A daily...meh, weekly dose of babies, reality, and love.
You're welcome.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

cause sometimes you gotta let it go

We're going to the doctor this week and I can't wait to find out how our baby has grown. She eats as though the second coming is around the corner, so I assume she's bumped up on those growth charts quite a bit. We took her home from the hospital at 5lbs 3oz, and it makes me weepy to look through our gazillion pictures of the last 2 months and see how she's changed. It also makes me weepy when I see how very itty bitty she was at birth, and how blessed we are to have her.

I didn't always love my doctor during my pregnancy. She has a lot of energy and can be a little cut and dry for my taste. I thought about finding a different doctor more than once, but in the end, I believe she saved my baby's life.
Clara wasn't growing like she needed to inside my womb, but we didn't know that until I was past my due date and got a precautionary ultrasound. The black and white image on the screen revealed a baby measuring at 36 weeks instead of 40. The ultrasound tech smiled and patted my knee when I asked if that was normal.

"Will she be ok?" I heard my shaky voice echo in the small room.
"I'm going to have the doctor talk to you about it, dear. She looks healthy right now. Just smaller than we would like for a full term baby."

I took a deep breath and laid back on the crunchy white paper pillow. This wasn't what I'd pictured for this appointment. I hadn't even brought my husband; just a list of questions about getting induced in case my doctor suggested it. I did not want to be induced and had been very clear about that since day one of my pregnancy. But I also knew they wouldn't let me go past 41 weeks, which was edging up quickly. I stared at the printed out pictures of my baby girl, amazed at her profile and how much she'd grown since I last 'saw' her 20 weeks before. I sat up quickly when Dr. Rice came in the room a few minutes later, more serious than I'd ever seen her.

"Well, I'm afraid waiting for natural labor to begin is no longer an option," she said.
"Oh. But I don't...But...are you sure?" I folded my hands protectively across my belly.
"The baby hasn't been growing for a few weeks. I think your placenta is done working, unfortunately. We need to induce, and we need to do it quickly."

I had a decision to make. Trust my doctor, or be prideful about my birth plan and refuse her advice.
So, in the spirit of all hard decision making, I started crying.
Crying for the picture in my head of my labor, wisping away without saying goodbye.
Crying for the drugs that would decide my labor time instead of my own body.
Crying for not bringing Sam with me to this stupid, scary appointment.

Then I blew out a tense breath. I wiped my tears, and for the very first time, I became a mother. I became a mother on the hard plastic cover of that exam table, and I will never forget that moment.

I wanted my baby out, no matter how it happened and no matter what happened to me. I wanted her out of my womb where she wasn't getting nutrients, and into my arms where I could feed her. They could cut me open in the waiting room then and there with the receptionist using her cold diet coke as the numbing agent; I didn't care. My baby needed me. My baby. Needed me.

And I became a mother.

We set an appointment for an induction at 5:00 a.m. the next day, and I called Sam to tell him that we'd be meeting our daughter sooner rather than later.

So now, wondering at the growth of my two month old baby, I thank God for modern medicine. I thank Him for a doctor who knew what was best for my family, and for a healthy delivery of a healthy little girl. I look back on our pictures and wonder at the miracle of Clara, and the miracle of all healthy babies.
It's a world full of miracles out there, people. And you're one of 'em. Run with that.

 add some milk and...

Gosh I love you, smoochie girl! 


Saturday, October 27, 2012

when your baby is a pain in the

Is there anything more likely to force humility upon you than parenthood? Let me tell you- you can walk around this earth for decades, holding your head high, feeling good. You work out. You're cracking jokes around the office. Maybe you're even rich or famous. You get invited to cool parties and gosh darnit, people really seem to respect you.

Then you have a baby. A baby who couldn't care less about your 'jokes' or your 'expensive jeans' or your 'sex life.' That baby wants what she wants when she wants it, and guess what? You're gonna give it to her. Her little noggin doesn't comprehend reasoning yet, and let's be honest, it's not like you can discipline an infant anyways. I mean, beyond crying your own desperate tears as your kiss their screaming bright red face, you're sort of out of luck.

And that screaming bright red face is exactly where Sam and I found ourselves when we arrived in the state of Washington this week. We came to visit Sam's parents and to introduce our girl to some extended family. Clara hates her car seat, of course, which meant I rode the entire way scrunched in the back seat of our jetta on poorly designed German leather seats (das auto? more like das learn about ergonomics) in order to keep her happy and full of cheer. This may or may not have involved small skits involving her baby owl and baby duck.
So after six hours of driving, five of which (by the mercy of God) Clara slept through, we pulled up to the Horney house and settled in for a long weekend of snuggling and good, good Mama Horney food. Then our baby started crying.
And crying.
And crying.

I'd like to interject here with an apology to anyone I have ever not believed when they said things about their babies like, "I swear she/he isn't usually like this." For the eyerolls, disbelief and secret mocking, I sincerely apologize. I am sorry.

Because honestly, my baby is not normally like this. Go ahead and roll your eyes, I deserve it, but she isn't. At least, I thought she wasn't. You start to doubt your own memory and cognitive abilities around hour 3 of the crying, and I began to wonder whether or not our baby had ever NOT cried. Had I just imagined all those happy times together? Did she, in fact...despise me?

We didn't know why she was crying. We tried all of our little tricks and nothing worked for more than a few minutes at a time. And is there ANYTHING as COMPLETELY stressful as your baby crying in front of other people? You feel like an idiot. Like, it's your baby. Get it together. You must have no idea what you're doing, huh? Then you add a more experienced mom in the mix- say, your mother in law who raised five of her own kids - and suddenly you want to crawl into your suitcase and come out when your daughter is 18 years old, because she'd be better off with someone else raising her anyways.

The heart-melting sadness of our 9.5 lbs of adorable torture continued for almost 24 hours. Then, suddenly, it stopped.
It stopped.
She smiled again. She cooed and talked to us. She ate without crying. The clouds opened up and the sun shone into our weary wesuckatparentingpleasegetusoutofhere souls.

Turns out, we're gonna have some bad days with this kid. Days when we feel incompetent. Tired. Useless. But great news! You ready?

 It won't go on forever.

She will have a better day. We will all wake up and love each other again. And whether she's "not usually like this" really doesn't matter. Today matters, and doing the best we know how right this minute matters. Does she know she's loved? Do we know we love each other?

Ok then. Success.

The many faces of Clara Bear: life with our firecracker

and she's never ever sorry...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

when you know, know, know.

I’ve never been afraid to announce my secure place as the ‘favorite’ in my family. This may or may not be an accurate label to bestow on myself, but I enjoy making brash and arguable statements (a firm and sure Frazier trait). So I call myself the favorite and let the rest sort itself out. 

But in truth (ridiculous alert), at times it really bothers me how much my mom loves me. I could do anything, ANYTHING to her, and it would not change how she felt about me. This has been true for 26 years. I had a real sassy mouth as a kid. But I also knew how to make people laugh. So I got away with a lot more than I should have, even with my own parents. No matter how rotten I treated them or how many poor decisions I made, they looked at me like I was the sunshine on the air. I knewknewknew that I was loved and important.
My relationship with my mom changed in high school. Some sad and divisive events and choices split my friends and family down the middle, and I chose the side without my parents on it. I wanted to be mad at my mom. I wanted to punish her for the pain in my life, whether she had caused it or not (she hadn’t.) But no matter how far I pulled away from her, and no matter how much I tried to lessen her influence, she still looked at me with love in her eyes. She tried to push in sometimes, and at other points just let me go, but she always radiated with a sincere and overwhelming appreciation for me and my life.

It was annoying.
Even into my adult life, I have struggled to understand my mom. We do not always agree, and it’s hard to reconcile our differences in the face of our sometimes strained relationship.

But now I have a daughter.
A daughter I adore.
A daughter I stare at and wonder if the stars or the sun or the moon could bring so much light and wonder into my life.
And as I sit in the dark of the early morning, drowsily admiring the soft dark hair sprouting on Clara’s tiny head, it occurs to me that my mother probably spent many of her morning hours doing the exact same thing.

Did she stare at the shape of my nose and delight in the smell of my skin?
Did she kiss my small hand and watch me sleep at her breast, full and content from her own milk?
Did she hold me tight and blink away tears, wondering at the life in front of me and  whispering prayers over her brand new daughter?

I bet she did.

And I bet that same love, that same crushing press of tender love for her little girl, is the source of that look in her eye 26 years later.

I think, now, as I wander into this exotic and secret world of motherhood, it has dawned on me that my own mom loves me in a way that I could not understand until I had my own child. I just couldn’t. Because it doesn’t make sense.
Love rarely makes sense.

So here’s to the senseless, surprising, beautiful and mysterious love of a mother.

To my mom.
To the nights you dreamed of me in your belly.
To the joy you took in my small cries.
To your welcome arms and open heart.
To the tears you have cried over me.
To the absolute way you believe in me and my passions.
To the example you set of a mother whose children know, know, know they are loved. 

Thank you.
And I love you right back.

*Clara picture courtesy of Aunt Alene

Monday, October 22, 2012

Complications (a celebration)

The thing about change is that it complicates things. You can't just have one change; everything must change to accomodate that new thing that just changed (sentence structure, schmentence structure). Your new job. Your new house. Your lost job. Your lost house. Your new marriage or your old marriage.The loss of someone you love and the beginning of someone new to love. Your baby.

There are lots of changes happening at the Horney house. If this place were a lab and we were the experiment, here's a visual of the results.

 Him + Her
= her.

The changes are impossible to even begin to count. 
We wipe spit up off our clothes instead of lint. 
There are bottles of milk in the fridge instead of bottles of wine.
 (Ok, that last one's not true. We have both.)
Our laundry is full of little pink stretch pants. 
We sleep with a humidifier in our room and an infant next to our bed. 
We have less money.
We have more worries.

And ultimately, there's a bunny chair in my living room.

One teeny tiny change and KABOOM, our world has exploded. But you know what? 

It's good. 

Happy two month birthday, our sweet Clara Noelle. You make us laugh way more than you make us cry. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

same page

You guys.
It's not easy to get a baby.
The cells and the bones and the tiny arch of the fingerprints- they are not easy.
Sometimes it all can happen quickly. We multiply.
Sometimes it does not. We crumble.
Or sometimes it does, and then without the slightest shred of decency or warning, this broken world hands over a quiet tragedy.

And I think, being this age in this place with my people,
I will need to suffer. Mourn with those who mourn.
And I will need to be thankful. Rejoice with those who rejoice.

So I'm going to pray with my loves who wait and worry,
and dig for my loves who are buried in grief,
and shout with my loves who are ready to celebrate.

But mostly I'm going to hold my girl tight.

Because it's not easy to get a baby. Let's not forget that.

things we're doing

Isn't it bizarre not to be in school in October? 
Sometimes I just pretend that I'm at "college" with my "professor" and that it's ok for her to poop in the middle of class or demand to see my boobs every couple of hours. 

So while you're mulling over that (and don't act like you're not), here's a few pictures of what this Horney family has been up to in October. Join us for...

A Horney Picture Roll

snuggling with cousins
snuggling with boo boo bear
hanging out with aunt jenna and the handsome T. Huntington
wearing tiny pink hoodies
licking daddy's shoulder
going to friday night campfires
making s'mores with friends
hoping C turns out like T
giving the stink eye 
pretending we're polar bear cubs
attempting (poorly) to wear jeans
enjoying cardigans
loving our kind brothers and the delicious
dinners they prepare.
 (well, most of us were appreciative.
some of us threw a fit.)

Oh Autumn, 

glad to meet you. 


Thursday, October 11, 2012

how to live in a hotel (and not feel like a hobo)

Have you ever seen or heard Jim Gaffagin's bit on hotel rooms? Well, you should. That guy is freaking hilarious. Just get it on Netflix or even spend the five bucks on his website- it's worth your money, I promise. (but not in a "I promise you'll love it or I'll refund the five dollars" kind of way. Just a "hey go try something new" kind of a way. so back up.)
Anyways, what was I talking about? Oh yeah; hotel rooms. Ever since I heard Jim Gaffigan describe hotel rooms as 'the reason the Ten Commandments were written,' my gag reflex goes into high gear at the thought of staying in one.
As you may know, Sam Horney lives in hotel rooms every other week for his job. And since Clara and I hit the open road to go visit him whenever we can...

I have to stay in hotel rooms.
With my darling infant daughter.

Imagine me choking back stomach acid right about there.

But in the words of that great sage, Rihanna, I'm stupid in love...so I unpack my bags and pretend I don't know that I'm sleeping in a bed where thousands of other strangers have also slept. (stomach acid, stomach acid, choking, choking...)

So, for your Friday pleasure, may we present...

"How to Live in a Hotel Room and Not Feel Like a Hobo"
By Jessie and Clara Horney

bring your computer. bring your boppy. bring your bible.

bring your own pillows. bring a million little blankies.

bring your baby. and her mad face. 
thank your mother in law for buying a diaper bag that doubles as a changing table. 

use the dresser drawers for snacks. 
plug in a little scentsy burner.

hold hands.
(this may lead elsewhere, however. you've been warned.)

bring your slippers. 

bring your binks.

bring your favorite comfy socks. 

and for goodness sakes, DO NOT FORGET to bring your bunny chair. 

Happy Friday, everyone! Love, Jessie and Clara and our good friend Rihanna

i mean, who needs deodorant anyways?

Did you know that babies have intense, predictable growth spurts that are universal in their timing? Me neither. So imagine my surprise when my daughter decided to eat every 1.5 hours yesterday. Let's do that math together.
If a Clara leaves the station every 1.5 hours, takes 30 minutes to eat and burp, and then 10 minutes to cry and fall asleep, what time of the day will her mommy take a shower? 

a) First thing in the morning because that's hygienically sound.
b) At least by lunch time because that seems plausible, even for the hassled mom of an infant.
c) 4:00 p.m., just in time to go to work by 5.

The answer is C. A quick, get all of this dried up milk out of my hair and throw on some make up so I can go teach Wednesday night kids church, 4:00 p.m. shower.

I mean, for goodness sake, I have ONE baby. Imagine if I had twins...or triplets...or even if Clara already had siblings. I'd be a crusty old milky mess sad sack of a mother, I imagine.
I can only be thankful for the encouragement that I get from so many people- thank you, by the way- and yesterday, especially from my sisters.

Jamilyn came over to visit and eat lunch (she has two babies of her own and it soooorrrrrt of boggles my mind that she gets so much done and gets out of the house so easily) and secretly did all of my dishes before she left.

Becca came with her two little ladies for a visit and brought me a beautiful cover for the baby's carseat, AND watched Clara while I wrangled myself through a cloud of hairspray and mascara.

I also got a note from my brother's wife, my sister of the heart, Sarah. A note she sent out of nowhere that reminds me I am loved.

I have amazing sisters.
I have a really cute baby.
And sometimes that's all you can count on to get through 
a 4:00 p.m. shower kind of a day.

right, speaking of hairspray and my big teeth...
jessie becca jamilyn julianne

oh hey- look what I finally got to do last night. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

an imaginary bonfire (and other important ideas)

During a recent conversation with a good friend about my life as a new mom, she gave me some interesting advice.

Me: "Yeah, I get a little overwhelmed when I read my parenting books. It seems impossible to do everything they advise. I forget about tummy time, I forget to read to her, I don't know which soap to use, I don't know what she's supposed to be doing this week. I'm not sure if I'm doing anything right. It's tiring."

Her: (and imagine this in an adorable Australian accent, by the way. Not just because it will seem more interesting, but because she actually has one.) "You know what Jess? Just toss all those books in a bonfire. You don't need them and they'll make you crazy. Especially the ones written by men." (ha!)

Now, this woman has four children. They have impeccable manners, kind hearts, and carry on conversations with intelligence and humor. They aren't perfect (she claims) but they are some of my favorite kids on the planet. She and her husband are doing a great job. She is motherly wisdom in a lovely, tiny Australian form and I listen when she talks to me.
But...aren't these books written by experts? Don't they know what they're talking about?

I LOVE reading advice, and I take it seriously. I read the back of my shampoo bottles, I read recipes, I read blogs, I read books, I read texts from my friends and sisters; and I do what they say. Because I want to do things the best way possible. Like today.

I wanted to make cookies today. For dinner with my family, and for our staff meeting at church tomorrow. And I was all, oh, this will be so idyllic and sweet, I'll put the baby in her carrier and we can make cookies together! But first I nursed her, and then she started to whimper. Maybe from a stomach ache, or because she was tired. Either way, into the carrier she went for some precious mommy/daughter time.

*cue sobbing baby.   loudly sobbing baby.

Sometimes...here we go...sometimes my baby does not want me to hold her. DOES NOT WANT ME TO HOLD HER. I fight this little factoid about once a day because I want to be her comfort; I want to be a good mother. I mean, for goodness sake, who doesn't want a good snuggle when they are sad?

I'll tell you who. Clara Noelle Horney, that's who.

She wants me to hold her when she is happy. She wants to smile and laugh together, and she loves when I talk to her. And she usually likes me to hold her when she's tired. But then there are times when her little life starts to fall apart, and she wants me to find a warm blanket and lay her somewhere cozy by herself, like on my bed, or in the ever-present (and, in my opinion, over-zealous) bunny chair.

But all those parenting books! They all tell me to hold my baby! To sway, shush, swaddle, duck, dodge, dive, whatever. So why isn't it working?
It's not working because Leanne (that sassy little Aussie mommy) is right. Parenting books are fine. But they are not absolute. They do not know me and my baby. They do not know that Clara couldn't give a rat's behind if I want her to make ginger cookies with me and blog about it later.
She wants to sleep by herself.
And you know what? That's ok. I can let her do that. Because I'm her mom. And I know best. (gulp) 

This isn't to say that I went ahead and tossed all of my parenting books into our fireplace, mostly because it's a gas fireplace with fake wood and I feel like it wouldn't have gone well for me or my house.

But I did light a small metaphorical match and held it up to the "expert" advice that I struggle to follow.  I have to trust myself. I have to trust that God gave me this particular little girl for a reason, and He will help me figure out this parenting thing, one step at a time. One bunny chair napping, solo cookie making, quiet afternoon at a time.