Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Edie's New Favorite Toy

Girl is all over the house with this thing!

Hope you're having a wonderful week.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturday Style: My Little Wildbird

Baby girl is napping away in our new ring sling (mamas, you want to get your hands on a Wildbird!) after her movie star debut this morning. The doctor who revised her tongue and lip ties (and saved what little sanity we had left!) invited us to come film our story for his website, so that's how we spent our morning. 

Just wanted to thank everyone who reached out in response to my marriage post this week. It's so hard, you guys, but we're trying to muster up the energy to fight for it and it's so encouraging to hear from those of you who have been there and made it through to the other side. I debated whether or not to post something so personal but I felt convicted about possibly portraying our little family as too social-media-perfect and not being completely honest with you. So there we are in all our yuck.  Thank you for loving us anyway.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

On Whether We're Ready to Have More Babies: An Honest Essay on the State of Our Marriage

It's eight o'clock in the evening, and I'm nursing my baby girl to sleep in our bed. By OUR, I mean my husband’s and mine. I mean OUR marriage bed. But, based on the past six months, the bed may as well belong to my daughter and me--my husband has slept on the couch most nights. He did this for a number of reasons in the beginning--he wanted to get sleep and baby woke often, he didn't want to wake her while getting up for work, he didn't want to go to bed that early, he had some work to get done, etc. Now, this many months in, there's really just one reason--one big one--and he's never directly said it. But we both know he doesn't come to bed because it's easier to sleep alone, because our perfectly innocent babe has all but destroyed our marriage.

Daniel and I met in junior high through our church youth group. I thought he was the nicest boy I'd ever known. We dated long distance through college and when I graduated a little early, I moved to be with him. I met all of his friends and felt so proud that he was loved by so many--he's one of those guys everyone is excited to see because he makes everyone feel important. As an introvert, I was fascinated by the way he could work a room. I felt lucky to be on his arm. We got married in the fall after he graduated, and I loved the newlywed newness of falling asleep and waking up against him.

Less than three months into marriage, we found out we were going to be parents. I took seven tests and then sat on his lap until my laughter turned to tears--this pregnancy was almost impossible. But the Lord was blessing us with a child, and we agreed it was good. We agreed it was also good that we had nine months to prepare and that God didn't design it to be like, "You're having a baby!" and then all of a sudden you swelled up and felt the urge to push. No, we had plenty of time to get ready.

I think back on that moment and the love I felt for my new husband as he opened his chest to me to lean against and laugh and cry simultaneously, and I hardly recognize those weepy newlyweds.  In the last six months our eyes have been filled with something closer to hatred than happy tears.  Our daughter hardly gained weight in her first five months of life even though she nursed constantly, and as we were sent to doctor after doctor for test after test, we shifted into survival mode. My husband had no idea his offer to do the cooking for the first bit of Edie's life would mean every night for six months because I was busy nursing and pumping and then nursing again with an SNS nonstop and falling deeper into a depression as my baby grew thinner and each test failed to tell us anything. I didn't know how to help her, he didn't know how to help me, so neither of us knew how to ask anyone else for help. It didn't take long for us to feel extremely isolated from everyone, including one another.

By the time she was diagnosed with severe tongue and lip ties and we had them revised, I was angry. Angry at the doctors for telling me I was wrong when I suspected ties before she fell off the weight chart, angry at myself for not knowing my daughter was going hungry, angry at the whole situation for stealing our joy in what was supposed to be the sweetest season, angry at our marriage for not being strong enough to hold together in such a trial.  And when it took another six weeks of nursing/pumping/SNS to teach Edie how to nurse properly before she started gaining, I completely fell apart, convinced that putting her through the surgeries hadn't solved anything and I must be unfit to mother, for I was out of ideas.

Six months is a long time to go without having a real, non-panicky conversation with your spouse. It's a long time to go without a gentle touch or a word of loving encouragement. So when at six months Edie finally started gaining weight, there was no celebratory kissing or flowers for my hard work.  There was no massage for Daniel for leading our little family through a trial. There was just more confusion in place of what had finally been worked out--how do we go about being married again after half a year without connecting? How do I love my husband when my heart feels so tired from loving my baby so hard out of desperation for her life? How do I pick my life back up and act like I'm not experiencing severe post-traumatic stress from it all? Who is this person I've been sharing a house with this whole time?

It's been three months since our girl started gaining, and I still don't have the answers. We're starting counseling and hoping it'll open a window of communication and understanding.  We're loving watching our girl discover the whole world, but we're weary of having any more babies for fear of what it could do to our marriage. 

I'm sure when all of this becomes a less fresh memory my arms will ache for the newness of a tiny babe, but first I want them to ache for my husband. We're just not quite there yet.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Letter to My Right Boob

Dearest Tiny One,

I'm sorry, but you just don't have what we're looking for at this point. She's in love with the left side, and honestly, I feel more comfortable when her fuzzy head is in the crook of that arm. It's not your fault--you're a great boob. You did your part in producing at the beginning, it just didn't feel right. I don't blame you for shrinking back to prepubescent size from neglect.

The other side just felt right from the start. You know, you were there, out in the open for the whole birth team to see as I brought her up to latch on my left first. And now here you are, two cup sizes smaller than your sister (if I had to guess--it's been months since I've stashed you in a proper bra).

I know you see her marathon nurse before she switches to you for less than a minute, then switches back. I know you heard her father joke about his former hope that I'd have a set of nice girls to look at, "Well, you got one big boob out of this deal. Great."

You're not anyone's favorite now, but your time is coming. When your big sister wears out and decides to start hanging out with my belly button, I'll wish we'd given you a little more attention. I'll love you more.

For now, I'm sorry. Stay perky.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Bucket List: Lavender Fields

Visiting a lavender field (and stocking up!) is one of my summer bucket list items. Isn't the photo above just a dream?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Eden Faye, Nine Months Old

Hi, friends! I'm nine months old today!
Here's what I'm up to lately:

-I weigh 15 pounds, 10 ounces and am almost 27 inches long.
-I'm in the 11% for weight and the 15% for length.
-I wear 3-6 months clothes and size 2 diapers.
-I took my first step on July 3rd at 8.5 months!
-I started standing up on my own without pulling up on anything just after eight months.
-I can crawl really fast but I'm more interested in standing and walking at this point.
-I seem to know who "Mama" and "Dada" are when I say them. I say "Mama" when I want to nurse.
-I take three naps most days. Lately they're about an hour long.
-I go to bed between 7 and 8 and the past week I've been sleeping until 6:30 or 7 before I'm ready to be up for the day! Mama doesn't miss the 5 am wake up.
-I nurse throughout the night and sleep with my head on mama's shoulder.
-I have to at least check in with the boob every half hour or less.
-I eat solid food two to three times a day.
-I love scrambled eggs, almond butter, and ground beef the best.
-Peaches are the first food I've totally refused to eat.
-I laughed a lot this month! I'm very ticklish. I also think it's hilarious when Penny catches food Mama throws to her, when Mama does pushups and I crawl under her and her tummy gently bumps me in the head, when she smushes her face with her hands and talks, and when she laughs. I laugh with her!
-I'm very proud of my own toots.
-I'm also proud of my own sneezes.
-I love banging a spoon on my highchair tray.
-I'm very brave. I've figured out how to get out of the straps in my highchair and stand up and how to climb the sides of my packnplay.
-I understand what "No" means.
-I love playing peekaboo.
-I scrunch up my nose and breathe real fast just like my mommy used to at my age.
-I swam in the ocean this month! I thought the sand was more interesting.
-I stand up and bounce up and down to music.
-I love when Mama sings.
-I have a hard time deciding who I want to hold me when Dada gets home. I reach, reach, reach and make him and Mama pass me back and forth.
-I love books and have gotten a lot better at sitting still when Mama reads to me.
-If you hide something from me, I'm very determined to find it! (like your cell phone)
-I love watching videos of myself.
-I seem to recognize my Grandpa and always reach for him when he visits.
-I hate baths by myself but love them with Mama.
-I'm becoming very cuddly. Sometimes I just crawl up to Mama to lay my head on her arm or chest and look at her for a minute.
-I sit in my highchair and play with a spoon while Mama makes herself breakfast in the morning.
-It's becoming impossible to change my diaper. I don't have time--I'm on the move!
-I also hate putting clothes on.


Sweet Eden, you are just so much fun! I love our days together. You've become so independent this month.  I could just sit and listen to you babble to your toys all day but eventually I can't take it anymore--I have to sit down on the floor with you to kiss your head and get in on the action. I'm so thankful you're my daughter and I already very much cherish the friendship we have. I feel like you've always been a part of me, and at the same time I can't believe how quickly you're growing and changing. I love you so much it hurts!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Links for the Mamas

Birth Without Fear is coming to OKC in the fall! I've been following this movement since Edie was born, so when they announced the new location and date this week, I jumped on it.  Will I see you there?

Have you seen this Kickstarter campaign?  This UK mum is trying to get funding to print her magazine focused on life after birth. Is this something you'd read?

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Edie Wears Overalls

This weekend Edie wore overalls for the first time.

I have no explanation for why I think my daughter in overalls is the cutest thing ever, other than I still can't believe I get to be her mommy and I'm kind of in love with her. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Collin + Kallie

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of photographing a lovely little wedding in the woods. The rain cleared 30 whole seconds before we were scheduled to start taking pictures.

This was one of those really special ceremonies where the groom's love for his bride overwhelmed everyone watching. He wasn't the only one crying. The Lord has great plans for these two, that's for sure.

Are they one seriously good-looking couple, or what? Goodness.

Congrats you Collin and Kallie, and thank you for blessing me with the opportunity to capture such a beautiful day!