling, I hope it's a reminder of the way her dad loves her, and his committment to doing things the right way the first time.

Sam and I know 'it takes a village.' And we are over the moon thankful for our Horney village, who will help us raise our kids and keep our family intact. We love you guys.