A daily...meh, weekly dose of babies, reality, and love.
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Father, forgive me

Dear Lord,
While I was washing my hands in the kitchen, Clara was apparently trying to unzip and empty my backpack. Please forgive me for taking the time to unlock my phone screen, open my camera, and snap these two pictures before I helped my crying daughter. Next time I promise to help her first. 



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday, Clara Noelle!

One year ago today I was moaning through some wicked contractions, wondering what you looked like and if I was going to die from pain. I would live that day a million times over if it meant another first year with you. 
I LOVE YOU Smoochie girl! 
Daddy got to come home last night and stay with us for just one day, and guess what?

So let's eat pink pancakes for breakfast and party for a month and stay up late looking through all your pictures and admire the little girl you are becoming, because for goodness sakes...

You're the most clever, obstinate, talkative, smart, beautiful, funny, wonderful baby we have ever met. And I'm pretty sure we have no bias in saying that.

Happy Birthday doll baby!

Parents. I am now one year old and I will decide whether or not I wear my birthday crown, 
thank you very much. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

fire is complicated.

Today was a hard day. Emotionally, I mean. There is an enormous beast of a wildfire roaring through central Idaho right now, and Sam had to leave this morning to go work near it. When fires burn through power poles, Idaho Power has to send up teams of linemen ASAP to get the poles rebuilt. Since Sam is on a project team of linemen, they follow fires whenever they arise.

Confession...and judge how you may... but we pray for a "good" fire season all year long. Of course I would never want someone's house or business to burn, and God forbid anyone being injured or killed by a wildfire, but the truth is that fire season is how I go to school debt-free, how we take fun trips, how we fix our cars and pay for house projects and build up any savings. So yes, we pray for extra money to get us through the leaner times, and yes that extra money comes from the heat of burning power poles. Actually, can we just say "wish" instead of "pray"? We wish for a good fire season. A good fire season that only burns through sage brush and dirt, or whatever. (Please don't persecute me for my ignorance here, I'm sure I know nothing about wildfires and their good or bad influence on the environment, landscape, or economy).

And now we got what we wished for.
Sam left last weekend to work on the fires. He got back this Thursday night, and then unexpectedly got called and asked if he wanted to head back this morning. He didn't have to go- he has a few days off until they have to go back- but we felt like it would be crazy to waste the opportunity for extra work, especially with another baby on the way and one last semester of college tuition due next week.

So anyways, he packed a bag and left, neither of us knowing when he'd be home again, but knowing full well that he would miss Clara's first birthday. I'm actually crying just typing this. I know her birthday isn't an important day. We can celebrate our first year with her whenever we want, not just on the actual date. But I wanted to have a party for her. And I wanted to hold Sam's hand while she ate her first piece of cake, and I wanted to share a look with him that no one else understood. A look that said, "We did it. We got our beautiful baby girl. We kept her healthy and safe. We didn't sleep, we worried a lot, we learned just how much we do not know, and we fell so crazy in love with our daughter that we will never ever be the same. You and me, buddy. We did it."

Sam will be home soon enough. I will survive more time away from him. We've been living like this for 5 years, and we know that God will give us exactly what we need to make it through the hours apart. It's harder now, of course, because a certain wonderful tiny someone makes the distance seem impossibly far, but we can do this. And you know what? My normally quiet little house was full of people all day today. My dear friends, my cousins, my sister, my baby, and my nieces and nephews came through like a revolving door. I was really sad today. But my house was full of love. And cheese sticks. And toys. And coffee. And kisses.

I have a lot to be thankful for. And I am, I am so thankful. But I also needed a smidge of room for sadness tonight. What I remembered as I took a minute to cry was that I worship a God who has an absolute capacity for both: my sorrow and my joy. He is Protector and King, and He can hold whatever I am brave enough to hand to Him.

So here it is, Lord.
A disappointed handful of birthday cake.
A bit of regret for wanting fires to burn;
a bit of relief for financial breathing room.
A thankful heart for the people who love me.
And a few lonely tears.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Pregnancy Diaries: 16 weeks

If you missed this fun video, you might want to go watch it. 

The other day I was irritated at Sam because he told me:
"You may have set the world record for longest time leaving clean laundry in the basket."

He was folding said laundry so he could go to bed without worrying about it (I think, I don't know why else anyone would fold clothes at 10 p.m.).
So I said:
"Surely you know that I've left clean laundry MUCH longer than this. It's only been like, four days."

His mouth dropped open and he laughed while sorting out socks.
"Four days is outrageous! I can't believe how casually you say that. Four days!"

Alright, so this is just one of the many reasons that Sam does the laundry at our house. He slowly took over this chore because he couldn't handle my way of doing things.

1. How could I possibly remember which t-shirts, jeans, and sweatpants he wants me to hang dry? WHO HANG DRIES SWEATPANTS?

2. I don't mind washing the clothes. I just don't like putting them away. That's what the furniture in my bedroom is for: to hold clean laundry until I'm ready to wear it again.

3. But why, Sam, why do we have to check the lint trap between every single load? And clean it out so often? Let's be reasonable here.

So Sam does all the laundry at our house and he is really good at it, and I am thankful every single Monday when I have all of my clothes clean and put away for a new week. I tell him this all the time, but last week I decided to help a brotha out and do the laundry for once in my life. I got all the way through it, washed AND put away, until the last bit. Then I got tired of folding and just left it in the basket for later. At least four days later, turns out. Which is why Sam takes care of our clothes.

There are a number of things he is just plain better at than I am. Laundry. Car maintenance. Paying bills on time. Making dentist appointments. Remembering meetings. Besides the fact that he's super hot and still has the abs of an 18 year old (seriously, they are tight) (sorry mom and dad) (and sam's mom and dad), Sam is totally my better half. I am creative and imaginative and chock full of feelings, he is steady and good and responsible and wonderful.

Which explains why, after a particularly lousy day of morning sickness, weepiness, and forgetting to drink enough water, I commented that it's too darn bad he can't carry our children. Because he would do pregnancy RIGHT. Down to the actual giving up of coffee and exercising 30 minutes a day. Neither of us were shocked when he nodded yes, he agreed, that he would be the better choice to bear our babies.

Someday, babe. In a much better world. Until then, keep reminding me to take my prenatal vitamins and also... Thank you for taking care of us. We love you and our neatly folded pajamas very very much.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Saturday, August 3, 2013

a love revolution.

My heart is in a constant struggle between two sides of my absolute delight in our daughter.  On the one hand, her burgeoning language, movement, and cognitive skills are a fast stream of fun and challenges for me and Sam. Every day she does something new (this is the way of babies!) and every day we just can't believe that she is ours. But then I start penciling in all the August activities on our family calendar and well, well, what do you know?

Clara is turning one year old this month.

We have had an entire year with our little girl, and I would do anything to live it again. From the moment I went into labor to this very moment as I cut her grapes in half for lunch, my heart has filled and filled and filled. Clara's life, her 346 days in our family, started a love revolution in this house, an overthrow of our old way of living. And while I delight in every day that she grows and changes, I dread the days ahead when I wish to hold my baby again, the day that she is grown and I ache to smell her sweet baby skin just one more time. 

Sam and I were married four years before we had a baby, and during those four years I knew I didn't want a family yet. I was certain that children would be a hassle, a constant buzz kill on our self-filled lives. "We're not ready yet," we would dismiss with a wave of our hands. We worshipped our money, our time, and our freedom, I recognize now, and it was wrong.

I don't think everyone should be parents. Parenthood is a heavy responsibility, one we will answer to God for, and it requires more of a person than any other responsibility in the world. But it is also the greatest, most fulfilling, tear-your-heart-apart LOVE that can ever be experienced. This kind of love changes you. It shifts your focus, it alters your perspective, and it reveals more about your Heavenly Father than anything else ever could. I could not understand how God felt about me until I saw Clara and realized how I felt about her. 

The old me was right, of course: being a mother is difficult, frightening, worrisome work. Clara's needs, especially in this first year, have been consuming and constant. What the old me did not know - could not know - was how much better life would be when our children arrived. Better doesn't begin to touch it, actually. Parenthood is a rush of fresh breeze after a lifetime of sucking up canned air. I have ripped off my oxygen mask and felt the cool wind of beautiful sacrificial love, and I will never be the same.

A child's needs will reveal your faults, your strengths, your grit and your tenderness. It will wear down the bits of you that should not be there, and it will build up part of your heart that you never knew existed. It is frightening and thrilling and lovely, all at once.

I am learning this day after day after day after day, and you know what?
I only wish I'd had children sooner.
Let the revolution roll on, my friends.
Cause there's nothing better on Earth than this kind of love. Nothin'. 

These pictures are from a few nights ago. Clara let me hold her as she fell asleep, which has happened about twice since she was a newborn (the girl has got quite the independent spirit, let me tell you). You should've seen me; I was like a hiker who looks up and notices a deer lapping from a stream. I wouldn't move for fear of chasing the moment away. Especially since she is almost one, almost a toddler, a thought that makes me weepy. I motioned to Sam to please take a picture of the moment for me, in case there are not very many of them left to come. He did, and although I am in my pajamas with no makeup and they are a little blurry because the room was so dim... they have become a few of my favorite shots of all time. 
Thank you, my love, for capturing how I felt.