A daily...meh, weekly dose of babies, reality, and love.
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Guest Post: Jamilyn

New blog feature! People are always asking to guest post on this little blog, so of course I'm giving first honors to one of my three sweet sisters. Two of my sisters, Jamilyn and Becca, live in the same town as me. They watch my baby ALL THE TIME and take such good care of her - and me. The only "problem" is that both of them don't like to eat or bake with processed sugar. They are geniuses at adapting recipes and making delicious, healthy food, and Jamilyn is sharing one of those recipes here today. I actually love that they care so much about what their families are putting in their bodies, and we are admittedly pretty strict about what Clara eats as well, but Sam and I will proudly open our doors to our nieces and nephews for "Aunt Jessie cereal" (i.e. Honey Bunches of Oats) and "Uncle Sam snacks" (i.e. fruit snacks and ice cream) forever and ever, amen. 

Please welcome my beautiful little sister, Jamilyn Barrett!

Hello! I’m Jamilyn and I am SO excited to be contributing a little something to this wonderful space that Jessie has created. I may be biased because she is my sister/best friend, but she is seriously wonderful with her work! Here's my contribution :) 


It is a time to gather together with a “more the merrier” heart, to welcome friends and family into our homes to share a meal and our time. I read a book to my kids this week about this very thing, entitled Thanksgiving Graces By Mark Kimball Moultan and I may have shed a little tear while reading this part:

“That’s just the way it seems to work.
The more you love and care,
The more there always seems to be
For everyone to share.

So come- the more the merrier!
Of this, I have no doubt-
That sharing what we have
Is what Thanksgiving is all about!”

I’ll be hosting my first Thanksgiving this year (we’ll see how that goes), and at the same time trying to stay away from processed sugar (but I love dessert)… So in the spirit of sharing I thought I’d share a recipe with you. These are my favorite naturally sweetened Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Enjoy this holiday with an open heart and welcoming spirit, bless someone who can’t repay you, and remember to give out of the abundance the Lord has given you.  

You’re welcome to come join our table!


Monday, November 25, 2013

in the cold of midnight hours.

Look at that little fit-thrower. Sheesh I love her. 

I've reached the point of pregnancy where I dread nighttime, because sleep is a distant, elusive shadow. I can only handle a Unisom induced sleep and next day hangover about once a week, so here I am, hooting away with all the other night owls. But tonight as Clara dreams away in her crib, and Sam sleeps with his head on my lap while I watch Christmas movies alone in the dark, I am thankful to be awake. I'm treasuring these moments away in my heart, as a sleepy family of three in our sleepy little house. Time is rushing away and I feel almost guilty, because I know in some part I wished it so. This fall has been a crazy season in our lives and much as I tried not to, my mind ticked with the pace of "this too shall pass, this too shall pass." But now, you see, it is passing. The play is over (step 1). Next is Thanksgiving, then graduation, then Christmas, then soon after our baby boy will arrive. People keep asking what my plans are after I graduate and all I can do is stare at them with a pained look, because I can't seem to think beyond the end of January and my due date. Shouldn't I have a plan? A job? A way to make my degree worth something, to make myself valuable to the community? 

I mean, yeah. Probably. 

But for this Monday midnight hour, with my husband's even breathing keeping a slow rhythm beside me, and a prayer in my heart of sincere thanks for both of my healthy growing babies, I'm practicing the art of being. 
Being a mother. 
Being a student. 
Being a wife. 
Being patient. 
And being grateful. 

Oh so, so grateful. 
Happy Thanks Giving week, my friends
the Horneys and our little bear.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

sometimes sam can make me crazy.

Sometimes Sam makes me crazy. A few weeks ago, he wanted me to help pull apart our leather sectional couch and clean every inch of it; wait 30 minutes; then polish every inch of it.

To put this kind of behavior in perspective, there was a good portion of my childhood in which you could not even walk through my bedroom. The space between my door and my bed was waist high with unfinished school work, all of the books I was reading, scraps of paper and journals, soccer gear, and mounds of clothes. And by 'a good portion of my childhood' I mean 'every single day,' with these few exceptions:
-When my best friends Jenna and Amanda would come over and clean my room for me so I could get ungrounded and go play with them.
-On the night before Christmas, when I would stay up until two in the morning cleaning and sorting, dusting and vacuuming, and listening to Christmas music. Because even messy people should have a clean holiday season, I've always declared to myself.

So the girl who only cleaned her room twice a year is now unlatching furniture and kneeling with a lint-free cloth and leather cleaning solution to polish a couch. 

Miracles do exist. Believe, ye doubting masses.

When we had Clara, I got a lot of advice from people who encouraged me to 'let Sam figure out his own relationship with the baby,' or to 'let him do things his own way,' instead of taking the typical mom role of handling the brunt of the child care with occasional help from my husband. And I had seen this scenario play out in many different facets: the mom knows what she is doing, and the dad sort of fumbles his way through it. This is true most places, I'd say, whether it's on TV (our media does a great job of making dads look like idiots, which is a very damaging and lasting commentary that our children are soaking up, I believe), in the parenting styles of previous generations, and even with friends and family. And so I consciously prepared myself to "let" Sam parent with me, to give him a chance to do things his own silly little way with me to clean up after him.

Boy, was I wrong about those expectations.

I attribute most of how Sam acts in our house to his own parents, who raised their children very much as a team. I love my in-laws with my whole heart, and they have always been a friend and support to me and to their son, both separately and as a couple. But I have never been more grateful to them as I am when I watch Sam with our daughter. He amazes me every single day, truly, to the point that I don't know why I am still surprised by his actions. Yesterday I came home late after a long day at school and then a tech rehearsal for the play. Sam had been with Clara by himself the entire day. When I walked in the door, every piece of laundry in our home had been washed and put away. The kitchen was spotless. The baby was fed, bathed, and ready for bed, her birthday money had been deposited in her new savings account, and they had also made a quick grocery trip. Clara was happy and loved, and I had clean clothes for my busy week ahead.

There are days I'm home with Clara when I can barely get anything done at all, and I'm completely overwhelmed. Not every day, certainly not most days, but sometimes. And yet Sam makes it all look so effortless, and he does it with joy.

I know that his parents modeled this to him, and that all of his brothers carry the same kind of competency with children and household duties. And it makes me want to instill that same sense of confidence and patience in my own sons; it makes me want to raise good fathers, not just good men. Because I think there's a difference, I really do. But here's the catch: I can't model fatherhood to my children. Only Sam can. So what is my job in teaching them what a good father looks like? Besides prayer? Here's what I'm thinking, tonight anyways, in my second year of parenting, anyways :)

1. Give Sam room. He doesn't always make the same choices I would. He will parent differently than I will, he will cultivate different relationships with our children, and I need to give him room to be a father- not a sidekick to a mother.

2. Praise Sam in front of my kids. I want them to know how much I appreciate his hard work, and how important he is to me and to our family as a whole. I want them to know that their dad is a grand example of God's work in someone's life, and while he is fallible, he is a beautiful example of how much their heavenly Father loves them.

3. Trust that God will redeem our mistakes and use them for good in our children's lives. I'm not sure which will be harder: letting go of my mistakes, or letting go of Sam's mistakes. I know we will both make them. But if God is working on anything in my heart right now, it is that grace has been offered freely to me and I am expected to offer it freely in return- to myself and to others.

Sam and I are making a family together. It is an intricate and delicate process, so full of joy that we practically burst sometimes as we watch our little daughter laugh and dance, or hear our son's heartbeat thumping through the doctor's office. And while I still can't believe that my genes are connecting with Sam's genes to create these tiny people (I don't even know how our sperm and egg agree on anything in time to reproduce) I am so glad to be the mother of his children. Even though he can make me crazy sometimes, and marriage is not always easy, he is mine.
And it's pretty good over here.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

8 things you don't know about me.

Have you seen this game around Facebook lately? Someone gives you a number and you have to write that many things about yourself? I got the number 8 from my friend Libby. I'm finishing my assignment on here instead, and retitling the game:
"8 things you probably already know about me because I keep a blog and also talk about myself a lot."

1. I have a real, true, absolute fear of cotton balls. I do not keep them in my house, nor do I ever touch them. It makes me sick just typing this out.

2. Giving birth to Clara was the best experience of my entire life. I would go through labor and birth a million times over being pregnant again.

3. This one is hard to admit. I struggle with deep depression and anxiety when I'm pregnant. I've noticed myself slipping back into that same dark place with this pregnancy, but knowing the signs and understanding that it is a real problem, not just me being anti-social, has helped a lot with the coping. I had never heard of pregnancy depression before I had Clara, and didn't even know it was happening until after she was born. I remember feeling complete euphoria the first few days after I delivered her, and then noticing a few months later that the feeling still hadn't gone away. I realized then that it wasn't euphoria: it was just normal me. But it had been so long - 40+ weeks - since I'd been myself that I didn't even recognize what was happening. Depressed Jessie is a stranger to me. Phone calls and texts stress me out. Checking e-mail and Facebook induces hyperventilation, because what if someone wants to see me or is upset about something or just wants more than I can offer? I don't gain much weight when I'm pregnant and I suspect the main reasons are because I don't sleep well, I'm not hungry, and I worry all. day. long. It's hard to take care of myself during this time in life, and it's embarrassing to admit how much I struggle with pregnancy when I know I should be thankful for the chance to carry a child. It's embarrassing to admit any of this, actually. But that leads me to number 4.

4. I am thankful for this depression. In the past, I've never understood people who were depressed or fought mental illness, or even just extremely introverted; I mostly considered them weak. Or boring. God has used this hurting time in my life to soften me, to pull me inward, and to teach me the importance of walking lightly through other people's lives. My pregnancy with Clara revealed a lot. It helped shift my priorities, taught me how to know a true friend (a lot of people didn't really dig depressed Jessie), and peeled back the painful raw truth of my utter dependence on God's promises to see me through the dark times.
I am not strong. 
He is. 
I am not perfect.
He is. 
I am not able to do all things. 
He is. 
Those promises have held true during this time of pregnancy with my son, and created room in my heart for a grace towards others, and myself, that I've never had before.
And for that, I am so so thankful.

5. I'm nervous to give birth again. But not because I'm scared. Clara's labor and delivery were perfect. Perfect. I have never felt so empowered or grateful or strong or loved in all my life, and I'm nervous that my son's delivery will fall short of all that. It's a silly fear, and I know that when the day comes it will be exactly as it should, but still... I am nervous. I want to re-live August 22, 2012, but I can't. I have to unclench my fists from any imagined control over this baby or his arrival, and that is surprisingly difficult. I also have to recognize that part of this worry is hormone induced anxiety, and separate myself from these crippling fears and their whispered lies of inadequacy and disaster. Fear is not a real thing; it is a premeditated emotion over an imagined future. What foolishness to dwell there! But still...grace from God to me, and grace from me to me, because He offered it first. Being patient with myself is a hard (and humbling) lesson to learn.

6. This semester of school has been a joke. Not only am I almost done with my degree (remember senioritis? It's definitely still a thing), but I'm writing and directing a musical for kids, raising a toddler on my own half the time, and due with this new little guy in January. To say that my studies have been an afterthought would be an understatement. And I hate that. I used to relish my time alone on campus, spending hours writing and doing homework in empty corners of the university library, a little world of academia unto myself. But I can't do that anymore. I can't do it all. And, in part because I fight so hard against the numbing pain of depression anyways, I refuse to even try doing it all. I do not care about my grades. I am doing the bare minimum in classes that I signed up for because I knew I was talented enough to skate through them, and I will continue to turn in sub par work until I graduate in a few weeks. I really hope my professors don't read this, and I feel terrible that this is what it's all come to, but if I have to choose between holding my sick baby all night or turning in a great paper, the choice comes (terribly) easily.

7. Last year I SWORE to Sam, up one side and down another, hands held high in both surrender and pledge, that I would NEVER EVER WRITE AND DIRECT ANOTHER PLAY FOR THOSE DAMN KIDS AGAIN. I had already done it four years in a row and enough was enough.

In other news, are you coming to see Charlotte's Web this weekend?!
It's playing on the stage at Eagle High School on Friday at 7pm, then Saturday at 1pm and 7pm. Tickets are $5 at the door.
I adapted E.B. White's classic story into a play as part of an independent project for school credit. My friend Cassidy helped me direct it and my friend Clint designed all the sets and costumes. I also wrote song lyrics and Clint composed original music for the guitar and banjo. It's a full length musical starring kindergarten through 5th graders at an Arts magnet school. We've been rehearsing for 10 weeks and it's going to be pretty great.
And let's just say Sam Horney isn't always impressed with my life decisions...

8. I still wake up hungry in the middle of the night and want a bowl of cereal, just like I did during most of my childhood. And sometimes when I'm out in the quiet, dark kitchen, my mouth watering at the sound of frosted mini wheats clinking into my bowl, I miss living with my parents and my six siblings. Because someone else would have always been up with me :) But then I crawl back in bed next to Sam, who rolls over with a sigh and tangles his legs up with mine, and with my belly full of mini wheats and his son, I fall back asleep in the warmth and appreciation of what my own family is becoming.
One Horney little baby at a time.

{Pregnant with Clara --->}

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

to my son.

To my son, on a late night with just the two of us:

Someday, you will know that I wanted another little girl. You'll know that the idea of a son was frightening to me, because what do I know about raising a boy? About being a boy? About becoming a man?

I know nothing of those things. And so the news of your coming worried me. But as I sit here all alone at the end of our long dining table, my back to the darkened house and Christmas music softly playing through peaceful rooms as your dad and sister sleep...
here's what I do know.

I love you. I love you so much that sometimes, when other people are talking to me, probably telling me very important information or asking me questions that need immediate answers, I am not listening. I am gently cupping the bits of you that I can feel through my skin, the knee behind my belly button and the elbow above my hip, cupping your tiny body encased so safely in mine and blinking back tears at the wonder of it all. There I sit, pretending to listen to my professors or classmates or friends, but consumed with the thought that I am carrying YOU, my son, carrying you and nurturing you and comforting you in the absolute perfection and silent capabilities that God gives a woman with child.

I love you. I love when you twist and turn, I love when you push and kick, I love when you lay still in sleep. I love that you are Clara's brother. I love that you are half of my husband. I love that you are half of me. I love that you will make our family bigger, sweeter, closer to what it was always meant to be. I love that we were meant to be yours, and you were meant to be mine.

I love you. I love walking through campus with a secret in my belly. I love that you will join me as I walk across a stage in just a short while, my partner in these final months of school, a second heart beat beneath my black cap and gown as I hold the diploma that we've all worked so hard to achieve. Daddy and Clara have sacrificed so much to make this dream of mine spring up and take root, and now you can say that you helped. You were a part of my dream that I didn't even know existed. We are a team of four and we have all made this happen, and I love that you will blink and stretch inside me when that last day comes around and I am finished, and we can all breathe in relief.

I love you. I love you for being our son. I love you for the pulse of life that hums in my veins. I love you for the cheeks that I will kiss, for the arms and legs that will someday grow longer than mine, for the thoughts you will think and the words you will say; I love you. For the mistakes you will make, the tears I will wipe away, the hurts I will not be able to mend, the imaginings that will delight our home, the surprises you will bring to our lives, and the man you will become; I love you.

Baby boy, it's dark outside. A November kind of dark, when the moon shot up before the sun had a chance to wink goodbye, and the world tucked away as the winter cold crept across lawns and lingered outside closed doors. The people on our side of the globe closed their tired eyes long ago, and I will follow soon. But before I lower the lights, and kiss your beautiful sister one more time, and nestle in next to your daddy for a night of sleep, I wanted to write and introduce you to the love that's waiting for you. Listen: Stay in there as long as you like- rest and grow and enjoy the solitude, truly -but know that I love you. That my arms ache for you. That my heart is full of you. That you are the answer to our prayers and a gift that I will never take for granted.

I love you.