coming up for air. the last three months have been a strange whirlwind of changing diapers, breastfeeding, mopping up spit-up and trying to get the haunting chimes of baby toy music out of my head. and yes, there’s also been a lot of gazing lovingly at this little creature who has interrupted everything we know to be normal. i tried to post something at 2 months but i just didn’t know where to start. i find the whole blogging-while-parenting thing to be this strange dance where you tip-toe around trying to be positive but also truthful without feeling sorry for yourself. those first few months are brutal, and it’s hard not to make it sound like you’re going through the worst thing ever because the world as you know it has disappeared. even social media is tricky. you post a hundred cute pictures of your baby in those first few months, but do you give any indication of how you really feel? do you tell all those “friends” on facebook the cute picture of your daughter snoring was made possible only because she didn’t sleep at all the night before? do you tell them about week 2 where after a particularly bad night you tearfully told your husband you just wanted “to go asleep and not wake up”? probably not.
when i first started this site i had fallen in love with this blog, i loved the photos and how this woman made it seem like all she did was dance around barefoot with her kids all day. i later found this one and loved her style too. and now? i sort of can’t stand them. there’s something about these for-profit parenting blogs (they make money by touting certain products) that rings false, and i know both of these women have dedicated part of their “about me” sections to talking about how “my life’s not perfect” and “i only share the good stuff” but i look at some of their posts of early morning donut runs and trips to the park and now they just make me kind of angry. i think to myself “you lied to me!!!!”
but here’s the thing. when jameson started sleeping better a few weeks ago, i remember telling my best friend how life was getting a little more “doable” because the baby was less
like the spawn of satan fussy and talia sounded surprised. she said: “all we saw were adorable pictures…”
so there you go, i’m guilty of it too. and you know what? when jameson gets a little older and we decide to run out for donuts one morning, and i look at her adorable face smeared in whatever icing covered confection she’s chosen, who says i’m not going to want to blog about it? and i don’t want to judge the women referenced above, i don’t know them personally so i really have no idea about what their lives are like. i will say i have since found other blogs that depict what i feel is a more realistic view of parenting, this one was recommended by another new mom (thank you stacey) and is one of my favorites.
this thing we’re doing? it’s hard. (although you wouldn’t know it to ask my very-german mother, who raised 15 children and after hearing me gripe over the phone about how no one adequately prepared me for the
horrors difficulties of breastfeeding simply responded: “Women complain a lot these days, they didn’t complain as much in my day.”) but i also find that in my worst moments, there is help, often help i’ve prayed for while falling asleep-slash-crying, but still, help. a lot of times it’s come in the form of another mom who was kind enough to share some wisdom gleaned from her hardest moments.
“Sleep deprivation is not a joke. They use it to torture people, it is an actual method of torture.”
friend Kelsey, another new mom
“I seriously held both my boys all day every day until they were about 4 months old.”
friend Kate, mother of two
“A breastfeeding baby will take everything you have, they will suck the life right out of you.”
sister Billi, mother of five
“Your baby will fall off something, probably a couch, they just will. And they’ll be fine.”
former co-worker Becky, mother of two
even now, as i talk about how hard it is, jameson surprised us all this morning when she took her nap without the usual swaddling-shushing-lumineers pandora station combination we use to get her down. she just fell asleep, right on her playmat, with me staring dumbfounded. that was another piece of advice i’ve held onto, just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they switch it up on you.
in the self-help world, they tell you to “speak your truth,” which i take to mean “be authentic.” so here it is, here’s my truth. things are pretty good. we had a baby and the world did not end. with some coordination, we have slowly been able to get some of our former lives back, including long runs for charlie and long bike rides for me. our home is filled with lots of music and entertainment and happiness. and yes at times there is frustration as we work to figure out what exactly baby james is trying to tell us, and it’s going to be that way for a while, but it’s good.
our daughter is finally here! (as made pretty clear in the video below, but seriously, this is the first time in the two weeks since she was born that i’ve had a chance to blog about it, so stay with me).
we named her jameson, which is a name that kept coming up over the course of the pregnancy and it just seemed to fit when we saw her for the first time (even though we took a good two days before filling out the paperwork in the hospital just to make sure we weren’t screwing her up for life).
we considered so many different options over the past nine months, but ultimately we wanted her to have something uniquely hers. we never really hear the name jameson and i love that it could go either way, since both charlie and i also have unisex names (i shared my name with two boys in my class while growing up and it seems like the name “charlie” for girls is really growing in popularity) … now, i’m not going to say i didn’t freak out and second guess ourselves when picking up some medicine for the baby and the pharmacist asked if “he” had any allergies and then spelled her name “jamison” on the bottle … but that probably had more to do with hormones and the fact that jameson was screaming at the time.
as for the middle name, lucia, it almost was her first, but we decided it was way too girly for her after she glared at us for the first time when her feeding was cut short (this girl is serious about her eating, she’s only two and a half weeks old and already weighs more than a pound over her birth weight). lucia is not a very common name in the states and since we’ve heard it pronounced a couple different ways (loo-CHEE-uh and loo-SHA) which are the italian and english versions, we just wanted to clarify it’s pronounced as the latin american version, (loo-SEE-ah) and means “light.”
so, much more to come, though at this point i’m not sure how much i’ll be able to post. becoming a parent is really intense and wonderful and overwhelming and everything that people wait to tell you until you actually have kids because they don’t want to freak you out. it is hard, but charlie and i, who were already freakishly close, are only becoming closer as we try to figure it out, tag-teaming each other just to get a few hours of sleep, slipping each other food and coffee while taking turns rocking
begging our daughter to sleep. i’m just so thankful to have such an incredible partner in all of this, and one who takes such amazing pictures of jameson, catching so many of her different looks and expressions.
charlie also made the video i posted below in an effort to share some of our experience with close friends and family. we set out to take a belly photo every day, and while we didn’t exactly hit our target throughout the pregnancy, we came pretty close (or more accurately, we squeezed in as many as we could in between the restless nights and raging heartburn…)i will say that one of the toughest parts in all of this has been not being able to really share it with my mom. i know i’ve previously talked about being from a family of 15 kids, but only after having a baby do i realize just what an extraordinary woman she is. i asked my brother a few months ago to send me some photos of her while she was pregnant but he couldn’t really find any (which is crazy considering she was pregnant over the course of three decades but not so crazy if you know how much she hated having her picture taken) this was among the ones he did send me, and i love how tired/happy she looks. without her guidance, i find myself asking my siblings (and frankly any parent willing to listen) as many questions as i can, praying constantly, and trying to remind myself the baby will eventually sleep through the night. so stay tuned for more stories about the girl we’ve nicknamed “baby james,” details on all our first-time parenting mistakes, and the exciting conclusion to the following dilemma: does it matter that our pediatrician has never had a baby herself and is so young she makes doogie howser look “mature”?
talk amongst yourselves.
these bloomers from j.crew were among the items i suddenly decided that i desperately needed. you have to understand that here in iowa, we are still in the dregs of winter, and the idea of it being warm enough to dress a baby in nothing but a white onesie and these adorable bottoms was all i needed to click “add to basket” … but then, there was the price, which was around $25 to $40 each. and after finally getting all the baby equipment we needed (this process took a couple months, and i had started to shudder every time we passed by the infants section at target) i was really done with spending money on miniature-sized items that we’ll only watch our baby grow out of over the next couple months.
so, onto the next best thing.
after a quick google search i came across this step-by-step guide on martha stewart’s website (of course) for how to make your own baby bloomers. we have a sewing machine thanks to charlie’s sister, and the instructions seemed pretty easy, so i was excited to at least try … which is saying something considering my interest in anything home-ec-like died the day mrs. lage introduced our 10th grade class to the sewing machine. in order to emphasize just how important it was to stay alert, she told the lighthearted tale of how one of her students wasn’t paying attention and actually managed to sew his own finger, with the needle crushing right down to the bone (to be fair, she knew how to make a point) the story obviously took, because i’m antsy around the machines to this day..
but then, you know the age-old-story. boy meets girl. boy shows girl how to conquer her fears. boy ends up being really good at sewing. boy is really, really, really patient.
yes, it was my husband who convinced me that i could start making my own stuff, which is really appealing considering i’m the type of person who will come across an article of clothing that i like but could really love if only i could make a few changes. and when faced with the prospect of dressing a baby girl, the idea became more and more appealing as soon as i realized how hard it is to find clothes that don’t have an animal applique or the words “cutie” stitched across the front.
i’m so happy with how these turned out. the whole project cost just under $15 in materials (we bought enough fabric for three pairs) i can’t wait to try something else.
waiting for baby girl … four weeks until our due date. i could say we are just now officially in full-on preparation mode, but the truth is, it has been pretty hard to focus on anything else for a while now. it’s crazy how someone who didn’t exist in your world a few short months ago can suddenly consume most of your thoughts, not unlike falling in love. so happy. so trying not to be anxious. so going to direct my focus to making time for just charlie and i before baby makes 3 … well, before baby makes 4 with buddy.
and while we’re on the subject. buddy is such a special part of our lives, it’s really hard to imagine anything competing with that. we’ve heard from so many people “oh we used to be like that with with our dog too, just wait until the baby comes…” and it’s hard not to take it personally and shout back something insane like “well you don’t know our dog, sir!!! good day!!!” see, i told you, insane. so instead of projecting all these insecurities, i’ll just share a little section we’ll call, ‘the best of buddy.’
charlie calming buddy down during a 7 a.m. trip to the vet after he started making this weird gagging sound we later found out was a cough. i was so scared i just put him in the car and ended up picking up charlie (who was on a run) on the way to the animal hospital.
the best of buddy: a sampling.
the way he approaches his sleeping position on our humongous bed by walking around for a second, circling, and then plopping right down on my legs so that i have to curl them up against my chest. and there he stays, until charlie looks over, sees how cramped i am and prods him to move, with me saying “it’s ok” the whole time because i secretly love having a little heater at my feet. the way he both demands to be treated like a human (i know there’s dog food in my tray but what are you guys eating?) and also acts completely like a crazy dog, going through the garbage and eating things that make us just stare at him and say “what is wrong with you?”
the way he tackles the day. buddy is one of the happiest living things i have ever encountered. my biggest fear is that one day he’s going to come across a cougar and approach him like “hello friend!” and then proceed to get eaten. he’s just that happy, and i love it. the way we both love him. buddy has been there from the beginning of charlie and i, before we became an “us.” he is a constant reminder of who we are and the things that are important to us (yes, even the non-dog things). just, total perspective, that’s what he brings to the table.ok, i could go on, but buddy keeps coming in to check on me and making heavy, exaggerated sighs as he slumps to the floor. time for a walk.
i wanted to share a little bit from life lately and our first summer since moving to iowa.
so many great moments, so many things to love about this time of year, from fresh fruit and fresh flowers, to taking the time to visit friends and the new places. charlie and i went to san francisco for our anniversary and had so much fun. i also got to sneak away to d.c. for a weekend to see one of my closest friends and take part in the washington post’s annual post hunt.
talia and i acting like the post hunt wasn’t hard … it was
back in iowa, the summer heat and humidity took some getting used to, but this week it really started to calm down and feel like fall, you can just smell it in the air … if that makes sense.
i’m already lining up boot/sweater combinations and preparing slow cooker meals, even though we’re still in the 90s. but i can feel it, we’re close.
i apologize for the absence of posts lately. things have been so busy with me starting a new job and charlie and i trying to find time to be together (he works nights and weekends, i work regularly monday-friday schedule). for the past several months we’ve had this really blissful period where we had tons of time to ourselves, and it’s been a challenge to go back to the same work schedule we had at the start of our relationship, when charlie worked weekends and i worked a regular work week. then, i spent a lot of time being jealous of other couples who shared regular weekends together.
and now, here we are, back to that same schedule.
but so much has changed.
we’ve learned how to appreciate the time we do get together. we don’t get as cranky with each other when we know that we’re really just upset about the situation and, in most cases, tired and/or hungry. and our commitment has only deepened (the marriage seems to have really brought us together)
in this second time around, i’m also finding myself constantly amazed at how much i lucked out. i couldn’t have picked a more supportive person to share my life with, and i doubt that would have sunk in as much had we all the time in the world together.
it made me think of something a friend said recently. her husband works during the week while she works weekends and while we were chatting recently, it came up. she said the reason their arrangement works is because the foundation of their relationship is so strong. you don’t find that out when everything is going like you planned, you find that out in the struggles (as any motivational speaker/life coach/weight loss guru/oprah wannabe) will tell you.
but it’s true.
i think charlie and i are both learning to live in the present moment more, appreciate the small things, not worry so much, look at a photo and get lost in how happy you were when it was taken.
this weekend was the four-year anniversary of our first date. we went on a quick road trip saturday after charlie got off work, and he took this photo of buddy and me during one of our stops. i look at this and find it impossible to feel any lack, any want for anything else.
charlie spent last week in kansas city covering iowa state university in the big 12 tournament and buddy and i tagged along. the warmer weather was amazing, so much so that i was too busy enjoying it to take any photos outside=) but i did manage to get a few from indoors.charlie has been doing some amazing things with video lately. i loved the preview he did for the tournament and this time lapse video he did this week.we were incredibly grateful to have family friends in kansas city who opened up their home to us while we were there. it was so much more comfortable than staying in a hotel.
the pep rally before isu’s final game.
our awesome hosts, tim and shawn
love, love shawn’s boots.
i don’t think i was quite prepared for the intensity in which isu fans watch the cyclones. charlie grew up in ames and so the team is a big part of his childhood.