I'm full term + 1 day today.
That means if I go into labor, no one is going to try to stop me. Selah's got the green light to make her entrance into the world.
I'm excited OF COURSE. But you know how it is when you know something is about to change your life forever and you can never, EVER go back and there's a still, gorgeous calm before the (however beautiful) storm?
Do you know what I mean?
I can't stop staring at my boys. I can't get away from how things are going to be SO different soon. They will still be good, richer even, and soon, I won't be able to imagine life without my two best boys AND my Selah girl.
Maybe soon none of us will. But for now, Nolan is wanting his mama more. He KNOWS life is about to change in a big way, too.
And me? I'm just soaking them up.
My brother goes back to Alaska today after a too-short, two-week visit. I miss him already and cried when I saw this picture posted after he left.
That's really all I want to say about that, but I am about to post more pictures of our time with him, so it might be helpful to know that the tall, dark and handsome guy in my photos is my *little* brother.
Somewhere between the heat, increased activity, upped need for water and time continuing to march on, my you are getting to close to the end of your pregnancy symptoms really ramped up this week. A lot of cramping, a lot of Braxton Hicks, soreness, and some having to stop because I could not physically continue going forward. Totally frustrating for me because I've been eating well, exercising and doing everything I can think of to take care of myself and Selah. I feel like I should feel better and that labor needs to come soon because I don't know if I can handle a lot more of this.
So when yet another acquaintance asked how I was feeling, my frustrations came bubbling to the surface. I later vented the truth to my Aunt Mary Beth, who happened to be in town on the very day I needed her, and my mom. I just don't know how to answer that question to people I don't really know these days.
Thank God for people I can just be with. I'm feeling so thankful for the people who laugh at me when I apologize because I'm worried about being draining, help me laugh at myself, let me air my ridiculous complaints (even validate them!) and share their own stories.
Somewhere between getting in bed and getting up in the morning (I am often awake for at least a couple of hours during the night), I was reminded that I get to choose how to live out my upcoming days.
I've been experiencing some beautiful days, no matter how uncomfortable. I could choose to live with the weight of I don't think I can do this and this sucks OR I could choose to live out my days with the intention of living them and enjoying them the best I can.
Really, this is about choosing to live in misery or choosing to live in joy. Difficult choice, right?
I will still continue to be open about how I am really doing when it is the healthy choice to do so.
I will not dwell on what I don't like and can't control.
I will do what I can control, like leaving the dishes in the sink a little longer or accepting offers so I can rest when I need it.
I will make the effort to live and appreciate the life I've been given and not squander it.
This morning, I opted to go for a stroll on a new-to-me trail with 3 of my best boys instead of stay home and then my brother Steve treated us to a meal at one of our favorite restaurants in the area, Say Cheese. I am sitting and writing now. There are dishes in the sink that I will do...later.
I am awake when I shouldn't be and slept way too few hours last night (tonight?).
So I write.
So I look at the nights when I can't sleep (and there doesn't seem to be a particular pattern to these nights) as practice for those when I am up feeding/changing/snuggling Selah while my boys sleep. I am practicing for the next day, when I still have people, events, and appointments I've said yes to. I still have a son who needs and deserves my attention. I am practicing for the days when I will need to accept or even ask for help or say no or ask for a rain check more often than feels comfortable.
I am gathering up my resources- blogs I can check in with during the wee hours of the morning and tools to make not-sleeping almost, and maybe even actually, enjoyable.
I am treating myself to the kombucha I bought to split with Nolan after a patience-stretching experience at the grocery store. (I'll probably drink his share, but that just means I get to buy another one, right?)
I am reveling in the growing family that I adore. The house picked up by my husband while Nolan splashed in the bathtub and pretended to make me coffee and soup. The promise of a green smoothie and coffee in a few hours and the quiet that comes with being awake while the rest of my world sleeps.
Maybe practicing today will make the upcoming onslaught of sleeplessness a little more manageable. And if not, at least I've found some beauty in this time.
I continued to climb out of that funk over the weekend.
Several shared meals, 2 glasses of wine, many people I enjoy, an adults-only party where I remembered I like me (and I can be fun! and talk about more than my baby!), lots of chaos and laughing and loving the moment(s) made for a salve for my spirit that I needed very much.
I'm often the sort of person for whom life feels heavy much of the time. I enjoy it; part of my approach to life is openness toward all of the adventure that life has to offer.
Nolan has highlighted both of those things in me. I determined early on that I don't want to break his curious, adventurous little spirit by keeping him too safe. He does climb things and cause my heart to stop on a regular basis, but he is really enjoying exploring life. I love that about him and our life as a family.
Still, I'm never going to be a laid-back mom. I know, "never say never." I just don't see it happening.
I often wonder/worry over "am I really doing what's best for Nolan? for my family?"
I hear that's normal.
I look that at gap-toothed little grin, and I just want to give him everything. Every adventure, every opportunity. He turns me to mush several times a day, and then I'm back to the questioning how I can do what's best for him, for us, for the 3 of us.
Right now, I am looking for work, and I'm a mess of emotions. Part of me wants to stay home forevermore and just see what life has to offer us. I don't want to miss out on any snuggles, the sound of the giggle, or that look of wonder I love so much. I don't want to see his crazy little personality get stamped out and truth be told, I want to be needed.
I am needed. Money is really tight around here right now, and I need to find a job. I am both excited about the change (a chance to use my skills! adult time!) and not looking forward to it at all (having to say goodbye to my baby most days).
Nolan is at an age right now where he needs me, of course, but he needs independent play, and he can do it himself, thank you. It's so good for both of us; I know I'm going to have to learn throughout my whole life to let the little boy who is my heart on legs go because it is so good for both of us, but it is not easy for me at all.
I think me going to work could be good...again, for both of us. No matter what I do during the day, it is still just the two of us the majority of most days. While we get out nearly every day (Nolan will grab at the diaper bag and repeatedly point to the door if I take too long), he still takes two naps a day and needs some recharge time. I could use a little more interaction with my peers, and I miss the thrill of seeing an event I put together happen smoothly (or at least appear to happen smoothly) or the light bulb moment happen for a student.
I know by now that I am rarely, if ever, alone in whatever I am dealing with or how I am feeling. I know there must be other mothers whose hearts are a mess over the best thing to do for their babies.
I think this might be the best thing I can do right now, and I hope it's enough.
My morning started early again.
I was just ready to get up, ready for some dark, quiet time alone with my morning requisite bottle of water, immediately followed by a hot cup of coffee.
I'm reading The Mission of God with a group of friends. It's the kind of reading I can't do all at once and still absorb. It's the kind of reading I'll sometimes do out loud to help me better take it in.
I'm really getting into it, loving it maybe, but I need to stop for a few minutes right now and express some thankfulness. Does that ever happen to you? I found myself so distracted (overwhelmed, maybe) by how lucky I must be, that I could hardly see the words on the page any more.
So. I quite understand if this is the kind of post you'd rather not read. It is, after all, early in the morning, and frankly, I'm not always in the mood to read, "oh, hey, look at me! my life is great!" posts, either.
But there are 25 days until Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday!), and I'm wondering if you'd like to join me in writing out (at least) 25 things I am/you are/we are so glad to have until then.
My husband arrived home from a business trip last night. Nolan and I spent 3 days away last weekend and then this extra day away from his dad had my baby boy all out of sorts. (The boy LOVES his dad.) Last night, the 3 of us just hung out and played and it was probably all that time away from each other that created a moment when I just watched them and took them in and thought this is the good life.
I probably could write out 25 things, based solely on that picture. A dad who loves his son in word AND in deed. A son who adores, who basks in his attention, shows off even. Both of them my boys, my favorites. Of course.
They're number 1 and 2 on my thankfulness list.
I'm in the mood to record a few thoughts right now, so I'm going to attempt an unedited version while Nolan rearranges the furniture (ie. pushes the recycling bin around the kitchen).
I'm crossing my fingers that everything I was just thinking doesn't fly out of my mind this very moment that I decide to write.
That boy? The apple of my eye (<--that is literally the phrase that just came to mind, but not something I would normally say. You get what I mean, though, right?), but sometimes I just need a break from being a mother. Last night, Tim told me to plan to do something relaxing when he got home from work, so I headed to my sister-in-law's with a bottle of wine. We bundled up and sat outside on her perfect porch and just talked for a few hours and then I went home, excited.
Because I'd missed Steph and I'd missed having long, thoughtful conversations...and of course, by the time I arrived home, I was looking forward to some snuggles with a certain little boy.
I'm feeling particularly grateful and (maybe uncharacteristically) secure this weekend. Sometimes I find myself getting downright insecure, and you know what? It is usually the result of projections and assumptions when I really just need to have a conversation.
I could write and write and write tonight
but I won't
because my husband just joined us
(Nolan squealed with delight, of course. He LOVES his daddy. )
and I want to enjoy my family before Nolan goes to bed.
My grandmother rolled into town yesterday.
I went to the early yoga class, lacking sleep, 2 cups of coffee in my system, because I needed it.
I'm kind of addicted to my weekly class.
I rushed to get ready
That heart-melting action was happening while I was
brushing my hair
throwing together something to eat (because oops, it was getting late in the morning, and I'd pumped and exercised but had yet to eat anything)
But I had to stop and watch
at least a little.
It does something to my heart to see people who are so dear to it love on my son.
I wouldn't mind seeing that every day.
We-my grandma, my mom, and me-3 generations of woman who are so different and so alike-
We peeled ourselves away in search of a dress for my mom to wear to my sister's upcoming wedding.
The ways that we are alike just screamed at me this time.
We have the same love for having people over, for celebrating pretty much anything, the same laugh.
We laughed a lot.
It's hard sometimes, you know, being part of a family.
You have all this history, all these perceptions, all these stories burned into your being.
As the youngest of the 3 of us, I am and have been a child, an adult, and a friend. Sometimes the mix isn't quite right, and there's friction.
Yesterday was us, eating great food (I introduced them to a restaurant I knew they would love because the part of me that is them loves it, too), celebrating my sister, celebrating us.
And ok, I know nothing's really perfect because if I were to recall every single moment of our trip, I'm sure there were some that wouldn't qualify
but I'm going to say it anyway-
Yesterday was perfect.
By the time you read this, it's likely I've had my second (or third) cup of coffee.
It's likely I'm looking for a time to slip in a workout
and I probably haven't showered yet.
(I will, though!)
It's likely I don't have a lot set in stone for the day because Mondays are good days to ease into the week if it's possible
...giving out Equal Exchange valentines until every last one is gone (although I'm tempted to keep some of the chocolate for myself!)
...going to my nephew's basketball game(s). I haven't seen him since before Nolan was born!
....finishing up level 2 of the 30 Day Shred and moving on to level 3....Yikes. I'm a little nervous, but I can also tell I'm getting stronger. The getting stronger thing is what has me continuing with the shred. I'm a little obsessed with strength these days.
... going for a walk, maybe?! If it's "warm" enough, I'll be bundling both me and Nolan up to enjoy the sunshine while we can.
...another Bikram yoga class and a few more hours to work on my "courage" project. (<--I'm loving this! The hours fly by when it's just me and my computer and my fair trade agenda.)
...oh, and another visit to a local Spanish church. Did I mention that Tim, Nolan, and I are going there? We are. And no, we don't know Spanish (yet), but we're working on it. Getting to know the language, the culture, and the people is something we've been talking about for awhile...we've decided it's time for us to move past the talking phase. (We almost chickened out but are so glad we didn't!)
So that's a bit of my world.
How about you? What are you looking forward to this week?
I'm linking up with Lisa Leonard's Hello, Monday series.
I wrote a bit about Tim being busy, not having a car, etc. in my last post. That very same night, he came home, took over baby duties for a few hours, and told me to go find a way to relax. SUCH a blessing- Nolan had been cranky for nearly the whole day, and I was exhausted.
My way to relax? I stuffed my face with as much sugar and fat as I could handle and took a bath.
I confessed my emotional eating to my husband, who did nothing but encourage me. And with that- although we did have some rough spots and sleep deprivation-memories of the past 5 days are nothing but sweet.
I mean sweet. I feel like I'm just oozing with happiness and excitement kind of sweet. I feel like I should issue a warning if you're reading this and just not awake yet kind of sweet.
It might be the coffee I'm drinking or the hormones raging through my body or the baby who woke up in a good mood after sleeping in his own bed last night.
Other possible reasons:
I've always been a family girl, but can I just say how lucky I feel to have married a man whose extended family live nearby? Some of them have become treasured friends of mine, and I love it when I am able to get time with them during the week.
Also? There are some family members (ahem- Mom, Dad, Mary Ellen, and Steph) who act like I am doing them a favor when they come over to hang out with both of us or watch him while I go out. That just does so much good for me (and Nolan) in so many ways.
Right now, I'm working out for quality of life, strength, and comfort in my own skin. For me, that's much more motivating than any particular number). With some help with Nolan while I worked out, I was able to complete yoga every day with the exception of Friday (including one studio class that left me feeling fantastic), three 30 Day Shred workouts, and a walk around the neighborhood on the one day it wasn't too cold or rainy for him.
I feel good. I really believe that physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental health are all tied together.
My "word of the year" is so fitting as things are continuing to change- in exciting and scary ways!- around here. Not quite at the point where I can write about them publicly, but soon?
There is more to list, but while my I have a sleeping baby next to me, I want to go catch up with your posts and emails! A cup of coffee, a full heart, a happy baby,and catching up with friends- I'm soaking up every drop of this Sunday morning.
I hope you are, too.
Hello to a new week and a new year. (So many possibilities in such a simple sentence!)
Hello, saying goodbye to my "little" brother (I'm getting teary just writing that out) and bringing Nolan along to soften the blow...for everyone. That boy's a magic charm.
Hello, getting back to exercise, reading, and blogging.
Hello, dancing around the house with my little boy and
celebrating my fifth wedding anniversary with my man (and massages and a special meal to go with it!).
It's going to be a beautiful week.
What's going on in your world this week?