You Can Grow Here

grow instaYou can grow from the rock, you can grow anywhere.

We own a duplex and live in one half while we rent out the other half. It’s small and cozy and the place we’ve called home for the last four years. I always wanted to move before having a baby because it seemed pretty ambitious to fit even one more thing in such a small space—especially a baby and all the crazy equipment babies come with these days.

I thought my plan was going to work out beautifully. We bought our fixer-upper over a year ago and even when I found out I was pregnant last fall, I still thought for sure we would be all moved and settled before the baby arrived. I was wrong. First we said it would be ready in the spring. Then we said it would be ready by the end of the summer. Now I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping we make it in by the end of the year.

And so sometime in the next few weeks we will bring our little baby home to the house I always said was too small for such things. It’s amazing how you can adapt and change as life and circumstances require you to do so. Somehow we have managed to make room for our little guy—a bassinette tucked in the corner by our bed, a small dresser for all his things against the last bare wall in our room, the living room rearranged to accommodate a rocker, swing, and bouncer all three, the stroller folded up against the door we don’t use, and cabinets emptied and rearranged for bottles and bibs and all his tiny foreign things. It’s tighter and more crowded than ever before and yet somehow, a little to my own amazement still, we have found a way to make it all work. As this little guy takes up more and more room in our hearts, so we have found a way to make room for him in our little home too.

It’s funny how this lesson has had to repeat itself so many times over in my life. Perhaps I’m a slow learner. I always think things have to be just so or they simply can’t be at all. But I have seen again and again that life is fluid and we must be flexible if we’re to survive the ebb and flow of things beyond our control. If you had told me nine months ago that we would be bringing our baby home to this crowded little house, I would have been frustrated and certain it couldn’t work. And yet here we are—hospital bags packed, tiny clothes washed and tucked away, ready to bring this baby back to the only place we can really call home right now.

And you know what? It will be fine. We’ll be fine. The baby will be fine. Nothing will be ruined even if things have worked out so differently from how I had planned. It’s just another step in this journey that will continue to unfold with or without our permission.

I’m sure being a new mother and learning how to care for a child will be much the same way—not at all how I think it will be or should be and yet we will grow and change and learn along the way how to do what’s before us—however imperfect it may sometimes seem.

Learning to Fly

birds

A momma bird decided to build her nest and raise her flock of five fuzzy birds in the rafters of our new house. We check in on them each time we’re at the house and have watched them progress from eggs, to little fuzz balls curled up asleep, to little fuzz balls peaking curiously over the nest and showing off their big yellow beaks. I about die from the cuteness and hope our own baby bird has a fuzzy head of hair like theirs.

Darren is holding off siding that part of the house until the baby birds have left the nest because he doesn’t want to hurt them. His heart is as deep and wide as the sea and I love the glimpses I get of the father he will be in the thoughtfulness he has for all living things.

darrenWhen Darren isn’t melting my heart caring for baby birds, he is terrifying me doing guy stuff like this—wiring the house by standing on a chair…on two planks…over the stairway…after he ripped two fingers open doing other such nonsense. He is excellent training for a man child.

card{Darren’s first Father’s Day card—it perfectly describes everything I love about him}

Speaking of baby birds, ours is almost here–we’re three weeks out from game day, or so we hope.

35 weeks

This is my belly; it’s gigantic. I don’t know how many weeks along I was in this picture and I don’t think it really matters anymore. The other day an old man in the grocery store commented on my belly and wanted to know when I’m due. I told him next month and he said, “Oh, you’re not big enough to have a baby next month.” Well done old man, well done; there’s a reason you’ve lived so long ;]

Babys corner 2

This is baby’s spot in our room until we move and have a nursery. I have a little canopied area set up by our bed with his bassinette—I call it his “baby throne” because that’s what it looks like to me with the canopy and lights and fanfare :]

What a bunch of rambling this post is; sorry. I leave you with some favorite lines from Victor Hugo:

“Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.”

As I think about having this baby in the next few weeks, I often recount these lines and think I know how the birds feel when they must leap from the nest and find their wings. I hope I can fly.

Room to Grow

me down

us

original

We are working on our 8th month of baby building with 7ish more weeks to go until his expected arrival.

For now our little family looks like this—a couple of cute sleepy heads who just wouldn’t get up this morning :]

Darren is wearing himself out working on the house remodel…and the cat, well the cat’s just lazy…and he’s in my spot :]

I love them though—actually, they’re my favorites and sometimes it’s hard to believe there will be any room left in my heart to love anything else. But I’m guessing I’ll find room to love this baby. Just like my body amazes me with the way it stretches and grows to make room so my heart will stretch and grow too. Love is like that—it builds and stretches and grows and there is always room for the possibility of more if we‘re willing to be stretched and changed a little {or a lot} along the way.

Bump.

PicMonkey CollageBack when I thought I had a bump at 18 weeks and couldn’t wait to document it…and my actual bump at 31 weeks :]

The baby gave me a fright today. I always feel him moving, all the time, every day. Then this morning after I had gotten ready for work and was ready to leave I noticed I hadn’t felt him at all since I got up. I rubbed my belly trying to rouse and wake him and told myself not to worry.

Darren came over and told me how beautiful he thinks my bump is and I told him I couldn’t feel the baby moving. Of course it’s nothing, we agreed; he’d start bouncing around as soon as I ate breakfast I said. So I ate and I sat in the car riding to work with my hands resting on my belly waiting for those reassuring little kicks and flutters. Nothing.

It’s such a small thing, all those little movements, I hardly even think about it sometimes. But it feels like I can’t move or breathe when he is still and I can’t feel his life inside of me. Darren and I sat silently in the car the whole way to work and I fought back tears when Darren asked me again if I could feel him yet and the answer was still no. I asked God to watch over our baby and begged that I could please feel him move, that I could know he’s still okay.

And then there was a little flutter. A little push here and a strong kick there. Our lazy little guy woke up and his movement set our hearts at peace again.

Today I’m celebrating my bump and the bundle of life that moves and grows within. So many people I love have lost babies, babies they dearly loved and wanted. Being pregnant is both one of the most exciting and most terrifying things I have ever done and I don’t ever want to take for granted a single flutter or kick of our little son; sometimes that’s all you get, sometimes that’s all the life you ever get to know. I can’t wait to hold him on the outside but for now I’m holding him close on the inside–cherishing his life and movement and the incredible peace and joy he brings with every one of his little ninja moves.

He is worth it, you know. Giving life is always worth it.

Four Generations

Yesterday was the first day of my third trimester and I got to spend it with the two most influential women in my life–my mom and grandma.

4 gen

Three generations holding onto the next. This baby has no idea how many hands and hearts are holding him already.

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Don’t Tell My Mom

Hey guys, this is the baby. Mom is distracted so I decided to sneak a few words in on her blog—nobody tell okay? Okay. So guess what? I’m a boy! Mom thought for sure she would get a girl. She grew up with five brothers so she thought she was done with boys for a while but here I am. It’s okay though; she tells me every day that she loves me…even if I’m another crazy boy :]

I’m getting really big now—I’m 6 months old! And mom can’t hide her baby bump anymore either. The other day she saw some people she hadn’t seen in a while and they were like, “Whoa! What’s that!?” So I must be pretty obvious.

baby

When I’m not practicing my ninja Olympic skills, I spend most of my time trying to grow hair. I don’t want to be born bald because then I guess I would have to wear a hat, you know? Besides, I keep hearing about this cat that lives in my house and he wears a very fancy orange stripe fur suit….and I don’t want to be bald next to him!

Mom has been trying to wean herself off caffeine because she’s worried I’ll be born loving the stuff and she doesn’t want me to start out as some kind of back alley caffeine junkie. Let me tell you, it’s been pretty rough! I like coffee and I don’t like it when mommy says we can’t have it anymore. Mom does let me eat some of my favorite foods though. Right now I mostly love bread covered in peanut butter and Nutella…oh, and lots of fresh fruit too! Yummy.

 

Last week mommy convinced daddy to let her help him with a bondfire at the house they’re building. Daddy didn’t think it was a good idea but mommy is pretty persuasive. Well it was very muddy and icy and rainy and really terrible gross. Mommy had to buy rainboots just to walk in the yard and haul the brush to the fire. She was having a grand time and I was getting bounced around wondering what on earth her problem is with just staying inside. Well anyway, there was this big puddle of water near the bond fire and mommy decided to stand in it for a minute but you won’t believe it—she got stuck! She looked so funny there with her rain boots and her big baby belly just stuck in the mud. She kept calling for daddy but he was on the roof and couldn’t hear her. I love mommy but I laughed because it was her crazy idea to haul me around in the mud so she sort of deserved it :] And she did eventually get out so it’s okay. Also, she promised not to do anything like that again.

Mommy and daddy can’t seem to decide on my name. Which is silly because I already chose my name; they’ll see. Mommy really wanted to name me Henry David after Thoreau but daddy said no. Mommy keeps trying to convince daddy that he’s just like Thoreau so really I would be named after him…in a way…but daddy still said no. They are silly those two. Last night mommy told daddy they absolutely must decide on my name so she got out the big book of baby names and said they would go through it together–and then she fell asleep two seconds later while daddy looked. Mommy hates baby name books; she thinks they’re boring.

At night I kick mom a lot, just because I’m bored and stuff…sometimes mommy wakes up and she’s like, what on earth are you doing in there? But I just get real still and quiet and act like I don’t know what she means that way she thinks she dreamt it up.

ninja

Mommy and daddy have been busy getting everything ready for me and their house is getting really crowded with all kinds of baby stuff. But I don’t care about all that fancy baby stuff. I just want to go outside and roll around town in my stroller and see everything. This summer after I get here, me and mommy are going to go to Walden Pond and the ocean together. Mommy said sometimes we’ll go to the farmer’s market and sometimes we’ll go for a walk in the woods if I’m being good. And sometimes we’ll go see daddy at work and bring him coffee and everybody will be so excited to see me because they’ve been watching me grow all along and can’t wait to meet me–I get stage fright just thinking about it!

Uh oh, I think mommy is on to me…I better get off here before I get caught! I’ll write more soon!

Love, the baby.

P.S. Don’t tell mom. You never saw me. Okay? Okay.

 

In the Waiting

DSC_0370 (2){Last year’s blooms}

I always have a hard time when we reach a transition in the seasons—when, according to me and my calendar, winter should be over and spring should be well under way—but it just aint.

I get the same way after the long hot days of summer when I’m ready for crisp fall weather and hot apple cider but the weather refuses to obey me and continues cooking us until we’re all just a little too tough and overdone.

This has been an especially long cold winter and right now I just want green grass under my toes and warm sunshine on my skin. I would also very much like the snow to stop it already and please go away forever.

DSC_0376 (2){A shy flower waking up in last spring’s sunshine}

A couple of weekends ago I came up with a big plan for beating this stir craziness and ushering in spring. I was going to head over to our house remodel and work on clearing brush and construction debris. I was going to build a big—no—a huge bonfire and throw everything on it until the flames licked the sky.

I thought maybe I could melt the snow that way. I thought maybe I could trick the trees and flowers with the heat and convince them to start blooming. I thought I would build a fire big enough to coax the shy crocuses and daffodils up out of the frozen ground. I thought maybe I could even make the sun just a tad jealous and move her to shine a little warmth on our frozen landscape.

But Darren said a pregnant woman shouldn’t be moving brush and building bond fires and asked me to please stay home.

So I argued a little and then I stayed home and pouted about the weather. The cat pouted with me; we were a very sad pair.

cat{The cat trying to sit on my lap but finding he has less and less room with my big baby belly}

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the irony of it all—about how we humans so love instant gratification and have come up with so many clever ways to get just that—whatever it is we want right now with the push of a button or the swipe of a card. And yet we can’t change the seasons—neither the seasons of nature nor the seasons of life. There are just some things in life that can’t be rushed or hurried even by the immediate drive-through culture we’ve created. We have all this fancy technology and the whole world at our fingertips and still we can’t change the weather.

But I think maybe that’s a good thing. Because I think if given the opportunity, I would impatiently rush through everything and not actually experience anything at all. I’m not just eagerly waiting for warm weather and sunshine, we’re waiting for our house to be completed so we can move and we’re waiting for our baby to be born too; sometimes I get so impatient about it all. I want to pack my bags and settle into the new house. I want to be done with this place and on to the next. I want to hold my baby and kiss his head and hands and feet. I want, I want I want….everything, right now, without the waiting.

But this season of waiting is good for me because it forces me to slow down and take in what’s happening instead of impatiently rushing along and missing all the quiet moments in between.

Being forced to wait for what I want teaches me to savor what I will eventually get—because it gives me so much time to anticipate and desire and hope and prepare instead of just immediately walking away with my every wish as we are now so accustomed to doing.

Spring will be all the sweeter because winter has been so long.

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Holding our baby will be all the more precious because I have slowly, month by month, felt him move and grow and my desire to hold and know him has grown with the waiting.

dsc_1220{Tiny little clothes for our little baby boy}

edit{A few things for the nursery}

DSC_1242{I can’t get over how teeny tiny adorable newborn diapers are…I’m sure I’ll change my mind after changing a few hundred of them}

DSC_1214{A couple weeks ago at 22 weeks}

And our house, that crazy undertaking, will be all the better too because we will have worked and waited for so long to call it home.

house

I don’t like waiting, but I’m honestly really thankful that life sometimes forces me to slow down and just want something for a while. I don’t want to get so caught up in the immediate that I lose all sense of dreaming about and anticipating what isn’t yet mine.

Life is all about seasons. Some seasons carry us along quickly and some ask us to quietly wait and savor what we already have. Right now I’m learning to savor; to savor the fluttery movements of the baby I want to hold and meet, to savor the days Darren and I have left with just the two of us before this baby does come, to appreciate the home we already have, and to somehow even be thankful for these cold winter days—because soon enough I’m sure, I’ll be complaining about how hot it is all the time.

us{Enjoying the days with just the two of us}

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 {ESV}

Fingerprints

I didn’t know until this week how our fingerprints are formed but apparently the amniotic fluid flowing around our fingers in the womb creates the waves and patterns that leave every single person with their own unique prints.

Isn’t it sort of amazing that we are forever marked and identified by the distinctive way we were carried around in our mother’s womb?

It makes me think about God and the way he flows and moves in our lives, leaving his fingerprints all over us. It makes me think about how his prints are unique to every individual life and how no two people are marked exactly the same way by his touch.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5 {NIV}

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.” Psalm 139:13-18 {ESV}

His fingerprints are everywhere—touching, shaping, and forming all things; and we are but clay, forever marked by the unique prints of the master potter’s hands.

On Becoming a Mother: It’s Okay to Change

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The thing that scares me the most about having a baby is the idea of change. There are things about my life I love and don’t want to change—and it scares me to think that they will.

The other day I thought about writing myself a letter as a way of looking back after the baby is born and reminding myself of who I was before I became a mom. I wanted to remind myself of who I am and what I value. I was afraid of getting swallowed up in motherhood and losing myself completely. I wanted that letter to remind me who I was so I could make sure I hadn’t changed.

But I didn’t write that letter.

Because I realized instead that it’s okay to change.

Even though I don’t want to lose myself when I become a mother, I also don’t want to fight and resist the changes that can and should be born in me during this time.

Pregnancy is changing me; it’s changing my heart and my soul and my body—and that’s okay. How could I possibly bring another life into this world—through my own body—without being transformed in the process?

What I realized when I thought about writing that letter is this:

Change is okay.

Change is good.

Change is not something to fight or resist or run away from.

All the best things that have happened in my life have required that change be born in me. If I were to hold onto who I am, to who I was—I would still be a child, immature and incapable. Change moves me forward and helps me grow into who I am able to be.

So yes, becoming a mother still scares me and I still wonder in what ways I will be different on the other side of this journey. I still don’t want to lose myself completely along the way. But I’m not afraid to change. I’m not afraid to grow. I’m ready to let pregnancy and motherhood birth new life not only in the child I’m carrying, but also in me—in my own soul and spirit as it stretches, grows, and changes right along with my body.

There is this story in the Bible, a parable used to illustrate a bigger idea, about how a seed must be buried, torn open, and essentially—die—before new life can sprout up out of that seed {John 12:24}. The seed is useless if it stays the same, if it doesn’t give itself up and allow new life to spring from it. And I think right now I’m that seed. New life can only be born from me if I’m willing to be buried, torn open, and die to myself a little bit. It sounds really bad for the seed, but think of the blossoms and the life that springs from that giving up and giving out of oneself. It’s really quite beautiful and spiritual.

So it’s true—I will not be the girl I am today when I reach the other side of this journey. I will be a mother. I will have brought life into this world. New life will have been born in me. And everything will be different after that.

And that’s okay.

The Baby Wrote a Blog Post

So you know how I’m building a baby, right? Right. So Baby thinks it should be a contributor to my blog and I’m all like,

“I don’t know kid. Can you even talk yet?”

And baby’s like,

“Oh yaaaa I can talk…I’m made from your genes so EVERYBODY knows I can taaalk.”

And I’m like,

“Fine, whatever, I’ll give you a trial run.”

So let me introduce you to The Baby:

  • Baby thinks it’s hilarious that no one knows whether he/she is a boy or girl. I told him/her we’ll know soon so stop laughing but baby thinks he/she will just curl up in a tight little ball and face the wrong way so we can’t find out. We shall see kid, we shall see.
  • Baby loves cheeseburgers and fries. Or at least I want cheeseburgers and fries every day for every meal and I’m blaming the baby for that. Also, I don’t actually eat cheeseburgers and fries every day for every meal…I just want to.
  • Baby absolutely will not let momma sleep through the night unless she walks a couple of miles right before bed. Momma is worried about whether or not this pattern will continue after sassy-pants baby is born? 8[
  • Baby knows all the lyrics to Mumford & Sons because momma plays them all day at work. Start them early; start them right.
  • Baby has daddy’s sense of humor…like we need two of them around her… ;]
  • Baby doesn’t mind coffee; he/she told me so.
  • Baby makes mommy look like a ridicules klutz and laughs about it because everyone thinks it’s her fault not baby’s….Daddy’s sense of humor, remember?
  • Baby does not like it when that sassy orange cat that lives with mommy and daddy decides to walk on mommy’s belly. Baby doesn’t like being poked by cat paws and thinks a lot about pulling the orange cat’s tail but mommy says it’s not allowed.
  • Other than writing, baby likes to eat, sleep, and grow. His/her schedule is quite full right now but he/she is always looking for new projects and adventures.

So there you go, that’s the baby I’m building. Further posts from said baby are pending momma’s review.

Also, here’s what I look like so far with this sassy baby in tow:

PicMonkey Collage all months