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.

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