Thursday, December 20, 2012

And still.

Everything I feel I can not adequately express. Everything I think to write has already been written. But I can't not acknowledge. I don't want to add anything to the infamy surrounding this man and his actions. But right now I am craving community.

My heart is still heavy, so very heavy. I think it will be for a long time. For those babies, for their parents, for the loved ones of those teachers, for the classmates and colleagues who must find a way to breathe and carry on in impossible circumstances, for our broken nation.

I'm terrified for my child. I hold her to me with both arms stretched across her tiny body, I hold her so she can't get away, so she can't be taken. Because it feels like this world is coming for her. Coming to take her from me, and I can't bear it. I take in her smile and the way she kicks her feet against the floor. Her hand clasp and the dip in her upper lip. The fuzzy hair and stretch of thick black lashes that frame her brown eyes. Her nose, my nose, that crinkles when her smile starts to turn in to a laugh. I rock her to sleep every night, and before I lay her down, I inhale until her baby sweetness fills my lungs. I put her down with tears in my eyes and thank our heavenly Father for another day with this one.

I am waiting with the rest of you. Waiting to see how our leaders will respond. What they will deem "the answer", and what they will overlook. I'm waiting for them to attack the method and ignore the madness. It's so much bigger than gun control or mental health or anyone's constitutional rights. It is the entirety of our culture. Of our society and its ills and vices. And what can I do? What can I do to ensure my child's future is worth having? To be able to send her school not 4 or 5 years from now without a gun in the classroom for her supposed protection? To go to a movie without planning an escape? To be rid of this tightness in my chest?

I can pray, and oh how I do. Constantly. Trying to give my fears to the Lord and not take them back. And I can try to be good. And I can, God willing, raise my daughter to do the same.

When my spirit is weighted, my hands crave something useful to do to lighten the load. I love this project and will be participating.

From that status of Kim Haskill Stanfied:

If you know a teacher, or have kids in a school, please pass on:

A building has been designated to house the students from Sandy Hook Elementary School. They are in the process of transporting desks, chairs, supplies and so forth to this location. My neighbor is the president of the Newtown PTA and we met tonight discussing what we can do to make these children feel comforted upon their return
to school.

Please join us in "The Snowflake Project".

We are asking your students to make and decorate a snowflake. We will hang them in the hallways at the stark, new building where the Sandy Hook students will be returning. PLEASE NO WORDS! We want just a cheerful, happy (glitter and sparkle) environment for the students entering the new building.

Please pass on to any teachers you think may want to participate.

When you send your snowflakes, please include a note to tell us where they are from (your school, class, town, etc) to display along with your snowflakes. You can send them to me directly, and I will give them to our PTA.

Connecticut PTSA 
60 Connolly Parkway 
Building 12, Suite 103 
Hamden, CT 06514

Thank you so very much!

Friday, December 14, 2012

A break for hilariousness.

In the throes of laundry and bottle sterilizing and continuing the streak of not shaving my legs, but this is on the internets and I think we all need to take a moment, pour a holiday gin, and read Hipster Puppies.


mango muttered something about auto emissions and then flicked a second cigarette butt into the woods
[via sunshine]
mango muttered something about auto emissions and then flicked a second cigarette butt into the woods

And also...
there was an npr story about that, let me find it
[via michelle h]
there was an npr story about that, let me find it

And my personal favorite...
penny fears kindles because “then how are people going to know what you’re reading?”
[via kaitlyn k]
penny fears kindles because “then how are people going to know what you’re reading?”

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Merry Christmas from Hue and Hum

No elaborate intro required. This is a lovely yuletide greeting from Hue and Hum who are a wife and husband conglomeration of creativity and artistry, the likes of which when you come across you just can't keep to yourself, so with that... Merry Christmas from Hue and Hum...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I think when people tell you to cherish the tiny baby days because they go by so fast, what they're really saying is "Don't worry, don't fret, don't cry in the middle of the night feeling alone and hopeless and trying to salvage any bond you might have with your baby, because the screaming and the inconsolable colic and god knows what.. it will end. You will get your sweet, loving, smiling baby back and you will be a success, and it really does all go by so fast that one day it will just happen and you'll be sitting down on the sofa at 8 o'clock with your angel asleep and you'll eat your first hot meal in months and snuggle with your partner or check your blog reader in peace, and you may find then that you miss the days, mere weeks prior, when your baby needed you and only you, even when they were screaming without breathing and seemingly beyond repair, and you won't remember how it felt.. you'll know it felt horrible.. but you won't remember just how, and you'll realize then that that time.. that teeny tiny wrinkly warm skinny legged little baby time is fleeting. Ever so fleeting, and you'll miss it, and no matter how you thought you failed, you actually did ok, and you needn't have worried. Because upstairs, the baby you love deeper than anyone else could is fine, and even, should the smiles first thing in the morning and at every diaper change and splash of the bathwater mean a thing at all, starting to love you back.

(4 day old Eliza. Broken heart soup.)

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Story of a Girl.

I meant to have this written by one week, then by one month, and then two... and she was three months old last Tuesday. At first, I never wanted to leave her. If she was peaceful and napping I was either staring at her in the bassinet or holding her on my chest where she belonged. This computer didn't move from my desk for a solid six weeks. At some point we were in the throes of colic.. or was it dairy?.. or maybe just gas? Whatever it was, we were in it, rocking and bouncing and pacing our baby all over the house. Then we demanded quiet from the world to focus on the new us and we started to work it out. We found our rhythm. It was then that I began to pen this story. I've written at three in the morning, alone in the nursery, over tears and anxiety and the sweet heaviness of missed sleep and new motherhood. In the car driving nowhere just to be out, with this new life in the backseat, dozing over the hum of the afternoon. And in the mornings, in the graciously long mornings, when I would bring her to bed to nurse and lay beside me and she would do so as though she's been doing it all along. Which I would realize then, she had.

I've been trying to put this story into words that feel right. How do I write about something wound in between and within every part of who I am, that made me who I am? How to write about it without missing any of it? Without getting off track... but then, how could I not? Oh, this impossible, necessary task. 

I want to remember those weeks where we waited.. and waited.. and dodged well-meaning messages on Facebook, asking what was the hold up and had we tried eggplant parmesan and sex? Those last days were a wonderfully indulgent time I got to spend with my mother; time I realize now was the beginning of something new for her too. Something we both had to fight for in a way, fight our own expectations and disappointments about how it all should have been. Learning how to just be there for each other and not dampen each other's joy. Up until the moment my daughter came in to this world and every moment since, my mother has been showing me how to give love unconditionally, and now I see that I will never feel I have given enough. It's a relationship where you're giving just to give - and if you don't have it, you find it.. you dig your hands in until it's made. And you cry and pray and bargain and beg and feel enormous guilt the entire time. And it's a privilege.

My belly never dropped, mostly because it never really rose. From the time I started to show this baby girl was sitting low. At 30 weeks, strangers were asking if I was about to pop. No one, and I mean no one, thought I would make it to my due date. I did squats and took evening primrose oil, so naturally, they were right. I strode into my 36 week appointment expecting my doctor to check my cervix and announce, "You're 10cm! Push!"

Not. Even. A Fingertip.

But it was week 36, so who cares. I upped the evening primrose dose and carried on. Week 37 I  started having regular Braxton Hicks contractions. Regular in that I knew for sure that's what they were, but there were maybe 5 or 6 altogether. Still, I hoped, but there had been no progress. Week 38 I ballooned. Big face, big legs, big arms, no ankles. For sure this was my body preparing for the beginning of the end. For sure. I waddled into my appointment, hoisted myself up on the table, said my selfish prayer, and as you can imagine.. still nothing. I left that appointment and cried. Sobbed really. My body wasn't working the way I wanted it to and despite the fact that yes, it was still only week 38, and yes my water could have broke at any moment, and yes, I could have woken up to mind numbing contractions overnight... it was all so unlikely. And I like likely. Likely things happen to me. Unlikely things, so very rarely.

So that following week I did things with evening primrose that one should never do, and whatever suggestions were on my Facebook page or sitting haughtily in my inbox.. they all got a shot too. My reflections on pregnancy deserve, or at least warrant, an entire post all their own, but for the sake of brevity - pregnancy was, at seemingly unending times, a misery made bearable only by the out of this world love and contentment I felt every time our baby moved against me. And now that I know it was her, my Eliza, the whole time... well... this is why women do it over and over again. So by week 38 I was done. I wanted to give birth and begin. Like a fool I wanted into the fryer. And I wanted to be one of the girls who go early. Unlikely.

Week 39 I arrived with no makeup, a sadly overstretched "Save the Ta-Tas" t-shirt, and black sweat pants just nice enough to pass for scrubs on a pregnant woman no one was going to correct. I was crying before the nurse had even shut the door. My doctor said she would sweep my membranes if she could and she said it the way you say something convincingly because you know you won't really have to do it at all. I left with induction instructions, wet kleenex, and misplaced rage.

I wanted to time contractions, trade astonished looks with Mike, take a shower and straighten my hair, do familiar things the old familiar way while on the verge of something so fantastically new. I wanted to drive to the hospital in the middle of the night with darkness and quiet surrounding us. I wanted to wake my parents with a phone call and hear their anxious excitement. I wanted to give them an experience, give them something back for all they had given me, make up for some of the hurts. I wanted a lot of things that wouldn't have changed anything that mattered.

Sometimes it feels as though I've been on a crash course in my life. That I've been ricocheting off the consequences of my mistakes since I was old enough to make decisions for myself. I wanted this to be different. I wanted to face it. I wanted to feel every contraction, to bring her into this world just as she was, to do what God had made my body to do... but my body wasn't. It wasn't giving way... my body, for which I thought I had so much respect, wasn't giving in to me. This shook me and stole my confidence. I still hoped, but... And as I began to accept that I would have to be induced, so dwindled the conviction I had for laboring without an epidural. I would still try, but I was just as unconvinced as my doctor weeks earlier. Oh, how I wish I had given myself a chance. You'd think a lifetime of tripping, stumbling, face planting, and always getting back up, albeit often with help, would have rendered me better prepared.

Sunday, July 22nd, I kept Mike up until two in the morning. I was scared and unsure. Was this necessary? Couldn't we wait? What if she wanted to come on her own Tuesday or Wednesday? A biophysical and stress test had shown she was happy and healthy right where she was. After this I would say the only way to be okay with an induction is to believe that it's necessary, and that I did not.

I prayed I would go into labor overnight. I woke up Sunday morning to Mike bringing me coffee in bed. My mom came over with breakfast and kept me moving. She got me out of the house and held my hand as we ran pretend errands and I stopped in various bathrooms to pee and not cry. Mike's parents arrived. People ate and chatted and I went upstairs to take a shower. I got out and discovered, at 40 weeks and 6 days, that oh why yes in fact I had gotten a few stretch marks. And then I did all the familiar things the old familiar way, half holding my breath, waiting, praying, feeling alone. Trying to feel excited. Talking to my baby girl. Pretending not to hear God.

Oh my word, what I know now. How I would have spent those moments.

I packed a few last minute things and leaned heavily on my mom while she prayed for us all. I weighed 187 pounds the night before I gave birth and she held me up like it was nothing.

Mike and I got into the car with our moms following behind, and off we went, on the way to the hospital to have our baby. I called my dad and choked it all back while he told me he loved me and was proud and wished me luck. I told him things wouldn't really get started until the following morning and I would see him then. I wished my water would break on the seat.

We checked in to the hospital like it was a Sandals resort and waited for the nurse to come. In a blur I was in a gown, in a bed, and then induced. As the nurse was getting me prepped and asking the usual hospital questions she kept mistakenly referring to Mike as my husband. Not an absurd assumption, but given the circumstances, it was mildly comical. One of us (I can't remember who) corrected her, and rather than save herself from another potential blunder, she proceeded to then ask how long we had been together (prior to finding ourselves together in a delivery room, one of us with a foley bulb receiving a bear hug from her cervix, you mean?) and Mike, not missing a beat or an opportunity to demonstrate yet again why he is exactly who I want to be with on this parenting journey replied, "41 weeks."

Stunned silence filled the room just a smidge past the point of comfortable before I laughed hard enough to probably pee myself a bit and one of the nurses asked, "Really?" It was exactly how I'd always envisioned that moment would be.

Our moms came in to say their goodnights. I was ready to tuck in and sleep through to morning, expecting per my OB's schpeal on induction the week before that I wouldn't be anywhere near active labor until 8 or 9 the next day. I was having tiny pitocin contractions that I could just barely feel and could easily sleep through, so once my mom was convinced that I was not in gut-wrenching pain and we were all again reassured that the show wouldn't really begin for several hours, our moms went home to get some sleep. Mike was gone before his head hit the pillow and I  reclined to watch Taylor Swift lyrically assault whatever ex-boyfriend had landed her on the VMAs this year. This was around 11pm. I drifted off and woke up a few hours later to what I had been hoping for all week - real, strong, this is it contractions. They started right in the middle and spread outward, pulling my stomach in from the sides, taking my breath with them. I woke Mike and he helped me breathe, let me squeeze his hand, and reminded me that I am amazing and someone he loves. At one point he looked at the monitor and said, "Hold on, this is a big one baby." I might have said something unkind just then.

The contractions got more intense and closer together very fast and I was struggling to stay focused and breathe. It was too soon for it to be this hard, I told myself. If my slow to respond body had to make it all the way to tomorrow morning before "active" labor began... there was just no way. Of course, had I not been full of preconceived expectations and focusing on other people's perceptions of what my body could do I might have realized I was already in active labor and so much closer to giving birth than I thought. The room was dark and sterile and cold and I wanted to be out of that bed, but for whatever reason, didn't. I rolled over to find Mike's face and as I did the foley bulb that had been placed to dilate my cervix fell out. They told me when this happened that I would be 2-3 centimeters and they would increase the pitocin. This was around 4am. The nurse checked my progress and raised her eyebrows. I was dilated to 4 centimeters. They upped the pitocin.

She told me every centimeter to ten would take about an hour and the thought of six more hours, each one exponentially harder than the last, seemed unbearable.. and terrifying. And then I would have to push, which she told me for the average first time mother takes about three hours. Three hours. And since likely things are likely to happen to me, I decided to ask for dilaudid to calm the next wave of contractions and give myself time to regroup, refocus, and hopefully make it to transition. The one bit of encouragement still lingering were the words of the doula who had given us our tour - if you can make it to transition, you can do the whole thing.

Mike called our moms and gave them the update. Knowing what they know, they got up and rushed back to the hospital. I still wasn't expecting anything for many hours to come. The nurse came back to check my progress and I was at 6 centimeters. A nurse practitioner broke my water. The dilaudid was wonderful, as most narcotic pain relievers are. I became a happy drunk and asked Mike all sorts of inappropriate questions. The haze was short-lived, however, and about one hour later I was back to bed rail clenching and throwing down with God, one contraction on top of the other, reaching from my throat to my knees. I couldn't breathe, I was shaking uncontrollably. I tried to tell myself one contraction at a time, but it all felt like one long incredibly painful merciless trial without end. I was in transition and had no idea. I asked for the epidural. Mike hesitated and asked if I was sure. In his voice I could hear that he wanted to tell me no, do not give up this thing you've wanted for so long, do not give up on yourself, you are doing it, you are already doing it. But he didn't say the words and I didn't ask him to. He was there for me and me alone and knowing this I asked the nurse to stop this pain and bring me back from wherever I had gone. I felt so alone and I wanted Mike with me. At the time this was the only way I knew how.

I clenched through I don't know how many more contractions before the anesthesiologist arrived. No, I don't have migraines or diabetes or high blood pressure or anything other than a human being trying to be born through my vagina so could you please for the love of God put that damn needle in my spine?!? Oh, the numbing burns you say? ASK ME IF I CARE! While waiting, I had one last shuddering full-body spasm and a feeling of wretchedness so awful I thought my eyeballs might be melting from my face. I threw up no less than 6 times on my nurse and also on Mike and then steeled myself against every evil on earth in order to hold still long enough for the epidural to be placed. The relief was immediate and I thanked every one in that room.

I could still feel contractions, but they were reduced to mildly uncomfortable flutters. I was encouraged to sleep and rest up for pushing, which I still believed was several hours away. It was around 6am. My dad had arrived and came in to see his girl. I remember a kiss on the forehead and a good luck and then I was asleep. I don't know how long after, if it was five minutes or an hour, but at some point Mike went to sit for a few minutes in the waiting room with our parents and I woke up to the very early beginnings of daylight. I also felt like I was going to crap my pants. Having read a hundred other birth stories I knew rectal pressure meant I was probably fully dilated, but not wanting to jump the gun on my never unlikely, no progress prior to labor self, I did my best naive first-time mom impression and told the nurse I thought I needed to poop. She checked my suddenly not-so-stubborn cervix, looked at me, and said, "You're 10 centimeters and I can feel the baby's head. You need to call Mike, you're ready to push."

"Call him with my phone?!", I said.

"Do you know another way?", she said. And I decided right then that I liked her very much.

So I called him and it turned out he had just put his feet up on a waiting room sofa. He didn't answer but saw me calling and was already on his way back to the room. I felt another wave of pressure and strong urge to push and frantically called my mom. I told her they all needed to come back. I wanted to see my mom and dad before. This was the "it's time" call I didn't get to make. On the way back, Mike ran into our nurse who told him I was ready to push. He walked in and gave me this look, like "are you ready?", followed shortly by our parents. I got to tell them it wouldn't be long and I got to see their faces before I turned them into grandparents. It was good.

The moments just before getting ready to push were so joyful. I was staring down what I thought would be three hours of godknowswhat and the scant hour if that of sleep was hardly what anyone meant when they said to rest up for pushing.. but this was it. This was pushing. The last step. The last wait.

There was no keeping anything a mystery. A nurse grabbed one leg and showed Mike how to hold the other and we were off. Not being able to really feel contractions meant relying on the nurse to tell me when to push and for how long. When asked, I do admit to regretting the epidural both because I know now that I was so close to being fully dilated, and because it did rob some of the experience of pushing. But there was an energy between Mike and I that kept breath in my lungs and strength in my limbs. It's hard to describe in words that don't make the whole thing sound completely unintentional, like one giant tumble into the best time of your life, but something about not knowing each other long (a little over a year when Eliza was born) and also knowing with certainty that this is exactly who I want to be having this experience with right now.. It brought it all down to him and I. There wasn't years worth of figurative or literal bs, outside expectations, family pressure... It was just two people who met like two people do, decided to like each other despite unfavorable odds, fell in love, questioned their sanity (mostly me), went on a three day break over Thanksgiving, missed each other, got back together, realized they were pregnant (oh hey! me again!), moved in together, had to go through several several months, years even, of relationship building in a matter of weeks to avoid killing each other, found respect, found real love, began to build a life.. and then.. were in the delivery room, putting it all on the table, hoping it was enough.

We're no different than anybody else, really.

So what if he's right in the thick of the most miraculous, triumphant, and let's be real, horrifying thing to happen to my body since the navel piercing of 2000? We haven't had time or care to hide anything from each other before, so why start now? I'm glad he was there (and I mean there) to greet her, to tell me she was coming when I couldn't see through tears or the sobbing. I'm glad he was there to tell me it was something impressive even when I questioned myself after, when I felt remorse and sadness at having given in to the pain. I am proud of carrying her and bringing her into this world. I am grateful, so grateful to God that she arrived healthy. I am. I will come to peace with how it happened in time, because that was on me.

I pushed for an hour. We almost lost Mike in the last ten or fifteen minutes. The adrenaline got him and he had to tap out for a few. It was very had to be there hilarious. And touching. A nursing student the size of an Olsen twin took his place until blood flow returned to his face. But he made it back for the very end and dragged me through those last gruesome pushes. I will hear him saying, "Here she comes" for the rest of my life. I replay those moments every time I miss her, every time I miss him, every time I want to remember this thing we did together on approximately day 382 of being in each other's lives.

There was cheering from everyone and one final push that hurt so badly I thought my chest would burst wide open.. and then.. I heard her cry. I heard that very distinct down and up wail that is so distinctly hers. I felt all things old rush out of me and one very wonderful thing rush in. It was a small fraction of the love I feel for her today but it filled the space. The nurse brought her to my chest and her eyes, oh my sweet God, her eyes.. they sought me out and locked in and all I could see were her tiny lips opening and closing, her nose (my nose!) breathing the air I had labored in, her hands looking for something familiar to hold.. She was as desperate to be loved as I was to love her, so I wrapped her as tightly as I could and grabbed her almost see-through fingers and they may have melted right into mine for all the warmth I felt in that touch. We were tethered together for nine months and it wasn't until she was laying against me, in the world, that I felt that we were one. This girl made me a mother. She made me someone who has given birth to a beautiful, healthy baby, a life that was not here before. Actually having that experience makes you realize what an unlikely thing that is. What else will this child do in her already magnificent life?

There are so many things to write about, so many things to share, and I hope I will find time to share all of them. To bring you up to speed and share the good and the very, very hard. For now, here's a few pictures and a prayer for all the mothers and the mothers to be (those who know and don't know yet).. I pray for health and peace and some way to deal with the inevitable guilt. I pray that we all stop comparing and questioning and have faith in ourselves to do the hard things and take a little credit for the good things. And enjoy our children when we can and forgive ourselves when we can't, when we just can't. Because it is seriously brutal sometimes. And this is why God blessed women with the task.

And to it, sisters, do it well.


Eliza Violet Carter
Born July 23rd, 2012 at 8:55am.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mid-day Nursery Splurge

Just a quick Etsy share in the middle of the work day. No biggie, right?

I've been looking for something like this for a long time.. saw lots of beautiful work on Etsy, but nothing that really made the heart flutter, until I happened upon this a few days ago.

It's fresh and feminine and kind of italian paperie-ish with just enough whimsy. One very pleasant email requesting a custom color palette was exchanged, name and initials confirmed, and hopefully in the next two weeks these little lovelies will be hanging above a crib.

LittleLion Studio on Etsy. So far, so good.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Maxi, Stockholm-style

I have a thing about Kohl's. Mainly, that I hate it. I know it's popular among the bargain hunter set and as a self-proclaimed finder of the deal I should embrace its perpetually disheveled racks and celebrity monikered lines, but oh mah gad... that store kills me. Nothing ever really fits me, the fact that there's always 30/40/50% off everything makes me feel like I'm never actually getting a deal, and the cult following behind Kohl's cash is just a little too purple kool aid for my tastes. But sometimes I get a bag of well meaning purchases from my mama and maaaybe some of it turns in to a merchandise credit... sometimes.

So tonight I decided to face my nemesis in search of a new duvet cover and maybe a set of sheets for our bed. In search of serenity, I was.

Well, this is where the story gets humbling friends. There's no clever way around it really... I got past the "what parent allows their daughter to wear that?!" junior's department, the Lexus crossover driver populated Dana Buchman section, and even the mish-mash of jewelry, Simply Vera bags, and Jennifer Lopez fragrances... I could see the wall of linens ahead, but then out of the corner of my eye I spotted this...

Maxi dress, clean lines with a subtle suggestion of chevron, flattering racerback neckline, and if I dared to dream, it was a non-maternity dress that might just fit over my very third trimester maternity belly. There was a fleeting moment of doubt, some nervous lip tugging, and then I grabbed it in all four available sizes and headed for the fitting room.

This is what happened...

Yes, I tried it on with sunglasses. I was wearing zero eye makeup and I don't trust my un-enhanced reflection in dressing room lighting. 

Yes, I'm also making a Rachel Zoe face. I admit it! I make celebrity stylist duck face when I try on clothes. I'm ashamed, alright?!

But back to happy times.. this dress is a dream. It drapes beautifully, doesn't hug anything it shouldn't, has a sexy neckline and "shoulder silhouette" yet still works with a big girl bra, and comes up high enough under the arms to keep the "hey baby!" side boob under wraps.

And... I'm wearing a small. A SMALL! This from the girl who was a solid 6 pre-pregnancy and whose hips and thighs have plumped up to a healthy 8 post.

There I am folks. Just another deprogrammed Goldie Hawn to a scheming Kurt Russell, dressing up in another woman's clothes, giving myself over to my captor.

Best 40% off I ever spent... just please don't tell my mom.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Baby things

There is really nothing so enjoyable to me right now as spending quiet evening hours scouring Etsy for nursery finds or taking all of Saturday afternoon to stroll through the abundance of antiques and vintage in Old Ellicott City... a mirrored vanity tray here, a milk glass hobnail lamp there...

Baby girl's room is going to be a thing of curated, vintage and vintage-inspired beauty, I'm not even the least bit hesitant to say. It started with the somewhat exhaustive search for a classic crib that was feminine but not too girly, from a time gone by, but still modern... and then I had to find the perfect vintage-inspired fabric to have a crib skirt and blanket made.. which of course prompted the 20-sample search for the exact right shade of cream for the walls (not too yellow, not too peach, enough of a tint to not be white...).. and then came the dresser (a gorgeous painted piece I found on one of those Saturdays for a steal).. which made me think I could paint my old reclaimed bookshelf a light misty aqua to match the flowers in the fabric... which gave way to the possibilities of a coordinating pale lime for the rocker.. and you get the idea... if you give a first time mom a cookie, she's going to ask for a glass of milk...

Every effort and energy, creative thought and DIY I've always wanted to do or try, but never made time for in my own pre-maternal living spaces are now bubbling to the surface, and remarkably the motivation to do them all is in bountiful supply... I suppose this is what they call the nesting...

So here's my first attempt at a mood board, just a few things either currently taking up residence in or providing the inspiration for butterbean's boudoir... and yes, it very much looks like a first attempt, so be kind :)


Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012

Today I stood at the edge of the ocean where I have stood 29 summers before... before I could have ever imagined your name... and thought of all the days that came later when I hoped and wondered if I would get to show you this place where I was a girl, a child, and now, your mother. The sun moved over my belly and you within it and together we went into the surf.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Birthday Eve

In a few hours, it will be my birthday. I suppose technically it's my birth day now, but as a bit of a birthday purist I don't really feel it until the actual time of my birthday which was 9:47am on May 19th, in a year gone by called 1982. Let the math lead you where it may.

When I was little I saw my parents "being 30" and thought "that will be the age when I eat vegetables without prompting, can drive, and will be given my very own house by the grown up fairies." As I grew, I saw 30 in all of a teenager's simple-minded cliches.. old, boring, the end of childish fun and spontaneity. When I fell in love, 30 became an end goal. A "have this done by then" check-point of domestic success. When I married at 26, I felt 30 give its nod of approval. When I separated at 28, I looked to 30 in shame. I spent most of 29 looking forward to once again being at 0. 3-0.

Today is not just my birthday, it's also my baby shower. My wonderful, constant mother and grandma-to-be is throwing a shower for the nugget and I, and I tell you, if you can time it just so, there is no better way to spend your birthday eve than in anticipation of a gathering of family and friends celebrating the near arrival of your first little bundle of sweetness and joy.

I don't know how I feel about 30 today. I suppose I'm ambivalent towards thinking anything about it at all. I look in the mirror and see an older face and a healthy body and I'm proud of having gotten here with my mind, predominantly, intact. I'm turning 30 and my baby is rolling and stretching and I can feel her tiny feet and hands reaching towards my belly button (and towards freedom, perhaps? nope, not possible, can't think about that impending reality right now) and my new perspective is that this year... and the next and the next.. are going to be anything but boring. After three decades of wondering what "30" would mean for me, it really couldn't be less about me at all, and that is wholly and thoroughly refreshing.

My heart is full and I'm too excited to sleep. Turning 30? Not much different than turning 5 or 10 it seems.

Balloons, Youngna Park

Monday, May 7, 2012

The man in my life

I have had a post in draft form for several weeks now, introducing you to the man who, among many other things, is the father of the sweet little baby due to arrive sometime in the next ten weeks or so.  I let him read the first few paragraphs last night and he smiled and playfully called me a nerd, probably because, I am true to form, the first few paragraphs were mostly me writing the way I would tell you the story in person - overly, and perhaps unnecessarily, animated, sarcastic, rambling, and dotted with irrelevant references to whatever was distracting my train of thought at the time. 

I sat down tonight to finish that post and do what I've been wanting to do for a while - to let you in on this new(ish) part of my life and fill in some details of the story of how this baby came to be. But I can't finish that post now, at least not in the way it was written. I was trying to tell you how and where we began, and though it's only been a few months since, that could not be further from where we are now. I just can't start our story there, though I'm certainly going to save that post for sometime down the road. Eventually the girl-meets-boy story will have to be told.

Until then. This is him..

Handsome fella, and the hat is permanent.

We had just signed for our first house together and as we were leaving the parking lot after a celebratory lunch, I said, "We're going to be roommates!", which still makes me laugh since we are also going to be parents, and one would think that sort of trumps the roommate milestone. This was his face. He makes it often. I love it.

Tonight we were talking about the children we may have later. The possibilities of our future are something we've discussed several times, to varying degrees of seriousness, and probably on both sides with varying degrees of faith and trust. I question myself frequently. I question my ability to make something last. I question whether I'm the kind of woman who can do more than one thing well. Can I be a mother, have a career, make a home, continually nurture a relationship, and do each thing well enough to be worthy of any? I don't yet have an answer.

I wonder sometimes how he is dealing, what he is thinking, if he is still happy and fulfilled being the man in my life. If he is as excited to be a parent with me as I am to be a parent with him. I keep waiting for there to be moments of hurt, or of wanting more, wanting me to not have the bags I came with, but what comes instead is moment after moment of love, support, and opportunity to build this life together. He is teaching me patience and acceptance and shows me every day what it is to let someone love you whatever way they know how.

He said something to me tonight that I will remember always. I hope when he reads this, he knows what it was.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Christmas in May

And here I thought I was gonna have to miss out on leopard skinnies since I'm a full 7.5 months pregnant while they're at their peak.  Turns out, someone read my letter to Santa.

Asos, $69.08. And free shipping, Whee!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I am not a food blogger

But I do cook, a lot actually, and I enjoy the heck out of it.. it's like therapy or yoga or what happy hour used to be before Baby E was on the way.  I'd probably cook every night if I had the organizational skills to plan more than a day or two ahead, but alas, for now I'll get the urge to make something, hit the grocery store after work, and sometime between then and midnight, dinner hits the table. I tend to draw on a few cookbook standbys that I've mastered and can pull together on the quick, but every once in a while inspiration strikes and something marvelous happens.  Sunday night was one such evening, and as I sit here munching on the last scraps of the leftovers, I feel the need to share this flavor explosion with you.

And since I am not a food blogger (to my deep chagrin), I must preface...

I didn't take pictures.

I can't recall exact measurements.

Temperatures and cook times...?  Ehhhh.... 

But it was easy, it was pretty, and it was something simple that didn't look like something simple so you could do this to impress your friends one night with a bottle of whatever or to triumphantly circumnavigate the always welcome surprise in-law visit or because you may have spent the equivalent of next month's rent on baby clothes (that never happens here, never...) and you need a buffer meal to put you back in your significant other's good graces. This is the Belgium chocolate of easy meals. Or the Italian shoe. Or the vegan falafel waffle... I don't know, whatever works for you.

I call it... Italian Wedding Salad.

And lemme tell you why... no, it does not have delightful little meatballs, or italian seasoning of any kind (unless you count scads and scads of garlic), and no little noodle balls or equivalent substitute. I call it Italian Wedding Salad because it has lettuce and baby spinach (the green!), and potatoes (which kinda look like the noodles... sort of... before you cook and season them), and balsamic vinaigrette (which could be broth! maybe! especially if you're a liberal dressing-dressinger like I am!).. and... gah... don't ask, it was delicious. 

Italian Wedding Salad
(Served two ravenously hungry people, who tend to ignore appropriate serving sizes altogether, generous portions plus sliiiightly more reasonable seconds one night, one person a yummy lunch and dinner the next night, and then the two people from the first night bickered over portion size the 3rd day until the person who made the original mass quantity pulled the "growing a human" card and got all the rest of it to herself... so whatever that serving size would mean in your household, so be it)

From what I can recall:

1.79lb package of chicken tenders (I only remember the weight because it's the last thing I saw before I dumped the trash, and the exact number of tenders alludes me, but it doesn't really matter, as you will see...)
2 large lemons
1 red onion (I would say mine was small-mediumish, but again, most of this is to taste and who cares what size your onion is anyway?)
2-3 cloves of garlic (I love garlic like I love thin thighs so I used 3 elephant-sized cloves and probably could have added a 4th)
Salt & Pepper
Lettuce mix of Red Lettuce, Arugula, and Baby Spinach (enough to fill a big 'ole mixing bowl, it's gonna "melt down" when you add the rest of the innards)
Red potatoes (I used 2 medium-large guys)
1 package of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
Balsamic Vinaigrette (I use Newman's because he's my boyfriend, but fancy people make their own I hear.. pssht...)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used some store brand that's about 100 years old and somewhere Mario Batali was weeping I'm sure)
Feta, crumbled 

And here's what I did:

Throw the chicken tenders in a bowl, squeeze the juice of both lemons over the chicken. Thin slice the onion,  set aside half, rough chop the garlic, and throw that in with the chicken as well. Combine, cover with plastic wrap (or a plate, if you never have plastic wrap, ahem...) and put that mess in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour while you gather your strength and eat some girl scout cookies.

In the meantime, fill a medium sauce pan halfway with water, add a dash or so of salt, and bring that to a boil. Chop your potatoes into "quarter crescents"... basically slice the potato down the middle, cut 1/4 inch slices from each half, and then halve those - make sense? Or chop them however you please, just make sure they're not too thin and you can fork them with ease. Throw your chopped potatoes in the boiling water for about five minutes or so, enough to soften but not to turn to mush... or.. er.. mash.

While that's going, heat a big skillet over medium heat and add a little olive oil to the pan. Rinse your mushrooms if need be and give them a rough chop, set aside. Drain the potatoes and set those aside. Get your chicken mess out of the fridge, add salt & pepper to taste, toss to distribute, and add a few tenders to the pan (I cooked mine in three batches, but do what you will, it all comes out in the end). Don't stress if a few chopped onion or garlic pieces are stuck to your chicken when you throw them in the pan. I stressed, but it's all part of the magic.

Tenders don't need long to cook at all, so after 2-3 minutes I flipped over my first batch, saw golden brown perfection and knew today was the day I brought world peace to all. I added about a third of the potatoes and mushrooms to the skillet, around the chicken Roman wreath style, and then added a splashola of the balsamic dressing. Stir that all together and prepare for nosy people to start making their way in to your kitchen. When the chicken was cooked through (2-3 min per side), I moved the tenders to a plate to rest, gave the whole skillet a stir, let it sit for a few seconds, and then moved each batch of potato-mushroom-balsamic-plus whatever was stuck on the chicken to a separate bowl.  I repeated this in three batches... add chicken, add potatoes and mushrooms with some balsamic, flip chicken, remove chicken, stir the rest, move the rest.  I added the last bits of onion-garlic-lemon marinade, along with with the rest of the red onion set aside earlier, to last batch so as to not burn the bennies out of the garlic and onion, and to give a fancy flourish to the end since by this point people were watching.

Somewhere in the middle of all your batch-ing, rinse and chop your lettuce mix and throw that in the biggest mixing or dedicated salad/serving bowl you have.

Once all is cooked and fragrant and lovely, start adding your potato-mushroom mix to your greens, using some sort of tong-tossing-sand shovel device to combine. I did try to do this with some semblance of grace and agility so the greens would stay fluffy and not ripped to shreds under the weight of the cooked elements, and honestly, it may have been the hardest part of the whole endeavor. Once that was done, I layered the chicken on top, sprinkled with a generous helping of feta, and voila... Italian Wedding Salad was born.

The chicken was absurdly tender, the lemon flavor was there enough to add some early spring citrusy goodness, but not overpowering. The arugla was peppery, the spinach was healthy, and the red leaf lettuce just makes me feel normal. We both added some extra balsamic to our helpings, but since no one likes a soggy day old salad I opted not to add it to the whole bowl.  Smart.

And the feta... oh sweet, tangy, delicious Greek feta... there are no words for what we share.

So there it is folks.  Next time I'll have the foresight to also grab a fat loaf of crusty, yummy bread.  As it was, he who has been previously mentioned in the bickering over who got the last helping was so inspired and enamored with my culinary prowess that he decided to whisk me off to the end of the street for after dinner frozen yogurt, Japanese-style.  Chopped strawberry and rice crispie treats on top of some original tart fro-yo on a 75-degree March evening?  And I didn't even have to suggest it???

You're welcome.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A little weekend goodness

At 4AM Monday morning.  Nothing like waking up twenty times to pee, catching a leg cramp, finally getting comfortable, and then being interrupted yet again by a cacophony of snoring from your manz and two furry beasts.

I'M UP!  

Made myself some oatmeal pancakes, grabbed my fuzzy blanket, and figured I'd catch you up on nothing major - just a few things I happened upon this weekend that made me a happy bunny. 

Since the weather is continuing on this trend of out of season amazing, I had the motivation to do some much overdue closet purging and reorganizing. This left me with several bags of clothing to donate and also the realization that if I intend to go outside this spring and summer, I need to get some mama clothes. I love my bumparoo more every day, but dressing around it and staying true to myself is a challenge. True to me revolves around two basic fundamentals - I love a classic and I love a bargain, so plunking down change on clothes I may only wear for a few more months hurts a, a lot, actually.  For this reason, I've been staying away from maternity stores and trying to shop silhouettes that will be flexible now and still work postpartum. It takes some patience and an open mind, but what shopping trip doesn't, eh?

Surprising source of maternity wear #1 - Forever 21.  I know.  But every time I write them off as way below my age threshold, here they come with some crazy affordable, on trend clothing that could have just easily been hanging on the rack at J.Crew.

I submit to the jury... 

Pretty much everything I love about shorts now that I'm a grown up.  Slouchy, but still flattering fit, long enough to cover my bum without reaching my knees, and on-trend with all the yummy pastels I'm seeing everywhere for spring.  I sized up one to make room for the baby hips, let them sit right under the belly, and boom. Mama shorts.

I got them in the minty green, lavender, peach, and khaki. Four pair of shorts for $54.

I resisted the maxi trend when it came around last spring/summer.  I'm shortish, 5'4" and a half, so I didn't think I had the height to pull this off.  Turns out, it doesn't really matter how tall (or not) you are, maxis are freakin comfortable, and especially so when you're pregnant. This dress is soft, has a nice weight for warm spring and not too sweltering summer, and has an adorable cap sleeve that gives much appreciated coverage and bra concealment for those of us plagued with unruly baby boobs. Strapless is great if you can do it, but I need a serious bra every day to get the support I need.  I hate when straps show but I still want something breezy and comfortable.  This is it.  Works with flats, works with a wedge, no jewelry, chunky jewelry, with my favorite knit pullover for cool nights, with nothing. Stayed true to size. Love.

This is just perfectly pretty. The cotton is soft, the lace is smooth and not scratchy. With a long cami underneath, any pair of my new shorts, cute sandals, and a bracelet or a necklace this will probably be my weekend "I want to look dressed" uniform.  Sized up one to drape nicely over the belly, and will still work as a slouchy weekend tee when baby makes her debut.

I also have some product love to share. It's not a weekend without a trip to Target, obviously.

Have you heard of BB cream yet? It's all over the blogosphere as of late, and I've started seeing commercials for various department store and specialty brands. It's touted as a cure-all, cover-all, tinted moisturizer plus.

Target had all the Garnier products on sale so I picked up the Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector in Light/Medium and the Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Roller.

These two products could be my makeup regime from now through the end of summer. The Skin Perfector is lightweight, non-greasy, not too much pink or yellow in the pigment, and lets my natural skin tones and variances come through while also evening out and brightening my complexion. May sound contradictory, but it truly does what it says, giving you glowy, hydrated, balanced skin with sun protection.

I had a BOGO coupon so I also picked up the under eye roller. I usually have a disdain for concealers, but this one is really more of a brightener. I gave it two swipes under each eye and felt immediate refreshment. The formula is cool but not tingly or irritating. I noticed an immediate reduction in puffiness, the whites of my eyes looked brighter, and the effect lasted the rest of the day. Very much enjoy these products in tandem. If I can manage to smear these across my face, maybe sneak in a dollop of lip gloss, I will consider myself a new mom success.

And last but not least, it's self tanner time.  I used to be a Neutrogena addict, but I've noticed that the after application self tanner smell is gawd awful strong on their products, and no matter how natural the color my new spidey senses just can't handle it. I've had good luck in the past with the Jergens Natural Glow products, so I decided to give the foaming self tanner formula a go.

I like that the Natural Glow products take longer to fully develop so you can mitigate your level of fauxness. I applied the tanner in Fair to Medium Saturday night and again Sunday evening immediately after showering and buffing my skin dry with a towel.  The foam is rich and smooth and goes on like a sheer lotion. Spreads evenly and easily - much easier to spread than a lotion. You can feel the moisturizing properties, which is a nice change of pace from most self tanners that tend to dry up your skin. Since application is half the battle, this product had already won me over. I woke up Sunday morning with a nice, even glow - my skin plus. Now, about 12 hours after application #2 I have an even warmth with no streaks or dark patches that I think I can live on for a few days before needing to apply again.  

And the best part of all - no nasty self tanner smell. NONE. I kid you not. Buy some.

So that's it kids, not a bad weekend.  Did I mention I even mopped the floor? Nesting instinct is no joke.

**Also want to sneak in a mention for another giveaway courtesy of The Art of Making a Baby. This is for a Dear Johnnies hospital gown, something cute and comfortable to wear postpartum in the hospital when you're still being checked every couple of hours, nursing and caring for your new little one, and not wanting anything to come too close to touching your superhero parts. I know not everyone cares, but I love that fun extras like this exist. It's important to feel good and whatever does that for you, I'm all for it.

Alright loves, it's pushing 6AM and I'm going to bravely attempt the shove over and be silent technique on Old Man Wood Saw upstairs.

Thank goodness for the under eye roller, all I'm sayin.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Blog Nod (and a giveaway I'm excited about and am mentioning to get extra entries to win, but kinda hoping you don't enter so I have a better chance.. but read her blog! Ok?)

Hey Party People!

Just a quick shout out for a blog I've been very recently turned on to... The Art of Making a Baby. A friend emailed me the link after we had a three, maaaybeee four or five hour long conversation about natural childbirth and I've been both humbled and inspired by this mom's committment to go natural, both throughout her pregnancy and during her labor and delivery.  And she also looks supermodel gorgeous doing all of it, so you know the words, sing it with me now... We've got hiiiiigh hopes, we've got hiiiiigh hopes! 

Anyhoooo, take a gander at that.. and while we're at it.. very quietly and without much fanfare I also have to mention the giveaway she's got going on for a Pretty Pushers Labor Gown. Laugh, joke, raise your eyebrows, but lemmetellyawhat... those gowns are cute y'all.. and they're sleeveless and there's room for the baby monitor and an open, easy un-do halter neckline.. and since, God willing, I'm delivering sometime this summer I'm all about it.  Besides, if you knew me in real life you wouldn't think twice about me posting this (Hey April!) oh, and the whole kit-n-kaboodle is meant to be disposable after your little one is in the world.. so wrap me up one, would ya?

Now, if you simply must dash my hopes of winning one of these gowns myself, take your good old time checking out the sidebar in her blog to enter.  Unless you're gonna try to win one for me, then by all means, rush right over and tell your friends!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mommy Strength

Today marks the halfway point.  Baby Girl is exactly 20 weeks along and but by the grace of God that she does not inherit my chronic tardiness, the number of days until we meet should hopefully amount to less than the number that have gotten us here.  By the Grace. Of. God, people!

I'm starting to feel like her Mom.  I've known of course, since she was just a flickering peanut, that I was going to be her mother, but in the past few weeks it has changed from something I'm waiting for to something I'm becoming. I've transitioned from talking about my pregnancy to hearing myself say "my daughter" and absolutely delighting in the purpose two simple words give every day conversation.  This transition has also given me a brand new perspective on this whole pregnancy thing and provided me with some pretty handy tools to navigate some of the more challenging first-time mom moments.

One of those moments is when one is faced with the most dreaded of all pregnancy evils... the Mommy Bully.

You know the one.  She asks you about all the intimate details of your pregnancy, your birth plan, your thoughts on how you plan to raise your child, and when you answer she wastes no time in tearing your heartfelt and well-researched goals and aspirations to tattered rags.  It goes something like this...

Mommy Bully: Sooooo! You're five months along, huh? Do you know where you're going to deliver?

Innocent Pregnant Woman: Yes! We're delivering at Come One Come All Hospital. We just had our tour and we really like the staff and birth sui-

(you're cut off mid-sentence)

Mommy Bully: (eyes rolling) Ohhh nooo, weeeee delivered at Holier Than Thou Hospital and my epidural was a cocktail of percocet and champagne and my ob is a direct descendant of the midwife who delivered Jesus.. you're getting an epidural right? You're not one of these new-age natural birth mothers, oh for heaven's sake please don't say-

(you cut her off mid-sentence)

Innocent Pregnant Woman: Actually, I am hoping to have a natural delivery but I'm staying open to the possibility that I might want help, hence why I'm delivering at a hospital.

Mommy Bully: Oh but truuuust me, five seconds in and you're going to be begging for the epidural.  Don't be a hero, there are no awards for giving birth the Stone Age way you know... [negative negative negative, condescending condescending, condescending...]

You could substitute any topic - breastfeeding, swaddling, cloth diapers, strollers versus baby carriers... there is literally no end to the backlash a first-time mom receives from the been-there-done-that crowd.  It will come from the well-meaning, the spiteful, the have-no-sense-of-social-decency-whatsoever, your friends, your family, your coworkers, your cashier at Target. 

And then you have a choice.  You can either do what I did up until a few weeks ago, which was to internalize my anger and hurt and wait until I got home to unleash it all in a blizzard of tears and sobs and "Why doesn't anyone respect my choices?? I'm going to be her mother!! They were new mothers themselves one time, don't they remember what it's like?!?! Don't they think I want the best for my child??? What kind of person tries to talk another woman out of making her own choices as a parent?!?!"

Or, you can take a breath and remind yourself of the one simple, irrefutable truth.. YOU alone are your baby's mother.

I can't tell you what a quick glance in the mirror every now and then, saying these words to myself with a hand on my belly, has done for my state of mind and my resolve. It reminds me that no matter what criticism or negativity comes my way now, something so much bigger and better is coming to stay.  And I dare somebody to challenge her cute little cloth-covered bottom once she's here.

140 days and counting...


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In moves peace

(Just past 3AM Wednesday, been awake since 5AM Tuesday. Managed to twirl my hair around a curling iron this morning and kept my makeup relatively fresh throughout the day, hence the rare stamina to sit here looking quasi-presentable and write to you anyones out there about what yet I'm not too sure. Bear with.)

I so admire the blogs of 5 or 6 sentences that describe a day, describe an outfit, link the two seamlessly together, infuse a shot of philosophy, and scene. My reader is full of them and they've helped break me of my magazine addiction, for which I am forever grateful. The thing is, they can do that because they do it every day and those of you who are fellow faithful blog followers will understand what I mean when I say that you come to know these women like the neighbor down the street who can just pop in to say hello, while I on the other hand tend to err on the side of moderately bitter old harpie who only emerges from her shades drawn bat cave when the children have cleared the streets and the weather outside is not a degree below bathwater. I would love to write every day, and if you count the continuous reel of monologue playing in my head I suppose in some way I do, but most of the time trying to strain the good through the lumps of gritty bad is too much for this crazy old cat(less) lady to manage.

Lately though, there's been a new reason to write, a new thing to think on, and rather than let this time go undocumented, only existing for me and my unsorted mind to remember, I want to share it with you.

Ladies, readers, friends.. I am pregnant.  Deliciously, ever-increasingly, several months and a pair of days pregnant with a five and a half inch scrumptch of a baby girl, who if she inherits even a trace of her great-grandmother's good graces will hopefully grant forgiveness for what appears to be the unfortunate resemblance of my nose.

And there it is, in all its miraculous, confusing, terrifying glory.  A baby is coming.  My baby.

I have struggled for weeks over whether or not to bring this story here, to this format, this breach of anonymity and privacy the past 18 months have taught me to cherish. And not so triumphantly, I can't say that I came to the decision so much as the decision came to me.. earlier this evening in a hall light lit bathroom taking in for the very first time that this woman-in-repair staring back from the mirror is not just me... it's me and it's Her.  Her is here now, not just Situation or Circumstance or What next to do.. occupying the space that was empty, longing for reconciliation and absolution, praying every night for Belief, is Her. My daughter is with me now, every moment of every day, and the relief, the forgiveness, the peace I furiously clung to hope that God would grant to heal the constant ache in my heart... He did me one better.  He moved peace right in, and so very precious, about once or twice a day, I feel -literally- peace moving within me.

It may be the first time in my life as a believer that I've not mistaken grace for mere relief, that I've felt something not just calming, but also stabilizing and determining. That the answer to my prayers has brought me closer to God than I even thought to ask for, and that His answer to my doubt and despair was a to-the-knees resounding, "You are My child and you absolutely can do this. I would have it no other way."

This is about the time in the mind-reel when I would just as soon turn the microphone over to God Himself and let Him tell the story His way.  I clearly fall short, and.. well... this is ultimately His story anyway, isn't it?

Short of a divine intercom system, I will, for now, leave you with this - I am grateful, so very grateful, but I am also, more often than not, scared out of my mind. What about my big ole proclamation of faith, you ask? Oh it's there, staunchly and steadfastly my faith in my God and myself is there, but me and Her.. we are both still learning, both growing together, and for today my simple hope is that on this fast-approaching day when my sweet little girl is born, she will be a brand new baby in the world and I will be worth her. 

"Peace is not the absence of noise, trouble, or hard work.  It is to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart."

**Together, today, we look a little like this...

And the peace that She's giving me, something like this...

Thanks for staying with me, more to follow.

**I realize this blurry iPhone pic could use a bit of editing, but I kinda like the Hopper-ishness of it, and frankly, sometimes blurry ain't bad.