A daily...meh, weekly dose of babies, reality, and love.
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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.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


It's been 3 months since we met you, Clara Bear. 
3 tired, happy, spit-up covered months.
The holidays are here, and my dreams (yes, dreams) are coming true. 
I will hold you on my lap at our Thanksgiving dinner.
When asked what I am thankful for this year, I will cry and say your name, a name that Daddy and I couldn't have even imagined one year ago. 
We will share you with relatives who ride trains, planes and automobiles just to meet you. 
I will put you in warm pajamas and read you a book in front of our Christmas tree. 
We will hang your stocking above the fireplace, and probably kiss at the happy shock of seeing it there. 
I will understand, finally, with awesome wonder, what Mary went through in that stable so long ago. 

The lights will shine brighter. The fires will feel warmer. I will eat pie and sing carols and burn candles and I will be THANKFUL, sweet daughter, for the new life and light and wondrous delight you and those lovely blue eyes bring into our humble little house and hearts. 

Happy 3 months, Clara Noelle Horney. 
You are the sun and the snow, so bright and surprising. 


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

sam's nightmare (gosh i love him)

Saturday. In our room. With our baby. Sam talking to me. 

Sam. "I had the worst dream about her last night."
Jessie. "Oh gees, do NOT tell me if it was something awful, like her dying."
Sam.  "No, worse. She went to bed looking like that,

and when I got her up the next morning, she was an inch shorter than you and talking like a grown up. I know she was exactly an inch shorter because in my dream I measured her. I couldn't believe it! I was devastated!"

I know a lot of people aren't very interested in the baby stage. They're excited for their kids to walk and talk, to have a less one-sided relationship, to stop being so incredibly needy. And rightly so. Babies are a lot of work with very little payback. Clara is going through her 3 month growth spurt, and after a long night of no sleep and some very sore ta-tas, this morning I threatened to send her to boarding school.
And I sort of meant it.

So I am thankful to be married to a man who L-O-V-E-S babies. His sadness at every new milestone that our daughter hits is endearing, to say the least, and says a lot about his tender heart.
(Somtimes I need that reminder.)
 So when I tell him that Clara rolled over and have to start the sentence with, "I have some terrible news," I smile with pleasure at the joy he takes in every moment of her childhood. If his worst nightmare is that she'll grow up when he's not looking...then consider me smitten.

 Amelia Jayne and her Uncle Sam "He's my favorite favorite favorite, mommy."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

oh smoochie.

Sam and I got into a nasty fight last weekend. Which was too bad, because things had been going swimmingly in our marriage for a long time. You know how some years are great and some years are just poke out your eyeballs bad? This had been a great year. And then our daughter was born, and the year got even better. We existed in some sort of love limbo, free of squalor and full of dreamy sighs of gratitude towards the other half of Clara's existence. I don't know if this happens to everyone, but we found ourselves living out some sort of second honeymoon, spurred on by our thankfulness for the life we created together.

Anyways, that's definitely over, and we're working hard to figure out being married and being parents and being gracious to each other...except all at the same time. That's the real trick, right? The real balancing act is found in that spot where you have conquered parental competency, marital peace, and a good attitude for whatever comes your way. I'll go ahead and let you know when I get there. According to my calendar, it's looking to be just a tad shy of NEVER.

So we'll keep trying, I guess. And praying. Lots of praying. The stakes are so much higher these days, what with a tiny person looking to us for basic survival, oodles of love, and maybe even a solid upbringing along the way. She is a complicated bundle of highs and lows, a magnifying glass for every flaw we try so hard to hide.
That became clear last weekend, when the fight felt bigger and meaner than any fight had before. Even though we resolved the issues at hand, we both walked away with wounds that went unexpectedly deep. Our hearts have all these new vulnerable spots that we're struggling to understand, and hurting each other is suddenly (and frighteningly) easier than ever.

But hey guys- the good news is right here. Wearing leg warmers and pretending to be big.

It is impossible to stay mad at each other when this smoochie face smiles and crinkles with delight at the sound of our voices. She is a constant reminder of what our marriage is worth, and she makes it difficult to be angry. I mean, honestly, how could I not shout for Sam to "come watch her being crazy in the bathtub!" or comment to him, "Did you see that face she just made?"
You're right. I couldn't do it. I had to tell him- I had to share her with him. She is a gift to us because she will always be an example of how much we love each other. Even when we're contemplating poking out our eyeballs.

Clara is not the center of our marriage. She is not even a part of it. She WILL cause us to test it, and sometimes she will make it seem sweeter. But ultimately, it's me and Sam. We have to do this together, and we have to walk carefully as we go. Clara will leave. All of our kids will go one day (hopefully) and we will be left with each other. We have to lay a foundation RIGHT NOW, right this second, today, tonight, for a relationship that we promised forever.
I'm crazy in love with my daughter.
But my husband has to be first. That's hard to understand. Harder than I thought it would be, I guess.

Like I said...lots of prayer.

Oh, and mommydaddyspecialtime. I heard that helps too.
Don't have to tell this Horney mom twice.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

sure, kind of like a vampire.

No, no, of course I didn't read all of the Twilight books. Or see all of the movies. Please, I belong to a much higher class of literary appreciation than those hopeless so-called Twihards.
But if I had read all of the books and couldn't wait to see the final coming installment of the movie franchise, I might be inclined to make this little comparison.

Becoming a parent is like becoming a vampire.
(Yep, we're doing this.)

In those famed preteen books, when one changes from human to vampire, the transformation is external and internal. nerd alert Ok, so in the last book, Bella finally gets what she wants and joins Edward's forever family of vampires (subtle mormanism plug, ha! very sneaky, stephanie meyers.)
But get this- Bella only gets 'changed over' because she almost dies in childbirth, and getting 'bit' is her only hope for survival. So she gives birth to this half vampire/half human baby girl AND becomes a vampire, all in one fell swoop. She wakes up after this traumatic birth experience, now both a mother and a member of the undead society. Her skin glistens like diamonds and she is one of the most powerful beings on the planet. But here's the key: She didn't become a different person, but rather a completely different version of her old self. In some ways she is better; in some ways she is worse. But in all ways, she is completely and utterly irreversibly changed. Motherhood acts as the catalyst for the change she always wanted.

Still with me? The nerdiness is subsiding, I promise.

I used to worry that when I became a mother, I would stop being pretty. My hypothesis on motherhood was that in order to have children, you had to trade your beauty for theirs. With each child you had to give away part of your shine until you had a bright and beautiful family with a dull and worn out mommy.

But the truth is that children add a shine to your life that cannot be reproduced. No product or surgery or career move or successful venture can ever replicate the full-on blast of lovely that children toss over a family like a warm and happy blanket.

The addition of kids to your life is, indeed, like becoming a vampire. They bite deep and hard as soon as you look into their vulnerable little eyeballs, and you become a version of yourself that you never could have imagined. You are beautiful because they are beautiful. You are happy because they are happy. They are an extension of everything good and wonderful that you loved about yourself before they burst on the scene, and they are also tiny, selfish reminders of everything you have ever struggled with in your whole existence. Children are the catalyst for a change that cannot be undone.
It is lovely, and it is powerful.
It is permanent,
it is frightening,
and it is absolutely skin-sparkling-like-diamonds magic.

Now excuse me while I go make another order at the school book fair.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

hey sam

When I changed Clara's diaper this morning I found a tiny band aid on her tiny thigh with a tiny speck of dried red blood, left over from a tiny needle prick at the doctor's office. And I thought to myself, hey sam.
There is something so tender about your blood. About your breath. About the lashes that guard your eyes.
We came together on purpose and we decided to participate in the greatest 'together' of them all, the most creative outlet we could find for the way we feel about each other's eye lashes.
And now our blood, swirled and travelled and released, lives forever dancing in her veins. Drying to her bandaids. Pulsing that delightful heartbeat, the one I recorded on my phone so many months ago, the one we feel against our lips when we kiss that sweet soft neck.

It's not always easy sharing a life.
Sharing a house.
Sharing a bed.
But when I feel our daughter curve around me while she dreams, the warmth of your blood and my blood under her skin...
I think, hey sam.

I really really love you.

Monday, November 5, 2012

just let me tell you

You gotta do what you gotta do when people don't want to take naps. And if that means racking up our gas bill with unnecessary middle of a fall afternoon fires? Then so be it.
Forgive me, Sam. I needed both hands to make a salad. And since the flames both warm and hypnotize...well.
You gotta do what you gotta do.

Friday, November 2, 2012

if i were to make a list

Sometimes I avoid saying how I feel about my daughter because it is so over-the-top crazy full of love. I don't want to be a weirdo.
Also, in the interest of being honest and never EVER wanting to discourage other new moms, I tend to highlight the hard parts of my days and nights so everyone knows what really goes on with a newborn. But you know what?

It's actually the best thing in the whole wide world. The galaxy. The Universe.


It's just that, some days, the cons seem like the pros' nastier, chubbier, older cousin whose shadow could block the sun. But when I step out of that sad slice of shade, I remember why I'm here. And I wrap my arms around that sweet ballerina of mine and rejoice with the Maker of all the universes for the pros, cons, and everything in between. 

Pro: Clara has slept 8 hours a night since she was five weeks old. 
Con: Clara does not like to nap more than 20 minutes at a time during the day unless I'm holding her. And since I refuse to let her cry, this gets exhausting. 

Pro: Clara nurses like a champ.
Con: Clara usually nurses every 2 hours. Which makes it pr-e-tt-y hard to get anything done. 

Pro: Sam has a great job.
Con: I never really know when Sam will be home. The nights get lonely.

Pro: I have a lot of great family and friends around me.
Con: That doesn't make it any easier to click "submit" on my class registration for spring semester. Thinking of leaving my baby makes me want to lock us both in the house until she forces her way out for kindergarten. 

So, yeah. 
I'm a total weirdo. 
*positions self on rooftop

There you go. 


Happy Friday :)