Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Penny Emerson : 13 Months // Third Trimester

Photos taken by Blue House Fotos

I have gained a new accessory and her name is Penny Emerson. 
It seemed as though overnight Penny reached the clingy, mama's girl, stranger anxiety phase. I have spent multiple nights at 3am with a scared baby draped across my pregnant body, nestled under my chin, trying so desperately to fall asleep on me (but honestly, there's not much real estate with a large bump in the way). I really enjoy this snuggly side of her. I love when she rests her head on my shoulder if I pick her up from her crib and sometimes it feels nice when she comes running to me for comfort. I like that she needs me and I like that I can comfort her. 

  It was reassuring to hear the doctor confirm that this stage is completely normal. Parenting has been great at shattering any judgements/ideas I had before Penny. When I saw clingy children I used to assume that they needed a little more tough love--that their parents weren't doing them any favors by babying them. But as we've reached this difficult stage I'm finding that it is physically impossible for me to lay in bed and listen to my sweet girl crying hysterically for her mama in the middle of the night. If there is one thing I've learned from parenting thus far it's that there is no one way. As a personal choice I choose to forgo tough love (when necessary) and cuddle the crap out of my baby until she feels safe again. 

This means learning to do lots of things one-handed with a baby on my hip. This also means a sore, pregnant back and extra braxton hicks at times :)
 Penny's personality has really been exposed within the last month. It's no shocker that she's very emotional and vocal. She gets incredibly frustrated when she can't communicate something and I try to remember that when she's convulsing on the floor because I wouldn't let her put the drumstick in her mouth. She LOVES attention (is there a child that doesn't?) and her eyes light up when I praise her for doing something. She is such a ham and loves to make us laugh--she knows that we get a kick out of the snuffy face so she does it often. She thinks every photo is "dada" and she can communicate by shaking her head and saying "no." She spends the majority of her day pointing to everything and saying "wassat?!" (what's that?). She head bangs to music like she's been a hipster for years and she loves when I pick her up to dance around the living room. She thrives when she is with others. She loves to play with other kids (even if we haven't quite understood the sharing thing yet) and I am so excited for her to have a sister soon. It's going to be a tough transition, especially if she's still glued to my leg, but I know we are giving her a great gift--a sibling and a friend.

The older she gets the more I am appreciating that I get to be the one to watch her learn each day. I constantly feel unqualified to be the one teaching her about everything, but I'm still glad it's me. It's not glamorous, but I truly love it. 

On another note, I have officially reached the last leg of this pregnancy! Though it has been more challenging with a little one running around, it really has flown by. 
 Aside from the discomfort that I've had from the beginning, this pregnancy has been extra special because my placenta isn't in the front. I can feel baby girl moving so much to the point that it scares me sometimes! Even when I'm exhausted and uncomfortable at night it's impossible to be discouraged when there is life moving underneath my hand. I'll never stop being amazed and this bouncy belly will never get old.
 My midwife said I'm measuring larger than 29 weeks but she assured me it was due to extra fluid and that I would not be pushing out a 10 pound that's always nice to hear :) As if life doesn't already get busy with the holiday season, I'm feeling a little anxiety and pressure as I prepare for baby. With all the amazing blogs and online inspiration these days it's hard not to feel like I'm behind if I don't have an immaculate nursery ready and waiting for my baby. The truth is, our baby girl will reside in the corner of our room for quite a while. And along with every other aspect of our life, I'm challenged with an attitude of content. So my goal for the next 2ish months (!!) is to try and free myself of the pressure of preparation. To take it slow, relax when necessary, enjoy my time with Penny-girl, *enjoy* the process of getting ready for a baby, and slowly prepare myself for the crazy-incredible thing that is labor. Oh, and pick a stinkin' name for our girl! 

I want to be present and grateful for every turtle-speed rotation in bed, for every ache in my hip, for every bout of hiccups in my tummy at 2am, and for every gentle and not-so-gentle nudge in my pelvis that says "hey mom, I'm still here and you're doing one of the most amazing things a woman is called to do--give life."

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Chase

(Try to ignore the fact that my blog title sounds like a Miley Cyrus song--pre-twerking, of course.)

Is it me, or are we trying to skip Thanksgiving this year? 
I was overhearing a conversation at the grocery store yesterday where a girl was telling her friend that it just seems too early to be thinking Christmas already and I was so happy to hear that I'm not alone! The day after Halloween I felt myself feeling overwhelmed with Christmas. Wish lists, decorating ideas, traditions for our family, and above all the looming question of "how are we going to afford this!?" I found myself getting bitter about our financial situation (being a stay at home mom means giving up certain financial comforts) and being bitter about our house (even the fact that we don't have a fireplace!) and worrying that I won't have enough time/energy to decorate and fill our walls with impressive things....

And then I realized, it's slightly ironic that Thanksgiving comes right before Christmas. Maybe I'm just WAY behind on this epiphany, but I was so convicted that I was spending more time getting stressed about a holiday that is almost two months away (at the time) that it was causing me to be ungrateful and discontent. Those habits creep so easily into my day-to-day and during the month of November (and, uh, the rest of my life) I just want to be still. To indulge in the joy of the gifts I have been given. To not feel behind in planning for the next big thing. 

Don't get me wrong, I seriously love the holiday season and I don't think there is any shame if someone wants to start celebrating early, but I noticed that all the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas way in advance was causing a lack of gratitude. And I don't want that for myself or my family. When I was little, I could have cared less about Thanksgiving because it didn't involved getting presents. I'd like the month of November--the gratitude month--to be just as important in our house as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our savior. Easier said than done, right? But I'm going to try to slow down. To rest in this time of family and food and for goodness sakes to quit lusting over the fancy, cozy homes of Pottery Barn and Pinterest. ONLY by the grace of God will I be free of expectations and busyness...and silly, worldly idols that are never easy to admit.

I have learned first hand that gratitude is not natural. It has to be cultivated. And as the mother of my home I take the responsibility very seriously to teach my children the importance of a thankful heart.

Cheers, J.

P.S. I'm not judging you if you've already whipped out the Christmas music. Do your thang.
Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fall Weekend

It was a fun weekend full of little memories I don't want to forget. 

^^This little profile. We have this routine where she wakes up from her afternoon nap and watches me put my makeup on/do my hair from her crib. Yes, I'm admitting to frequently waiting until after lunch to even get ready. Mom life. She likes to hold my comb and rub it against her head like she's brushing her hair. I'm not going to be the one to tell her nothing's there...^^

^^The tree in our front yard is gorgeous right now. It's half yellow/half green and she likes to play in the leaves.^^

^^We found a park close to Truman's work one day and it had the BEST pile of leaves. She was so mad at me when I made her leave, but we had a blast throwing them back and forth.^^

^^Those two top teeth. That smile. Her giggle. I just can't.^^

^^We had a little family date Saturday at The Mill. She gets to wear mama's hat until I can find one that I actually like for her.^^

^^She's an escape artist, for sure. Trums taught her how to run. Terrible idea.^^

^^And I chopped my hair! I wasn't not ready to face another dry, Nebraska winter with a head full of hair and a baby. I feel lighter and I get to spend 20 less minutes in the shower and drying my hair...think of all the things I can do!^^

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Penny's First Birthday

This was the only decent shot I got of Penny on her first Birthday, but that's because we were having too much fun celebrating! (And this is exactly why we had Blue House Fotos take professional pictures of her :)

I was an emotional mama, as expected. I'm not sad at all that my baby is one, I just can't believe it happened so quickly. She was such a tiny little thing when she was born and now she's this little fireball walking around. It's super cheesy, but we really do fall more in love with her each day. 

Forgive the low quality in the majority of these pictures, but these are a few of my favorites that captured the day.
^^ I purchased Penny's smash cake from Whole Foods and the pregnant, tired woman in me wanted to purchase the regular cake from them, as well. But unfortunately our budget wouldn't allow such laziness so I tackled it myself. It's nothing to write home about, but it was tasty and I was pleased with the end result! Most importantly, Penny thoroughly enjoyed her cake. ^^

^^Honestly...she acted like she's been eating cake for years. Looks like she's going to have a sweet tooth like her mama!^^

We're so thankful for the friends and family who were able to celebrate with us (and for those who were with us is spirit). Penny is loved by some wonderful people!

A few things about Penny at 12 months...

-She is attached to her bamboo blanket. She will frantically walk around the house looking for it and then dive into it when she finds it. It always has to be around her shoulders, like a cape, or over her head. I have no idea why walking around with a blanket over her head is appealing, but it's her thing. This has also caused a few run-ins with the wall...funny, but sad. 

-The girl has her own language. She is SUCH a talker and she'll go on and on as if she knows exactly what she's saying. She's been saying "dada" for a while now, but she finally started saying "mama" this week. On the way to work this morning, we got her to say "hi dada!" over and over. It's so fun to hear her forming actual words.

-She's getting to the age where she knows when she's being disobedient. I will tell her "no" and she will continue to do it anyway. Though the cause for discipline has been scary, it has been good for me. I'm learning to be persistent and to stay calm when she throws a tantrum. She hates being in trouble and is really sensitive when I'm telling her no (it's kind of sweet to see a softer side of her, but then she'll go right back to doing what I just told her not to. Silly girl.) I must shake my head a lot, because Penny will walk up to things that are "no-no's" (like the stairs) shake her head like she's telling herself no and walk away. It cracks me up.

-She got a few babies for her birthday so we could start practicing the role of big sis. She walks up to her babies, squats down to give them kisses (slash bites their head), picks them up and then throws them across the room. I'm assuming the gentle thing will come with age :)

Looking forward to spending some quality time with my girl before we enter into survival mode :)
Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Mind

This is how my mind works...

I'm cooking dinner yesterday (while trying to keep Penny out of every cabinet) and watching New Girl. Zooey Deschanel is waltzing around her apartment in some adorable getup that looks effortless and I think to myself "man, I don't look that good when I'm hanging around the house. Maybe I need to try harder...and get rid of the ugly lounge clothes that are my go-to." I started feeling really bad about myself and let my mind indulge in all sorts of lies (and, of course, coming up with a list on how I should change this). 

But then after a few minutes, I remembered that (1) this is a TV show for goodness sake (2) Zooey Deschanel has a team of people making her cute all the time and (3) the majority of her day doesn't consist of caring for the needs of a busy one year old and a husband. And ultimately, I had to force myself to remember that my value will. never. rest in my ability to look cute without trying (or to pretend that I'm always put together). My value lies solely in the Lord and the way He sees me. 

There's nothing wrong with putting effort into an appearance as a woman. In fact, I think it's important to take care of ourselves. But in reality, the fact that my go-to house clothes are high school t-shirts and leggings with a hole in the thigh (every. single. one.) doesn't make me less valuable in God's eyes. And maybe I should stop comparing myself to celebrities and cool mom-bloggers... yeah, that's probably it. 

Am I alone in this? Someone HAS to feel what I feel from time to time. I can't be the ONLY one who actually looks like a mess when she's not trying... right?     right?

Sorry, rant over!
Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fall Essentials

Though we have been technically celebrating the fall season since September, I wanted to dedicate a blog to the way we welcome the new season. I used to hate fall. To me, it meant school beginning, summer ending, and the dreaded football games. Not to mention the fact that winter is right around the corner. However, as I've grown (and am no longer a student) I've come to love this season and all of the blessings it brings. One of them being cooler weather! I love, love, love the heat but my pregnancy and this summer's heat was just getting to be too much so the day I could turn off my AC and open the windows was a happy one!

I created a few unintentional traditions for our family throughout the past couple of years. One of the most important ones being the Bath and Body Works fall candles. My obsession with them is a little unhealthy. I'm very picky when it comes to candles but these few will forever be my favorite and I hope that as my children get older they will associate these scents with our home and the fall season. Every September I wait for the 2 for $20 sale and stock up on the Leaves and Nutmeg & Spice candles. I also tried the Pumpkin Caramel Latte candle and will be adding that to the favorites. 

There's no need to ramble about my love for fall fashion. Chunky sweaters, boots, leggings. I love it all. I also love sporting the classic darker nail polishes this time of year.

This "tradition" is a dangerous one. Roasted peanuts and candy corn. Once you start you can't stop. 

One of the most essential pieces to welcoming the fall is jazz music. I have great memories of running errands on Saturday mornings in Lincoln with the windows cracked and big band music playing on the radio. Truman also takes me to pick out an old record each year for my birthday. Some of my favorites are Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, and of course Frank Sinatra. I don't know what it is, but there is something about a cool morning with jazz that makes it so rich. Try it, I dare you. 

Aside from jazz, James Taylor's "October Road" is an absolute must and a tradition I will forever hold dear to my heart. One of my favorite childhood memories is of my dad playing that album through his old sound system in the fall. 

Along with classic music, I also crave watching classic movies during this time of season. When Harry Met Sally being one of them. Maybe it's the autumn-inspire cover that gets me in the mood, but I watch it every fall! I think what I love most is Truman always pretends that he doesn't want to watch it, but he ends up laughing more than I do through the whole thing ;)

Last but not least, cheesy potato soup. This is one of my favorite recipes and it's the first soup I make of the season. 
You can find the recipe here.

Chalk it up to my need for organization, but traditions are really important to me. What I love so much about them is that half of the time they are completely unintentional. Most importantly, they create comfort and warmth in your home. I am so excited to continue traditions with my family and to also create new ones as we grow!
Monday, September 30, 2013

Arbor Day Farm / Kimmel Orchard

We crossed another thing off my fall list by visiting Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City. Last Year I was too pregnant and uncomfortable to even want to walk but I remember being really excited to take our baby girl the next year. We chose a beautiful day to go! The fact that Penny can walk is a blessing and a curse. It's SO fun to let her explore and be independent, but she loves it so much that any time we put her in the stroller or need to pick her up she has a MAJOR melt down. We found ways to get past it and still have a good time :) 
We also stopped at Kimmel Orchard to do a little apple picking. The orchard was beautiful and they were selling lots of yummy treats, but we were all so tired from walking around at Arbor Farm that we just picked our apples and didn't hang around. Penny loved playing with the apples on the ground, but keeping her away from the rotten ones was difficult. She and Truman went to pick her very own little apple and they sat in the grass and ate while we picked :)
 Making memories with my little family is just as wonderful and I dreamed it would be. Can't wait to bring baby sister here next year!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pumpkin Patch

Watching Penny experience new things is my absolute favorite. 
I've always loved the beginning of fall, but with a child I get to enjoy it differently. Suddenly buying pumpkins and attending cheesy-touristy pumpkin patches is so fun because it means I get to watch Penny have fun. The faces she makes when she's seeing something new are priceless. I have a long list of fall goodies I want to introduce her to and I'm thankful I could check one off this weekend. 
We heard great things about Vala's Pumpkin Patch and it was a blast! I wasn't expecting it to be as huge as it was. We were definitely tired of all of the walking by the end of the day. Most of the activities were meant for older kids, but we found a few that Penny could enjoy.

Truman is such a great daddy. He was tired and sore from his Tough Mudder race this weekend, but he took Penny on this bouncy thing and she had so. much. fun. She was completely unaware of all the other kids bouncing as she made her way across the bubble so Truman spent most of his time protecting her. She's got a fearless attitude when it comes to adventure. She also threw quite the fit when we moved along to the next thing :)
It was a fun afternoon and she passed out the second we got in the car :)

I love enjoying this beautiful season with my family!

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