Friday, January 31, 2014

High Five for Friday

It's been awhile, like months, since I've done a H54F post. Life, you know? Anyway, this afternoon Maylin is napping, the frigid January temps have lightened up a bit so that it feels almost spring-like, and I've got those slimy whitening strips on my teeth that makes it to where I can't use this time to munch on frozen mango. The solution is, obviously, to spend my  time in our sunroom enjoying the weather and blogging.

Here are 5 favorites from this week::

{1} My go-to breakfast~ coffee and ice-cold, salted grapefruit. Usually I also have a slice of cheese toast, but it's not pictured here. Pregnancy breakfast of choice, friends. It happens every morning.

{2} I put together a pregnancy journal from all the belly pictures I took when Maylin was still in-utero. It came in recently and I can't stop looking through it. There are pages dedicated to getting her nursery ready, choosing her name, and baby showers, plus ultrasound pictures and places to journal about how we told our family we were expecting and what I was craving at the time {which was NOT mango or grapefruit and salads made me want to vomit}. It's been so fun to look back through it and it's brought back so many fun memories. Now I'm committed to making one for Hartlie baby, too. Which means I need to take many, many more belly photos. These may or may not end up here on the blog. Sorry {not sorry} in advance.

{3} Speaking of Hartlie, I snagged a picture of a few things we've gotten specifically for her, things that aren't just hand-me-downs from big sis. The gray polka dot head rest is from my sister, and is the only actual gift we've received for her. Obviously since she's the second girl we've reproduced in less than two years and we basically have everything we need. Still. It was nice to get a gift just for Hartlie. I also bought her a set of those really handy monthly stickers that I've been slapping on Maylin once a month for pictures. I'm not sure if I'll do the exact same thing for Har, but I like having them just in case. Also, the little Going on a Bear Hunt board book was just too good to pass up. Girl's gotta own her own book, am I right?

{4} Maylin has been using her bumper pad as a pillow. We've caught her on several occasions and I happened to snap a pic during this instance. Too adorable. And clever, that girl.

{5} Have I mentioned Maylin has found the stairs? 

I'm kicking off my birthday weekend tonight with dinner out ALONE with Michael. I'm looking forward to having table conversation that doesn't include "ba ba ba" from the baby {although I know I'll secretly miss it while I'm there}. 

Happy Weekend, friends!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

{Miss Maylin} 10 Months Old

Maylin has moved into the double digits. Once again, here I am inwardly amazed at how fast the last month of her life went by. I have probably typed that sentence a thousand times on this blog, but it's true. Time has never sifted away this fast in my life. I think it might have something to do with how much she changes and matures in just a few short weeks. 

Pretty soon, my baby won't be a baby anymore. She'll be a toddler. A toddler!! And then this whole parenting thing will for sure sink in, right? I mean, when you have a toddler you are waaaay further into parenthood than when you have a baby. Excuses like "I just had a baby" and "But she's only a baby" and "I'm a new parent" kinda fly out the window when your child is over one year old. But let's not talk about that right now.

At 10 months old, Maylin::

~  has a full understanding of the word "no." I didn't think we'd have to tell a 9-10 month old NO as often as we do. Probably the ability to crawl accelerated that command.
~  is crawling And pretty fast too. M and I nicknamed her "Gollum" {from Lord of the Rings} because when she wants to get somewhere in a hurry she hikes her up left leg so that her foot is flat on the floor and uses it to propel herself along. So picture my baby scooting around the house like Gollum, okay? That's how she does it.
~ uses a universal hand squeeze sign for "want." I was super excited last month because she finally started signing the word "milk," which is a vertical hand squeeze. That sign has kind of morphed, though, into a "I want that" sign. Oh well. The three signs I've been showing to her most this month are "more," "eat," and "mama." She hasn't repeated those yet, though.
~ waves "bye-bye" pretty well. When she wants to. {Have I mentioned I have a stubborn child?} She waves bye to Daddy in the morning when he leaves for work, and has recently started waving to people in the grocery store that pass us. People think it's pretty great. I'm going to have to have the "stranger danger" talk with her soon...

~ pulls up on literally anything her hands touch. She even pulled up on a paper sack once, which immediately collapsed under her, so she's learning that not everything that looks solid and sturdy is actually solid and sturdy. Our dog Deuce, who tolerates Maylin at best, is getting harder pressed to find places of refuge. He was sleeping on the couch the other day when Maylin pulled up on the edge and started patting his nose. They were looking eye to eye. He immediately moved to our bed, which is about the highest surface he can get atop now and he stays there most of the day.
~ has discovered the bottom step of the staircase. I have not so secretly wished that by the time Hartlie baby arrives, Maylin will be able to adeptly climb up and down the stairs by herself so that I only have to carry one baby up to the changing pad a thousand times a day instead of two {too much to hope for? Don't burst my bubble}. Therefore, I have been slightly encouraging {okay, maybe more than slightly} her to pull herself on the bottom step. All while closely monitored of course
~ is not too sure about walking just yet, but she sure loves standing up. I've tried to get her to take steps while holding her hands or while behind her walker. Her booty hits the floor immediately if she even suspects I want her to take a step. It's just not happenin' right now.

~ still has no teeth. And that's just fine with me!
~ makes the sound "ba ba ba" for everything. "Maylin, say 'Ma-ma.'" Pause. "ba ba ba" // "Maylin, do you want a bottle?" Pause "ba ba ba" // "Maylin, say bye-bye!" Pause "ba ba ba" // You get the idea. 
~ loves cheese toast, Cheerios, oatmeal with berries, sweet potatoes, mozzarella cheese, and pretty much any meat. She's not a picky eater at all. Thank goodness!
~ is getting braver at venturing into rooms that I'm not in. She'll crawl all over the house while I'm in the kitchen.

~ wears diapers size 2.
~ wears pants, shirts, and pajamas size 6-9 months.
~ wears 3 month dresses as tops and 6  month dresses as, well, dresses.
~ has been weaned {see that post here} and now takes 24 ounces of formula a day, plus eating three meals and snacks in an effort to boost her weight.
~ weighs 12 pounds 9 ounces. Hopefully when we go back for her weight check in a couple of weeks she'll have put on a little chunk.
~ sleeps 6:30 PM to 7:30 AM every night. And I am relishing it until Hartlie baby gets here.
~ takes two 2 hour naps daily, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. Sister likes her sleep.

These monthly photo shoots are getting increasingly difficult. These pictures were taken oven a span of two days {during which time I was a Nazi about keeping that white onesie clean}, and most of the time she sat there with a scowl on her face while I tried to get her to smile. See below. Of course, not that she actually sat still very long. And she loves pulling that sticker off. 
I finally had to enlist Michael's help on his lunch break and was able to snag a few decent, non blurry ones. 

Sweet Maylin, we love you so much! Happy 10 Months, Sister!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

{Baby Davis #2} Dear Baby | 03

Dear Baby,

We're over halfway through this little journey of pregnancy together. This week we are 22 weeks along. I, for one, can barely believe it. Our time together is flying by so so fast. Here are a few little things about you at this time in our relationship.

I am craving {with a passion} thawed frozen mango chunks, grapefruit by the pound, and salads of any and every kind. I'm pretty thrilled that you want healthy food, because with your older sister I really only wanted to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken {ew! never caved, but it was tough!}, chips and salsa, and crackers with mustard. I know, right?! Pretty insane. You can hold that over her head when you get a little older.  

But back to the mangoes, grapefruit, and salads. This past week the grocery store was out of the package of frozen mango chunks that I always buy and a lump formed in my throat right there as I stood with the door open in the frozen food section. I stood there, Baby, bug-eyed and furious and sad with cold air swooshing down on top of me for a full minute before I finally conceded that frozen mangoes weren't going to appear out of thin air from the laser beams my eyes were shooting at the shelf. Sigh. I've had to go without them for a whole week, and I think my taste buds may literally dance out of my mouth with happiness when I finally get to eat them again. 

Now for the grapefruit. I have at least one half of a cold, salted grapefruit every morning with my breakfast. I really don't know how I ever thought breakfast was complete without one. Juicy, tart, sweet, and chilled. While I'm doing my early morning prenatal yoga, all I can think about is how good my grapefruit is going to be at breakfast. That and my coffee. And when I said I was eating them by the pound, I meant that I'm truly buying a five pound bag of grapefruit at the store every week. That's a lot of sour grapefruit deliciousness, Baby. I'm pretty sure we're both loving it. Now my mouth is sufficiently watering, so I'm going to move on from cravings for the time being, although I'm inwardly lamenting not being able to go grab a couple chunks of mango to munch on. {And let's not dwell on the fact that I just wrote three paragraphs about tropical fruit, okay?}

Baby, yesterday you and I went to our checkup all by ourselves. It was a nice little outing with just you and me. No big sister to have my attention, and even Daddy was at work with a busy morning. So it was just us. It hasn't been just us in a while, so I relished "listening" carefully for your kicks and talking to you on the drive. The doctor said you are super healthy. You have a very strong, fast, and regular heartbeat. It still thrills me each time I get to hear it. I always wait a little anxiously while Dr. locates it with his doppler, but as soon as I hear your little life-beats I relax and a broad smile takes over my face. 

I've been having slight contractions with you, Baby. They've been going on for about a month, and feel like very heavy cramps in my lower abdomen. I was a little concerned about these, because for one I got a little frightened that you are going to have a very impatient personality and I'm not sure if, as a mama, I can hang with that. And for two, I'd really like you to stay inside your little Baby-cave as long as possible so you can enter our world completely developed and healthy and so you don't have to live in the NICU and can come home with me. Have no fear, though, Baby. Dr. said that these contractions were perfectly normal and was not concerned about them at all. I'm supposed to pay attention to them to make sure they don't become too regular or painful, but other than that, we're in the clear. So, Baby, if you're doing this uterus activity thing to get some additional attention, I hear ya. I'm in tune. So please, let's not get too carried away and stay inside Mama for, say, 18 more weeks or so. Then, by all means, you can come out. Thank you. That would make Mama very happy.

Baby, one advantage you have is that you're my second pregnancy. With your sister I was very self-conscious {and very ignorant} about lots of different things. With you, I am embracing much more. I love this little belly bump you're giving me, and I'm not as hesitant to show it off. I am much more comfortable in my skin with you. That is a huge relief and a great blessing. I feel I am more free to love on you and be proud of you. There are definite advantages to being a second child, and I believe this is one of them.

One of the things I am looking forward to most, darling Baby, is seeing the way you and your sister will interact. I am so anticipant of that unique sister-bond, and I can't wait to watch that develop between you two. As a mother, I'm going to do all I can do foster and nourish that special relationship, although I'm pretty sure it will have no trouble developing on its own. 

To sum up, I've so enjoyed noticing ways that you are your own little person already, even at a gestational age of 22 weeks. I can't wait to  know you more. 

I love you, my sweet Baby Hartlie.

And one more picture from a couple weeks ago. I guess you could say this is the first picture of you and Maylin together. Makes my mama-heart melt.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

{Real Mom Life} The Sickies

It's the worst when your kid is sick.

Like, the worst.

We have finally conquered the ever-feared Virus in our home, and hopefully we won't be visited by that fiend for the rest of the winter. Because, sheesh, is he

I mentioned last week in my post about weaning (and I meant to write more than once last week, but you know, weaning and emotions and Virus) that Maylin was sick with a fever and runny nose. Thankfully it remained "just a Virus" and didn't escalate into an ear infection or the dreaded RSV. 

I have two friends whose babies are currently battling RSV, having to do breathing treatments at every 4 hours or every 2 hours, and my heart goes out to them so much. I'd never even heard of RSV until after I had Maylin, and it's crazy how much three little letters can make your mama-heart squeeze in fear every time they're uttered.

I learned several things while Maylin had the sickies::

1} It's hard being a mama-nurse. I can't attest to the breathing treatments {knock on proverbial wood}, but I do know the achy-breaky-heart feeling that accompanies the endless nose wipes, the glassy fever eyes, and the notion there's nothing really you can do as a parent to make your child better. Maylin got so tired of us having to suck the snot out of her nose with that little blue bulb and I can't say I blame her. Anytime she even saw the thing she started in with the Maylin wail-and-flail {which is starting to accompany a lot these days}. Also, the up-all-night thing with a sick baby is about nearly as fun as the up-all-night thing with a gassy baby. In each case all you really want is for your child to stop being in pain and therefore to stop screaming so they can go to sleep so you can go to sleep. Then the next day, because I didn't get much sleep the night before, the only thing in the world I wanted was a nap, but no, sorry the baby still needs to be rocked and soothed and cuddled {and not in a sweet, newborn way, but rather in a hot sweaty fussy I-don't-feel-good  nine month sort of way}. So yeah, being a mama-nurse is hard.

2} Babies can be as strong as Hercules when they want to be. Take trying to use the blue bulb snot sucker, for instance. Maylin would bury her face into my shoulder {if I was holding her} or into the changing table pad {if she way lying down} and no amount of twisting or prying would make her nose turn toward me again. It usually took Michael and I doing it together to get that nasty snot out.

3} Babies make A LOT of snot. More snot has come out of that baby than I ever thought possible before she got sick. And the snot had to come out, you see, because she couldn't even breathe through her nose while taking her bottle without it draining all down the back of her throat or running in rivulets down into her mouth.

4} Babies with low, scratchy voices from mucus drainage may be the most adorable sound ever.  All that drainage made Maylin hoarse, which was simultaneously the cutest and most pitiful thing I've ever heard. Her little voice deepened by about two octaves and she lost it all together for about 24 hours. I couldn't even hear her crying when she was upstairs in her crib so I would sit outside her closed door after I put her down to make sure she wasn't silently screaming. All is well now, though, because the screaming is back in full force when she is upset about something or when she thinks nap time is over.

The symptoms of our little virus only lasted about 10 days, and though we do still have some snot {how in the world?} Maylin is pretty much on the mend and acting like her usual self.

Looking forward to warmer and less snotty days.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

{Real Mom Life} An Unexpected End:: Weaning

It's difficult to decide where to start puttting down my thoughts because there are so many facets to what has happened over the past week or so.

But the bottom line is Maylin is officially weaned. My breastfeeding journey with her is over. Suddenly and unexpectedly so. And the truth of the matter is I'm heartbroken.

Our breastfeeding journey is a long and noveled one, full of mountains and valleys, and I intend to one day get it written down for all the mamas who struggled with breastfeeding like I did. I was determined and stubborn and maybe a little bit proud, and I accredit our 9 month success to those reasons alone. However, as much as I willed for the capability to nurse Maylin until one year, it was just physically impossible for us.

Let me start from the beginning. Well, the beginning of the end I guess. Last Wednesday night Maylin came down with fever and a runny nose which persisted all through Thursday. We visited our pediatrician early Friday morning, and it was determined she had a simple virus, the symptoms of which would probably persist for the next week or so. Our doctor didn't seem especially concerned about the virus, however she was extremely troubled over the discovery that Maylin had lost one pound since our 6 month well baby visit.

I was shocked at this as well. Consistent weight gain for Maylin has been a bit of a struggle for us from her birth. It is really a story entirely of itself, but suffice it to say after a pretty rocky and scary start her growth chart finally showed some upward curve progress, especially between 3 and 6 months. Maylin has always been very small for her age, and so many people have remarked upon that fact with a hint of disdain and accusation in their voice that I've come to prickle my motherly quills anytime someone references that fact, even if it's the sweet little elderly woman at the grocery store. Yes, Maylin is small. She's always been in 25th percentile or less, but I honestly just chalked it up to her being petite like me. Call it first-time-mother ignorance if you want, but I did. I'm barely 5'1 and weigh 114 pounds at 5 months pregnant with my second child. That's petite. Of course Maylin is small. It's in her genes.

However, even I was shaken when they put Maylin on the scale and realized that her weight had dropped so much between her 6 month and 9 month checkups. That's not supposed to happen to a healthy baby, even if she is "petite." 

It was at this point that the reality of weaning Maylin began to set in. My doctor gently but firmly suggested that weaning was really the only healthy choice for Maylin now. We closely scrutinized her growth chart, focusing on when the weight drop started. Maylin's weight loss corresponds exactly to the week that I got pregnant with Hartlie.  Bottom line: my body can't produce enough nutrition to keep both Maylin and Hartlie {and myself} at an acceptible level of health.

I'd read and heard that most mothers who get pregnant while breastfeeding have to wean their child, but I was still producing milk so I assumed that perhaps that wouldn't be the case for us. What I didn't realize was that the fat and nutrient level of my milk had been depleted, and even if Maylin was getting the good antibodies she was no longer getting those healthy fats that babies need to gain weight.

I was devastated. There is nothing quite so shocking as discovering something you think is immovable has suddenly disappeared. There is also nothing quite like realizing your body is not preforming the way you expected it was. Both of these things happened in a single instant while sitting in the cold, impersonal, flourescent-lit cubby of a patient room in the doctor's office.

I was a hot mess of weeping and tears.

I have always, always, always from the core of my heart cherished our nursing sessions together. Except for the rocky start, those times were always very calm. They were the times of day that it was just me and her. We could quietly rock with no one else around. It was almost like pushing the reset button on our day. No one else had those times with her. Just me. Call it selfish if you want, but I closely guarded those times between us. Any mother who breastfeeds understands what I'm talking about.   

I have known for a while that the end of breastfeeding was coming for us. She's only a couple months away from a year old, and I never intended to nurse longer than that, especially since baby sister will be born early summer. I'd started stockpiling pumped milk to slowly start the transition to cow's milk at twelve months, but thought I had at least another good month of nursing before the weaning process actually started. The fact that I feel our time was "cut short" makes the emotional side of weaning even harder.

In my heart I know weaning is the right choice for Maylin to be a healthy and happy baby. I want that for her. I want the very best for her, which is why I breastfed so long to begin with. I'm struggling with the idea that my body has let her {and me} down instead of doing what it's supposed to do. Of course, when I mention this to Michael he reminds me that hello, I am over halfway through the pregnancy of our second child and then I feel a little bit better about my body's nourishing capabilities. When I look back at pictures of Maylin when she was about 5 weeks old {at an all time low weight-wise} it breaks my heart to see her skin and bones little self. I've always sworn to myself I would do everything in my power not to have her experience that kind of hunger again, even if it means giving up breastfeeding. But that doesn't make it any less sad or make my  heart feel any less bruised.

The transition for Maylin has actually gone extremely well. Much better than for me as her emotionally attached mama. She loves taking a bottle and seems to really like the taste of the formula. We haven't had any problems with spitting up or gas. She sucks it right down. This causes conflicting feelings within my heart. I am so relieved that switching to formula has been an easy transition. However, there is a teeny tiny small part of me that wishes she would miss the breast milk too. But she just doesn't. And really, that's okay. I guess.

So, after a week of emotional meltdowns and lots of crying on my part, Maylin has stepped into a new phase of her life. A new stage of our mother/daughter relationship. It is sad to leave the old familiar behind, but I'm learning it can also be exciting to see what lies in store for us next.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

{Baby Davis #2} Introducing...

I'm not sure why, but I always assumed the experience of our second pregnancy/child wouldn't be quite as exciting as the first. After all, we've already been through pregnancy, childbirth, and baby-rearing with Maylin. Aren't they all kinda the same? We've pretty much "done it" already, so naturally it's expected to be slightly less exciting the second time around.

Oh how foolish I was.

This second pregnancy is truly just as exciting as the first. Not saying that the two pregnancies are the same, because they're not. They're vastly different, and contain vastly different emotions and experiences. Nevertheless, this second pregnancy with Baby Girl No. 2 is still just as thrilling. I think this may be perhaps because I know what to expect. I know what's coming, and can therefore be giddy, anticipatory excited rather than anxious, nervous excited. Does that make sense? {If not, then just chalk it up to pregnancy brain, okay?}

We went for the anatomy scan of BG2 a couple weeks ago, on Michael's birthday, which was kind of neat. {That didn't happen with Maylin. So you see, point proven.} The true purpose of the anatomy scan is for measurements to be taken and to make sure the baby is developing properly. With Maylin, the only ultrasound we had was the one anatomy scan. Our doctor only orders ultrasounds if they're medically necessary, and thankfully with both our girls thus far, we've never had a reason to have more than this one. So we only get to see the baby this once before she's born. 

I was just as excited to lay my eyes on our baby as I was to find out her gender. I wanted to see with my own eyes that she was really in there, that she was growing and developing on schedule, that all her organs and limbs were accounted for. I pray daily, and very specifically, for the mental and physical health of this child {and did with Maylin, too}; so this scan was a huge relief for my mind.

Thankfully, there the baby was. Perfect. Developing naturally and on time. We have several in utero pictures of her, but this one is probably my favorite. It's the most detailed image we have of her face.

Is it just me, or does her profile look remarkably like Maylin's? Michael thinks I'm a little crazy, but I really think I can already see similarities. I'm already having fantasies about matching monogrammed outfits...

When it was time to examine "the goods" to discover the gender, Michael and I were both on the edge of our seats. I'd had mixed feelings about whether I wanted a boy or a girl. I wanted each gender equally as much, but for different reasons. I wanted a boy to be a son for M, for them to do manly things together; so M could pass down his love and skill for baseball; so I could watch him grow into a man who is a strong leader like his father. Simultaneously, I wanted a girl for Maylin, so they could have that special, irreplaceable sister-bond and be built-in best friends, so they could share life together. I'm not sure which one I wanted more. Really I felt that either gender would be a win-win for me.

When it was apparent that our baby is a girl, I felt the most conflicting emotion of deep disappointment that it wasn't a boy and deep elation that it was a girl. It's a very strange emotion, and I'm not sure if I'll ever feel it again in my life. That emotion lasted for about a split-second before Michael and I looked at each other with huge smiles. Of course she's a girl. Of course she is. Hadn't she always been? Hadn't our hearts been prepared for this since the moment we knew we were expecting again? And from that second on, she's fit so naturally into the landscape of our family that it's difficult to imagine ever thinking she was a boy.

We decided pretty quickly on her first name. It's one that we've always liked, a runner up when we were naming Maylin. It never quite fit for Maylin, but we saved it just in case. As soon as we tried it out on this baby, however, we knew it was a winner. It clicked. It was perfect. It was her.

We debated on her second name for a while, though. We tried out many different names with many different cadences and meanings. We tried family names, modern names, three-syllable names. And in the end, one was suggested that we least expected to stick. But stick it did. Nothing overly fancy. It's simple. Classic. Undeniably feminine. Meaningful.

With the greatest thrill, and deepest level of anticipation and expectation, I introduce to you...

Welcome, Baby. Welcome. Though you're not in our arms yet, your place is firmly cemented in our family.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

{Baby Food Diaries} The Berry Mash

Honest confession here:: I haven't been as faithful as I'd have liked in posting Maylin's progress with baby food. Maybe my goals were a bit lofty, but somehow real mom life got in the way, and well, I just haven't posted about it.

However, there are some things that are just too good not to share. This baby food recipe is one of them. Surprisingly, I didn't get it from a baby food recipe book or anything like that. I created it just by looking at the scraps of food in my kitchen and whipping up something Maylin could eat. And quickly, because at the moment she was screaming in her high chair. We've all had those moments, right?

I'm not generally prone to feeding my child kitchen scraps, but literally, our kitchen was about empty.

So here's what I did. In a food processor {which is now my new best friend} I threw the leftover blueberries from our overnight refrigerator oatmeal {hopefully a post on that coming soon}, a very ripe and heavily spotted banana, a handful of steel cut uncooked oats, and a pinch of cinnamon. I whirred them together until they made a paste. Viola. Berry Mash.

Maylin inhaled it. Win.

Although, if we're being honest here, anything I can throw together in a moment's notice for my child while she's wailing in her high chair is a win for me.

Blueberry Banana Mash
  • handful of blueberries*
  • very ripe banana
  • handful of uncooked steel cut oats
  • pinch of cinnamon
Mix together in food processor and serve immediately.

*You can tell I'm very exact with my measurements these days.

I've also used frozen thawed blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries before with the oats. Which is the original Berry Mash. Now I'm just experimenting. Which is basically all being a mom is. One huge experiment. If it doesn't work the first time, try something different the next. That's my motto these days anyway.

Happy eating, friends!

Monday, January 13, 2014

{Real Mom Life} To-Do Lists

Ever had one of those days where you didn't get anything accomplished that you'd planned to do?

Yeah, that was my day today.

Mondays are the "stay at home" day for Maylin and me. Usually our weekends are our busiest three days of the week {I'm counting Friday, too}. There's always somewhere to go, or someone to see. And of course Michael is home, so we spend a lot of time with him. Maylin's schedule, needless to say, suffers during the weekends. So, I dubbed Monday as the day we stay home and recuperate. We usually don't go anywhere, and I stick to a strict sleep routine for Maylin to get her body back in the groove. Typically I tend to get a lot of things done around the house on Monday. It's usually wrecked from the weekend so I take the time to get everything back in order.

Today I had a to-do list as long as my arm, full of things that I "needed" to get done.
Pick up clutter.
And like zero of those things got done.

I like to feel productive with my time at home, so when I don't get things done I feel frustrated.

Frustrated at Maylin for not "sticking to her schedule." Frustrated at myself for not using my time more wisely. Frustrated that I keep getting interrupted from my chores due to one random thing or the other.

By the end of the day I'm so steeped in this emotion of aggravation that I'm short tempered and strung-tight. Not a very pleasant person to be around.

Tonight Maylin didn't go to sleep easily like she normally does and I had to rock her for about thirty minutes past her bedtime. As I was sitting in the dark, I had a few moments to think back on the day and realized that I had missed the point of it all. The purpose of my day is not to complete my to-do list. The purpose of my day is not to have a perfectly clean and tidy home with a gourmet dinner on the table by sunset. Some days that does miraculously happen, but those days are much fewer than I would've ever supposed before I began this journey of motherhood.

Instead, I should be grateful for the time I had with Maylin, watching her crawl around with her newfound freedom on the floor, playing with toys all by herself {yay!}.  Instead of grumbling in my mind and complaining that I should be doing {insert chore here} and inwardly freaking out at the thought that I might not get to cross off everything on my list, I should be relishing the time I get to spend with M when he comes home on his lunch break, and thanking my lucky stars I can have at least one adult conversation between the hours of 9 and 5.

This time in my life is just a season. There will never be another season that is exactly like this one, where I have the freedom and luxury of time to spend with Michael and Maylin. Sooner than I expect, I'm sure, things will change. And I'm pretty confident I will find myself missing this season and the days where I could just sit with my babies and play with them, never minding all the dirty dishes in the sink or the dog hair in the corners of the room, or this deadline or that assignment.

The to-do list doesn't have to be completed today. Or tomorrow. Believe it or not, it's just not that important. Not important enough to affect my attitude. Not important enough to be given priority over my family.

That's a resolution I'm going to stick with all year long.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

{Taking Stock} 02

Making:: time to finish reading "The Fitting Room" by Kelly Minter.
Cooking:: French Onion soup with toasted bread later this week- tonight, though, out for sushi!
Drinking:: the limited edition Caramel Flan Latte from Starbucks. Best favor I've done myself all week.
Reading:: the Jesus Storybook Bible with Maylin every morning during our first nursing session. One of my resolutions is to read an entire story Bible to her over the course of this year. If you're looking for a theologically sound children's Bible that clearly expresses God's love, this one is it.
Wanting:: the Saints to beat those dirty Seahawks in this weekend's game.
Looking:: through Maylin's pregnancy photo book I made on Shutterfly. It perfectly captures all the exciting moments of our first pregnancy, and I can't wait to make another one for little sister.
Playing:: the latest album from The Civil Wars. Track 5 is my favorite.
Wishing:: this drab January rain would let up for a day so I can get out for a walk in the fresh air.
Enjoying:: rising from bed at 5:00 AM {when I had to get up that early to teach I never thought I'd be saying this!} to do prenatal yoga and pilates, then drinking coffee with M while getting dressed for the day. It's nice to be completely ready by the time Maylin gets up at 7:30. {This too is a New Year's Resolution.}
Waiting:: on my recently ordered fur vest from Brickyard Buffalo to arrive at my doorstep.
Liking:: the new body pillow I got for Christmas. I also like the good nights' sleep it's been giving me.
Loving:: cuddling and nursing Maylin. These special mama/baby times are about to come to an end {with her} so I'm trying to soak up as much memory from it as I can.
Smelling:: a new candle M got in his Birchbox- "Speakeasy" by Votivo. It's got just the right scent of masculine swag, and he burns it by his bathroom sink.
Following:: the eating_whole feed on Instagram for ideas for meals.
Wearing:: this metallic polka dot scarf from Target.
Noticing:: the little ways Maylin is growing up, as if she's changing before my very eyes.
Thinking:: about baby gear we'll need since we'll be adding an extra, such as a double stroller and a front facing car seat.
Bookmarking:: these tips about juicing and these ideas for overnight refrigerator oatmeal.
Procrastinating:: on cleaning the baseboards of this house. It's a dirty job, but it's got to be done.
Opening::  a five pound bag of fresh grapefruit I bought at the grocery store this morning. Maybe it's a pregnancy craving, but I can't get enough of this citrus right now.
Pinning:: ideas for Maylin's first birthday party.
Feeling:: content.
Savoring:: the sensation of two strong little legs kicking away inside me.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

{This Moment} Frozen in Time

May I always remember how she looks right now. 
My firstborn.
My baby.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

{Miss Maylin} 9 Months Old

It is incredibly amazing to me how much Maylin has grown and matured this month. I feel like each day she makes a new discovery or has a new facial expression. And she's definitely outgrowing those pants! Sister has some long legs! I so enjoyed doing her photo shoot this month. Michael was home on vacation so he was able to be in the room and help me get her to laugh. In most of the pictures she's looking up at him and smiling. She loves her daddy! Here's the 411 on Maylin Sidney during her ninth month.

At 9 Months Old, Maylin::
~ is a crawler!! She is getting around everywhere these days. And can crawl around the kitchen floor while I'm cooking supper to cling to my ankles. While screaming. Sigh. Hopefully this crying during cooking will end soon??
~ makes the sign for milk. I've been consistently "speaking" sign language to Maylin since she was six months old, and she is just now beginning to sign back. This is huge for me! I'm so excited that I can actually see our work paying off...even if she does now use the "milk" sign for anything she wants at the time.... At least it's progress!
~ drinks from a straw sippy cup {water only}. This is something I've also been working with her on for a little over a month. We tried a lot of different sippy cups at different times. This is the one that finally caught on after several days of trying. It's strange the way she "gets it." One minute she was not drinking correctly from the straw at all. The next she was. How does that happen?? Now she drinks from one during play time and meal time all by herself.

~ breastfeeds 3 to 4 times a day. She is becoming less and less interested in nursing, though. Which is a good thing considering we have another baby coming up in June. Maybe weaning will be easier {for her} than I initially expected. Still hoping to make it until 11 months before I officially begin weaning her.
~ eats solid food 3-4 times daily. Sister love, love, loves to eat "real" table food. Anything and everything. She has turned nothing away that we've ever given her. In fact, now I usually just give her bits and pieces of our supper instead of pureeing special food for her. For example, we had baked potatoes, roasted carrots, and venison the other night, and I just gave her small pieces of everything we had. She loved it all.
~ especially likes to self-feed. In fact sometimes she refuses food if given to her on a spoon, but when set on her tray will gobble it right up. My hunch is she's going to be a "do it myself" type of person.
~ self-feeds plain whole wheat pasta, broccoli, mango, peaches, carrots, peas, organic chicken, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, and {her favorite} grilled cheese.

~ still rocks those size 2 diapers. Not sure if we'll grow out of those any time soon!
~ wears size 6-9 month leggings, which are still too big in the waist but perfect in length. Just this past week I stuck a pair of 12 month leggings on her that reached all the way down to her ankles {hallelujah!} but swallowed her tiny waist and booty. She may be like her mama in the fact that it's impossible to find clothes that fit in the length and waist. Except I have the opposite problem in that I'm too short.
~ wears 3-6 month {yes, these actually still fit!}, 6 month, and 6-9 month onesies. I'm really getting my money's worth out of those 3-6 month sizes.

~ sleeps like a champ.
~ takes two 2 hour naps daily.
~ sleeps 6:30 PM to 7:30 AM. That PM bedtime keeps creeping earlier and earlier. These days she starts getting fussy and rubbing her eyes right around 6:00, which is when we get in sleepy-sleeps {pajamas}, read a bedtime story with Daddy, and have our bedtime nursing session. Baby girl is out like boom by 6:30. Typically. {I really hope that we're not jinxed by me writing this.}

~ is definitely going through separation anxiety, which really probably started around 6 months. "Perk" of staying home with her I suppose. We're really working hard to combat this. And I'm so sorry to all of the sweet ladies that work in the church nursery on Sunday mornings.
~ has an independent attitude {despite being endlessly clingy to her mama} in that she wants to feed herself, get it herself, do it herself. I can see more and more of her personality emerging each day, so I can only imagine what I'll have to write for her 10 month update.
~ loves to dance with Daddy. Any time a peppy song comes on, Daddy dances her around the room, wiggling and jiggling and swaying and moving up and down. She laughs and squeals through the whole thing. 

Maylin Sidney, just writing about you brightens my life. I can't wait to know you more as you mature and come into your own little personality. Our first-born sweet thing, we love you so!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

{Real Mom Life} My Choice to Be a Stay-At-Home Mom

Yesterday morning Michael went back to work after a two week Christmas/New Year vacation. I made the bed, cleaned the kitchen, got a load of laundry going. The house was quiet and still; bright {albeit cold} sunlight streamed through the windows. Maylin had eaten breakfast, had a bath, and was down for a morning nap. I was getting ready to finish my coffee and spend some time reading my Bible.

That's when it hit me.

A feeling of such fulfillment and satisfaction and purpose that I had to pause in my tracks. This thought actually went through my head, "I love my job. I love what I'm doing. God wired me for this. And that's okay."

It was so relieving to finally admit that to myself, the first time in all the nine plus months Maylin's been alive and I haven't been teaching or working outside the home. I can say it with confidence, and I can say it without guilt.

Staying home to raise our daughter and manage our household is my true passion, my current calling, my purpose.

For months and months I carried around a permanent feeling of guilt for staying home with Maylin rather than working outside the home and contributing to our family income. I felt that being home wasn't "good enough," that it didn't carry enough weight, that I should be doing more. Michael would try to convince me over and over that what I'm doing is contributing, not monetarily, but in an equally important way. But I didn't believe him.

Deep down I wanted to be okay with staying home. After all, I chose to. In fact, the majority of my life I've wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom to our kids. But when it came down to it, all I could think about was what my working friends would think {they've all been very supportive, by the way}, what my coworkers would say, and whether I would have any respect from working women. Would I get passed by, wearing frumpy mom jeans and driving a minivan while my friends kept up their social lives and looked glamorous?

Surprisingly enough, I've realized over the months that just because I'm staying home doesn't mean a switch automatically flips inside me that makes me frumpy, dated, and boring. I'm still me. And a huge, integral, core part of me was created on purpose by God to derive fulfillment from managing a household and raising our child from home.

When I told my principal I'd be leaving my fourth grade teaching position after Maylin was born, I was a bit nervous. I rushed through my "confession," quickly explaining that I'd be home for a few short years, but planned to teach again after our kids started Kindergarten. He quietly sat and listened to me spill my heart. Then he said something very poignant. Something that has burned a spot in my memory and will probably never go away. He said, "High school kids need stay-at-home moms just as much as Kindergarteners do." In other words, don't rush back just because I think that's what's expected by the culture.

And I don't intend to. Michael and I have had our fair share of talks about what the future of our family looks like. In almost all the scenarios, I'm staying home with our kids. No matter what grade they're in. No matter how old they get. This is my job, my career. It's just as important as anything I could be doing in the working world. And believe it or not, there are days {just as my principal so wisely warned me there would be} that it would be easier to go to school rather than be in the house with a tempermental baby all day. But this is my choice, what I would rather be doing than any job I can think of.

The older {wiser?} I get, the more I realize that God created each person differently. "Everybody else" isn't just like me, and I don't have to be like "everybody else." I know women who work full time outside the home and are outstanding mothers. I honestly don't know how they do it. I have the utmost respect for them. I know women who work from home who are also wonderful mothers. {Sometimes I don't know how they do it either!} All that to say, I'm convinced that no matter what choice has been made by the mom, we're all just trying to do our best. We're all just hanging on to sanity by a thread. Each choice has its perks and its difficulties. No choice is better or worse, or more deserving of praise than the other.

So. At the conclusion of all these musings, the main thing I want to say is this::

I am accepting who I am as a woman who wants to stay home to manage a household in the midst of a career-driven society. I  can confidently and proudly admit to myself and others {when asked, what do you do all day?} that I honestly enjoy being a stay-at-home mom, and that I derive a great sense of satisfaction and purpose from it. I don't {and shouldn't} have to feel guilty for my choice. I'm doing what I was made to do. I am fulfilling a God-given desire in my heart.

What I do is important. It's meaningful. And it has eternal value.

Monday, January 6, 2014

{Baby Davis #2} Dear Baby | 02

Dear Baby,

You have a name. You have a face. You seem so  much more real now. This past week we went for your anatomy scan and were able to see your image for the first time.

You are perfect.

You have ten little fingers and ten little toes. You have a four-chambered heart beating at 148 beats per minute. You weigh a whopping 8 ounces. You have two kidneys and two lungs and one loooong spine that stretches the length of your back.

Already I can see glimpses of your own personality. You are quite the little wiggle worm- flipping, twisting, turning, and kicking. You were hardly still the whole time we watched you. This has carried over into all parts of our life, for there is rarely a time {day or night} that I don't feel your movements. My hunch is you are going to rock the world of this little family.

As you grow and make your presence more noticeable, I find myself thinking of you more often. And praying for you by name. And anxiously anticipating your entrance into our world.

Happy New {Birth} Year, Baby. You're making it shine already.