16 Weeks

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Rainbow baby is the term for a baby after the loss of a previous child. It is the understanding that a rainbow’s beauty does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean that the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds.

I feel you now baby, little flutters and tickles every once in a while. I’ve felt your soul since the very beginning, but feeling your movement is such a relief. I even bought a doppler and though I don’t use it often or for very long, every time I hear the flutter of your heartbeat it soothes those jagged places that still exist in side of me.

Baby, you are so strong. The beginning of this pregnancy was just like the last, but you held on, charged through. When I thought you were lost, you waved to me as if to say, “I’m right here Mom, don’t worry.” But I do. I worry all of the time. I love you so much, I want you so fiercely that I worry every day. With every nudge you reassure me, though and I am no longer gripped in fear all of the time. I understand your strength and it helps me be strong, too. I have so many hopes for you, and I can’t wait to meet you.

I love you, Baby. Bigger than the moon.

16 Weeks

Traveling TV Free

The most common advice I see for parents traveling with children is to get them a portable DVD player. It makes me cringe every time. We all traveled long before TVs in the car were an option and we all survived it. Most of us probably enjoyed it. Emi is a well-traveled child. At 2 she has already flown across the country three times (and once in utero!) and has spent countless hours in the car since we live so far out in Middle of the Desert Land, USA. She wasn’t always an easy-going car rider, in fact to start with she couldn’t be in the car for more than 5 minutes before making herself vomit from screaming. It was torture, stressful for everyone and I am glad we’re past it. Eventually she took a pacifier and that helped her stay calmer and I learned how to nurse her without ever taking her out of her car seat. It was still bad. I considered turning her front facing against everything I believe, simply because I was so desperate for the situation to be different. It was a rough road to travel (no pun intended) to get where we are now, but I am glad I waited and trusted her to self regulate as she developed.

She is still rear facing at 2 years old and a little over 20 lbs. I will keep her rear facing as long as she is within height and weight limits. I think it’s important to note this because even rear facing, you can help your children become self-soothing, independent, happy travelers simply by trusting them to be. I traveled often as a child, always by car, and we didn’t have cell phones or TV’s to keep us entertained. We had our imaginations, small activities, and each other. My memories of family road trips are some of my favorite ones and I want Emi to have that experience as well.

Before starting out I packed Emi a little bin of activities: booksa coloring book, a magnetic drawing pad, wooden musical instruments, and a puzzle. I used velcro to secure the puzzle pieces so she would be able to play with it vertically. I made sure to have music she likes on my phone and I also packed her some snacks in these awesome spill proof snack cups, and a water bottle. I tried to keep it limited but varied, as not to overwhelm her with options.

Emi happily occupied herself for most of the ride playing independently. What was supposed to be a 3.5 hour drive turned into 7 hours and it was tough for all of us towards the end. As she started getting restless she wanted to be involved more with us. So we all sang songs and played games. It was during these times that we had the most fun and the car was filled with laughter. I know that by getting through these tough times instead of distracting her from her discomfort or boredom, I am equipping her with important life skills. Sometimes it’s hard, but it’s not impossible and it’s so worth it. Next time around I will try to incorporate her toys into the drive if she gets restless, but since she can’t see out the window yet it’s a little hard right now. We could have used her Brown Bear, Brown Bear book to practice animal noises or her car puzzle to look for those types of transportation as we drove. There are always more ways than one to play with a toy, so keep reinventing.

On the return trip, once we got close to home, Emi started to get tired. All she wanted was for her dad to sing her songs and Mommy to hold her hand and we were happy to oblige. As the sun set with her little hand squeezing my fingers and Ross softly singing You Are My Sunshine, I couldn’t have been happier.

Traveling TV Free

On The Eve Of Two

Today you are one. Tomorrow you will be a big girl. A bigger girl. Somehow at two the world has decided you take up too much space to be a baby anymore and you’ll become something else. Someone with her own seat, Someone with her own ticket, someone who needs her own menu… Not quite a baby, not quite a kid, just somewhere in between the spaces.

It’s surreal.

As I write this I feel the tears coming on. They’re going to spill over and if you catch me sitting here crying you’ll climb up onto this unfamiliar bed, put your still 1 year old hands on my cheeks and you’ll ask me “Mommy is sad?”

“No,” I’ll say. “Yes.” I’ll decide. “Both.” I’ll finally understand.

Because I am sad. I am sad that I am losing my baby so soon after I lost the baby I thought would make it easier. Because, in a selfish way, it is sad to watch you grow up. It’s heartbreaking to know every day you are one day closer to going your own way, and that every decision I make now is geared towards preparing you for that time.

But I’m happy, too. So happy! I laugh so much because of you. Today you sang songs in the car I didn’t even know you knew and I thought my heart might explode. Because you are bigger. Because every day you do something to amaze me. You take my breath away and you fill me with joy. Because without you I wouldn’t have been able to survive losing something so precious. And even so, without that loss I might not appreciate all of this so much.

Baby girl, my baby for a few more hours, I love you so much. You are everything I could have ever asked for. You are my soul. My bright eyed, independent, fierce little girl who’s got my chin and my smile and my eyes. You’ve got your dad’s tenacity and intelligence and cheeks. You are the best and the worst of us and you make it perfect. My little big girl, I am so lucky to have you.

So tonight while you are still my baby, my only baby, I’ll cry a little but I’ll laugh a lot. Because I love you as big as the moon, as much as the stars, as endless as the universe!

 Tomorrow you will be two.

Too much.

Much too big.

A big girl.

My bigger girl.

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On The Eve Of Two

Snapshot Saturday

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My ray of hope.
My reason to keep trying.
My first, but not my only.

Snapshot Saturday

Sleep and Other Drugs

Lately, Emi has been going two or three days sleeping only about nine hours, then she’ll crash for 12+ for a day or two. On her worst nights she cries all night while I hold her, all I can do is sleepily comfort her, let her know I am there. Some times she sleeps through the night (in fact more and more she does) and sometimes she wakes up and drags her pillow to our bed if she isn’t already in it. Getting her to sleep is the real trick, sometimes it takes two minutes sometimes it takes two hours. But all of that being said, it gets better every month and we’re making it through, we’ve survived inspite of it.

After two years of parenting a very bright, independant, happy, secure child, (who was also a very unhappy, high strung, overstimulated, attached infant) I’ve learned a lot of things. One of those lessons is that some kids don’t sleep well. Period. It doesn’t matter what you try, whether you cry it out or co-sleep; floor beds, routines, cribs, lavender, melatonin, fans, white noise, blankets, no blankets — IT DOES NOT MATTER. It’s not your fault, it’s doesn’t make you a bad parent. It’s just the way your child is. That’s not something anyone has ever told me. In fact, I’ve only heard the opposite. That I needed to figure out the secret to my child’s perfect night of sleep. So I’m saying it to you, whoever you are reading this through burning eyes, half derranged and barely holding it together, it’s not your fault. Survive this night the best you can, fill up on caffeine if you need to, and keep your chin up. Tommorrow may suck too, and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, but eventually things will change and it’s not going to be something you can do all that much about.

Sometimes I lose sight of the progress she’s made when it’s 11 pm for the third day in a row and she’s yelling “Emi go fast!” while running circles around my bedroom. Then she lays on my chest while I play with her hair and tells me she loves me over and over while I coax her gently and lovingly into sleep and I find a little redemption, for her and for me. I do the best I can and I love her through all of it, and that’s all that matters.

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Sleep and Other Drugs

Coming This Fall

announcement

She ate two biscuits before I could get these shots.

Once I cried, “No! Stop eating the baby!”

Welcome to real life.

Coming This Fall

Where Was I?

The stuff and things version of my thought’s today…

So my 6OL challenge is wrapped up and I literally bagged up over HALF of my closet to take to Goodwill. I didn’t post daily about it because I often neglect my blog when I feel overwhelmed, but I did try very hard to stick to it. There were a couple of days where I threw on something not on my basic items list, or where I lived in pj’s, but over all it really made me aware of the clutter. I also realized that less clothes also equals less struggle in the morning. In closing, there is NO way I could have a closet consisting of 6 items of clothing, but I don’t need a hundred either.

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The next few months are going to be hectic for me. In March alone I’ve got a baby shower to help throw and three camping trips planned. The first one is coming up and my trailer is still COMPLETELY gutted. Yay for me. Then, it’s time to plan and prepare for Emilia’s first birthday party in June, followed by the Tough Mudder, an 11 mile obstacle course, and The Hub’s and my fifth wedding anniversary in July. That’s right, FIVE years of marriage and we’re both still alive.

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I’ve been working with my friend Brian, a local photographer, and I’ve been having a lot of fun tagging along with him on shoots and learning as much as I can. I’ve still got a long way to go before I’m any “good”, but it’s the first time I’ve really pursued a hobby and I am enjoying the process. I hope to have some pictures to share soon. I’m going to a little ghost town soon and I think it will make a fun location to shoot at.

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One of the camping trips we’re going on involves two women who’s parenting styles and philosophies I really admire but I can’t help but feel a little intimidated. How am I going to compare, am I a bad mom for using Aveeno sunblock instead of Badgers? Can I successfully treat my daughter with the respect and skill I’ve seen them use? Is it wrong that I’m giving Emi coconut milk or string cheese or super market meat? I know it’s silly, and it’s not that I feel judged or inadequate in any way, but I am human and I do want to “get it right” even when “right” has many different faces. I writing this not to illicit sympathy or encouragement, but because I have a lot of new-mom or soon-to-be-mom friend’s who I think need to see they aren’t alone. Everyone worries and wants to do better, but instead of letting my insecurities make me feel judged or defensive, I try to acknowledge them for what they are and be honest with myself.

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Last year my brother got me a 16X20 wrapped canvas for my birthday and I have been waiting to choose a picture until I found one I loved. Although I wish I could wait until her first birthday pictures, it expires this month so I chose a recent picture I took of Emilia and I am now anxiously awaiting its arrival. I have a feeling I am going to be hooked on canvas prints when I get it.

The picture I chose

And this is just a small glimpse of all of the thoughts floating around in my brain right now. Hello, Monday.

Where Was I?