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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

happy birthday andrea :)

Did we make a three-minute movie with 7 wardrobe changes?
Did I break several SAG child labor laws?
Will this video make anyone, anywhere, feel happier?

Happy Birthday Aunt Andrea! We miss you so much!

Just to be clear, this bizarrely diverse wardrobe was supplied 
by weird aunts, uncles, and friends. 

night weaning.

I'm laying here in my bed, blogging from my phone, because I can't sleep. Why, for the love of all that is tired and holy, why can't I sleep?

1. I have a mystery pain stabbing deep into my left side that, according to webmd, may or may not be liver failure, pancreatic cancer, or hunger.

2. Last night (let the bells ring across the land!) we decided to night-wean the baby. And it worked. Like, SUSPICIOUSLY easily worked. Like, Clara Horney may have been playing us fools for a while now, worked. But I haven't slept more than 3 hours at a time since before acid wash jeans came back (which is a sign of end times, btw) and now my sleep schedule is entirely wacked out from the tick-tock of boobie calls the last 8 months. So I'm laying here in the dark, awake and possibly on the edge of extinction, TRYING not wake up Sam and ask him to go get me a bowl of cereal.

Night weaning. Who knew?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

8 months : 8 weeks.

I had this moment the other night: Holding Clara in our hallway, right outside her bedroom door: Sam was out of town: I'd been alone with the baby since class ended that afternoon, and evening sunlight threw slanted shadows across the wood floors, across my bare feet. 

My baby's arms wrapped tight around my neck, her head slack on my shoulder, both of her hands twirling lazily through my hair. We stood together in content silence, and I began to cry. 

This isn't unusual: Especially lately: Because when things settle down around here, I cannot help but remember that Jimmy is still gone, and Cassidy has cried every day for 8 weeks, and the world is still turning, and this is reason enough to weep, always. 

But that night, I cried as much for myself as I did for Cass: As I did for Jimmy.

I cried because, in that quiet moment, the vulnerability of my love for Clara was frighteningly close to the surface. She turned 8 months old last week, and I have to wonder, perhaps in the collective wondering tradition of all mothers and fathers in all of time and space:

Whether or not this is worth it:
Whether or not being a parent is worth the risk.

The apostle John tells us that perfect love casts out fear. This points sharply to the fact that my love is far from perfect. Because I find, more and more, that my love and my fear are two knots in the same strand. I am SO AFRAID to lose Clara. I am afraid to lose anyone I love, of course, but I can't tiptoe around each day, hands clasped in desperate prayer that I will never have to experience any more death, ever. So I tuck those other fears away, unless some extraordinary circumstances call them up again.
But Clara? 


The idea of her death gives pause to my heartbeat- tingles down my legs and back up to my throat, a debilitating stroke of numbing fear. 
I've never felt this before. 
I fear Sam's death, 
and I imagine I would fall far, far apart should he leave before I do, but also,
I could marry again. I could love another man, maybe, someday, if I had to.

But I could never have another first child. Another Clara. 

I struggle with this fear: 
I wrestle it down each time I read terrible news about bombs and guns and mothers losing their children: 
I leave it forcefully behind my garage door when I pull out of my neighborhood and onto busy roadways full of bad drivers:
I nod curtly to my fear every night, backing quietly out of Clara's room after I've stared through the slats of her crib, my searching eyes rising and falling with her delicate rib cage in the dark of her nursery. 

Fear is a truth in my life that I must confess again and again, leaving the life of my child in the hands of my God. 

And I wonder: In the long tradition of mothers before me: I wonder with Eve: I wonder with Hannah: I wonder with Mary: And I wonder, achingly, about Jimmy's mother Roseanna:
 Whether or not this risk of  loss is worth the abiding love. Could my heart manage what my womb has already healed from: Could I let Clara go again: Could I lose my baby and live another day: Can I surrender my fear in order to love more freely? 

Motherhood: release, release, release. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

two kids.

Whenever people ask me how many kids I want, or what I want my family to look like, I'm all,
"I want four little girls. But I also really want a son, and he'd need a brother... so two boys? Or actually, I want to have two girls, then four little boys, and then probably two more girls to round it out." 

And then I'm all, wait, that's eight kids.

Don't tell Sam.

Speaking of Sam, he's out of town this week, so I took Clara to visit him yesterday. I packed our overnight gear and we headed up to the mountains for a quick stay. He's working in the same small town where my very favorite cousins live, so bam! Two birds one stone, my friends. We invited Cassidy and Amelia along on our roadtrip- one of my best friends and my 2 year old niece, respectively- and HELLO.

A toddler and a baby are a much different beast than just a baby. There were diaper blowouts, a dramatic cheerio incident at the hotel continental breakfast, someone ended up topless at the pool, and I think I might have slept about three hours last night.

And you guys, Clara can't even really move yet. (She's almost 8 months old and still doesn't roll to get places. I would be concerned, until I realize that she's been carried around like an Egyptian princess the last eight months, and might actually start moving on her own now that we set her down and force her to roll over for toys she can't reach? I'll keep you updated.) So it's not like I had to chase two kids, you know? Although she is perhaps the chattiest baby I've ever met, so when combined with her delightful and wild cousin Amelia, it's one fast and loud party. And one tired mommy (Aunt Boo Boo to some). Our night ended with me, Sam, and Cassidy huddled on the floor in our hotel room, drinking wine by the light of the bathroom and reading news reports about Boston while the little girls slept a few feet away.
Pretty classy weekend, all in all.

After 24 hours with those two girlies, 24 hours that included Cassidy's constant help, by the way, I think maybe I'll take a beat on trying for Smoochie part two.

I was telling Sam we needed another baby before he'd even cut Clara's umbilical cord, but yeesh. Am I just crazy?

I mean, I want 8 kids. That might be certifiably crazy.
I'll keep you updated.

Horney hot tub party, hey now! 
 the girls and cousin Tad- what a boy, always got a stick in hand :)

her first swing ride! she found it underwhelming. and delicious. 

love these babes! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

it's not easy to get a baby.

I've been trying for months and months to write Clara's birth story, but for one of the first millionth time in my life, I just can't make my words do what I need them to do. It's all so... inadequate. Utterly.

We had an assignment due this week in my non-fiction class to write a photo essay. I went ahead and got super out of control with this particular "essay", and created this piece de resistance. I actually have a longer version of Clara's birth pictures and video, edited and put to music, but it is much too personal for the world wide web (says the girl with a blog). So this is what I have for you instead, my dear Horney friends.

By the way, the essay started with this post and expanded. I knew this blog would be useful one day.

OK. Love you guys, and may your day be filled with superfluous slideshows and good friends :)

NOTE: All photographs taken by Valerie Davenport Photography. This dear woman showed up with a few hours notice and her camera, and gave us the greatest (I say that in its fullest sense) gift that we could ever receive- she captured the birth of our first baby with beauty and depth and grace. You are a gift to the world, Valerie Davenport.