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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

oh, and the tooth fairy can go to hell.

Here's a question plaguing me:

Why the heck do we give money to KIDS for LOSING their teeth, instead of giving it to their PARENTS for dealing with the teeth coming IN? I want to wake up after a long night (or week) with a teething baby and find $5 under my pillow. Money with which I will buy myself an overpriced coffee and probably a donut or two because I haven't slept well in a long time, and damn it all if I don't deserve a few maple bars.

Yo, Tooth Fairy.
Those kids who are losing their teeth?
Big freaking deal.
How about a little love for their dads and moms? You know, the middle of the night doctors and nurses, the gum massagers, the rock back to sleepers, the snugglers, the Tylenol dispensers, the very people who help usher those painful tiny pearly whites through a baby's gums, only to then see those beautiful hard-fought teeth fall out a few years later to much fanfare?

Yesterday Clara woke up around five, but not quite awake, more like crying in a painful nightmare, her eyes glued shut with sleep but big tears still rolling down her cheeks. Her 12-month molars are trying to break through, and when she gets upset in her sleep like that, all she wants is to nurse. I mean, she hasn't actually nursed for a month, mostly because it hurts while I'm pregnant, and I'm almost positive there's no milk anyways, but sometimes that's all she'll take as comfort. Why oh why this girl never took a binky, I will never understand. But even nursing wasn't helping yesterday. Nothing was helping. Not a snuggle, not a warm shower, nada. So we made breakfast at 6:45, and around 7:15 I woke up with my face in the scrambled eggs. I picked my head up off the table and saw Clara slumped over, asleep in her high chair. I snapped these pictures before I put her back to bed, where she slept peacefully until 10:30 a.m., allowing me to finish my homework, clean up the house, and even drink some coffee. Small mercies, oh hallelujah :)

I love this girl. I love her dark hair, I love her blue eyes, I love the face she makes when she is thinking about disobeying, I love the way she yells my name across the house, I love how she stops everything to come find me for a kiss, I love watching her mind work, I love her spunk and her sass and I love being her mama. Scrambled eggs in my hair kind of mornings and all.

But the tooth fairy can still suck it.

Monday, October 21, 2013

a dolla makes you holla (at the pumpkin patch)

We went to the pumpkin patch with our friends a couple of weeks ago (just like every other family in the world, no?) and it was fun to see Clara wander away from us, running and yelling, wide-eyed and ecstatic to feel free in the great big world. She marched around on that hay like she owned the place, fell on her face more than once (those furry boots are a size too big and hard to walk in, so sue me! That girl's foot is still a size 2 and I'm tired of waiting to get out of crib shoes) and she thought she was very, very grown up. We could tell. So much so that we opened her a saving's account that very afternoon in the pumpkin patch, because a local bank was there with a money-wind machine thing that we wanted to try, ha! Any cash you could collect in 30 seconds you got to put into your new account. You're welcome, Clara. Daddy worked hard for that $10. Now go to college. 

Smoochie the adventurer. 

  Penelope and Aunt Chelsea
 Clara and Finn, just chatting. 
 Clara comforting Oliver during a little meltdown. 
Amanda's newest love, the sweet Piper. 

Cassidy and Finn and the sun on their backs. 

Penelope and Oliver on the hay ride

Happy Autumn, everyone :) 
May your harvest days be filled with furry boots and flying dollar bills.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

Horney Fridays (don't act like you haven't had a few)

Smooch and I have been sick all week, and she's been waking herself up coughing during every nap and bedtime lately. But for some reason all the coughing was scaring her last night, and she kept startling herself awake and crying big, scared, awful sobs until we went and got her. At some point Sam just put her in bed with us, which is something we've tried to do about a million times before. We miss having her sleep between us, but she doesn't like being touched while she's asleep, so normally she won't stand for our snuggly mushy ways. But last night, hoorah! She nestled herself between us and stayed until morning. When I blinked awake with the sun, most of my pregnant belly hanging off the edge of the mattress and my pillow turned vertical so I could fit into my allotted two feet of bed space, I looked behind me and started laughing. There was Clara Noelle, spread eagle between her mom and dad, toenails digging into Sam's back and her head sharing most of my pillow. Sam groaned and rolled over, his scratchy morning voice a low rumble across the flannel sheets.

"Well, little queen bee, how did you sleep? Get enough room? So glad you're comfortable!"

She yawned and stretched her miniature feet even harder against his skin in response, then leaned her head back to nuzzle me and start chatting (she wakes up talking, I'm not kidding. Like, before she's even actually awake, I hear her talking in her crib). Sam laughed and pulled her close, which she fought and whined about of course, but too bad kid, that's a dad's prerogative.

Having Sam gone two weeks a month is a strain on our family, and none of us like the separation. But when he's home, he has six days off in a row. And on Fridays I don't have any classes or rehearsals, so every other Friday morning is a delicious family time of sleeping in, sharing our toast and coffee, and soaking up the precious moments we get with our feisty little girl. Although, I've been sort of obsessed with our baby boy recently, unable to read or concentrate on just about anything as he rolls and kicks around inside of me.

I wondered if this second pregnancy would be as novel as the first, and in some ways it definitely doesn't seem to matter as much. But I don't think a person could ever get over the feeling of another human living and moving inside of them. Like fruit seeds turning to trees, or the heavy quiet of snowfall, it is a magic that cannot be explained.

So on our Friday mornings together as Three, we are swiftly becoming Four. We all talk to my swelling belly, telling 'little brother' how much we already love him. Clara likes to kiss my stomach and lay her head across me, which of course we just think is the cutest thing we've ever seen. (But also, she demands direct skin contact, so that's always weird when she wants to lift up my shirt in public. Like father like daughter, huh?)

I love that she participates in our interactions with a brother she doesn't understand or see yet. People keep asking me if I'm worried about when the second baby comes, that I'll lose this alone time with Clara or that it will be hard to share my time and love with two kids. But I actually feel just the opposite. I cannot believe how I feel about my daughter. She has changed the shape of my heart and created this new me, this mother me, and I cannot WAIT to share that with our new baby. If Clara has put this much love and fun in our house, can you imagine what TWO babies will do?

Me neither. Bring it on, baby boy! We've gots lots of room in this every-other Friday morning snuggle fest, I promise.
But please don't put up a struggle to our kisses and hugs...it will get you nowhere. Just ask your tortured big sister.

I love this picture from this morning because Clara looks like such a baby instead of a toddler. 
So I forgave my hair looking like sideburns and posted it anyways. 
Just keepin' it real, people. You're welcome. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

these are the press-in moments.

Clara and I drove a couple towns east this weekend to spend two nights with Sam. If it had been to see anyone else, we definitely would NOT have left home. My car started acting up a few days before our trip, and I didn't feel comfortable driving it that many miles. But then my amazing sister offered her car, and let me take it for the whole weekend. (More on that later.)

 Clara is sick with a fever and cough, too, and I would've preferred to keep her home and away from other germs. But whenever I start to doubt whether or not these weekend trips to see Sam are worth the effort, I think about how I feel leaving Clara for the day for school and play rehearsal. Then I multiply that by 8 whole days, and suddenly the work of getting out of town with my daughter doesn't seem like such a burden after all. Sam hates being away, and every time he gets back home, he comments again and again at how much Clara changed while he was gone. And every other Monday, on the night before he leaves again, I stand silently at the door of the nursery and listen to him whisper his goodbyes as he rocks her to sleep.

So, if we can go- we go.

I actually wondered if Sam would even want us to come visit this weekend. Clara has been a disaster since she picked up this cough, crying, out of sorts, not wanting anyone except me. But when I mentioned that to Samuel, he said, "Bring it on!" I told him that he might be one of the only dads in the world who would WANT their wife to bring a sick and cranky baby to share his hotel room for the weekend, and he scoffed. "I always want you guys here. I don't care if it's a great time, I just want to be together."

(He does laundry and he likes sick babies? I think I just got pregnant again.)

While we laid in bed together last night, the hotel room darkened and all three of us in our pajamas,  the fresh smell of our clean hair and skin filling the room after our warm showers, I marveled at Clara's hands. One of them gripped the front of Sam's shirt, and the other reached back to press against my face. She fell asleep in that position, her petite fingers and sleepy body curling around the warmth and security of her parents. After a long few weeks of struggling to get in a rhythm with school and the play and babysitters and a husband who is gone half the month, and feeling like I fail and fail and fail; this moment brought healing.

I did not know that parenthood would be like this. I did not know the pressure that comes with raising a person, the absolute fear and disappointment that lurk behind every decision and mistake and possible situation with my child. I want what is best for her. I want to CHOOSE what is best, I want to be a mother who loves like Jesus, I want to be a wife who is a fair and thankful partner, I want to be the best version of myself for these people who fill my life. But when I am not- when I am not, and this is most often- I have to trust that it is these moments that will press in most firmly to Clara's heart. These quiet, laying on top of the quilt, falling asleep in the safe valley of her parents' arms moments. 

She will not remember this night. She will not remember most of these days and nights and early years, and yet it is in these foggy subconcious twinklings of childhood  that God is whispering into her heart, "You are loved. You are safe. You are wanted." We are teaching those things to her. Yes, we are making mistakes. We don't know what we're doing. But that is not what she will know about us, and that is not what she will think of herself. She will know that when she is sick and not quite herself, she is still wanted. She will know, somewhere deep down in her soul, the comfort that came from our acceptance and adoration as we kissed the soft dimples on her knuckles as she drifted to sleep. She won't remember the mistakes, and she won't even begin to understand the pain of parenthood and our aching desire to give her our very best. (Because no one understands that until they are a parent. And thank you, mom and dad. Have I said that lately?)

No, she won't remember much from these first few years. But I know in my bones that these wisps of tenderness and close shelter from our hands will press into her skin, imprint a legacy of love and connection that cannot be shaken, and that is the greatest inheritance we can offer. Not perfection. Not every right answer. Just love.

So mistakes be damned, I will keep on. I will sift through the muck of life for these press-in moments and cherish them up in my heart, all the while praying the same for my daughter and my son. May they know the love of God first through the love of their parents, and may we be an inkling of the open arms that their Heavenly Father always, always extends. He understands the breathless CRAZY LOVE of parenthood, and surprise, surprise: He does it even better.

and all the tired, unsure, crazy in love parents said,