While You’re Gone

I’ll take care of things while you’re gone.

I’ll take out the trash on Thursday mornings. I’ll fill up the gas tank. I’ll call maintenance when the water heater breaks. I’ll cook dinner for one (and a half).

I’ll match and fold her too-tight pajamas. I’ll be her audience at bath time. I’ll chase her down and wipe her nose. I’ll go down the biggest, steepest slide at the park with her.

I’ll take care of things while you’re gone, the things you take care of.

Because while you’re gone, the seasons will change. While you’re gone, the pink blossoms on our tree out front will come and go. I’ll chase the mother robin away from building a nest in the front porch light. The grass will fill in green in the bald spots in the backyard. You’ll miss the allergy season while you’re gone (lucky).

But other things will change too. While you’re gone, her feet will get bigger. While you’re gone, she’ll learn a hundred new words. She’ll feed herself with a spoon. Her hair will get longer. She’ll outgrow the clothes she’s in now. Her face will look more and more girlish.

While you’re gone, she’ll steal my phone and lock me out of it at least four dozen times. She’ll throw 100 tantrums. She’ll bonk her head on the coffee table at least once a day. She’ll pull on the doggie’s tail and play in her water bowl like it’s a kiddie pool.

And while you’re gone, she’ll only get to see you on a phone screen. She’ll hear you calling her name through a speaker. She won’t understand why you’re gone until she’s much older.

While you’re gone, you’re gonna miss her like crazy. You’ll miss the tickles and the tantrums, the teething and the toy-throwing, the walks to the park and the dirty diapers.

People don’t take those things into account when they think about deployments.

So honey, I’ll take care of her while you’re gone.

Genetics or Parenting? How Our Daughter Slept Through the Night at 2 Months

There’s no other way to say it: We are blessed. Blessed with a baby who, like her momma, loves sleeping. Blessed to have had full restful nights of sleep starting when she was around 2 months old. 

Y’all, I don’t claim to have had any influence in this phenomenon. I think she’s just an enigma of infancy. However, if anything we have done in our parenting thus far has actually caused her to sleep like an angel, I suppose I should document our sleep regimen here so I know how to try it again next time around.

No doubt about it, the newborn phase was rough. And we were realistic going in to it. We fully accepted that most parents turn into zombies when they have a newborn. We expected sleepless nights for several months. We expected our marriage to struggle under the weight of new responsibilities. We expected it to be … much harder than it turned out to be. So in a lot of ways, our harsh expectations made it easier to cope when the newborn phase was upon us.

The first week, we were shocked when Adelaide slept for a 5-6 hour chunk at night. They say a number of factors can cause that – she had thrush, she was jaundiced, she had an average birth weight but lost nearly a pound her first week, and breastfeeding was taking a little bit to get going. It wasn’t until the doctor told me I should be waking her up to nurse that I thought I was doing anything wrong.

But she didn’t like being woken up. She wouldn’t nurse well, she was more fussy, it just didn’t make sense to her. Plus she was gaining her weight back just fine. So I followed my wise mother’s advice and chose to just follow her cues. I let her sleep till she woke up, then we nursed. She took a nap every couple hours during the day, and had a nice 5-6 hour chunk of sleep at night. Now, there were some nights, probably during her growth spurt periods, where she was waking up every 2-3 hours, and those were hard. But they never lasted long.

We started a regimen from day one that worked for her. We swaddled her tight, arms in, in a Halo Sleepsack, and rocked/swayed/pat/sang/danced/walked/paced/bounced whatever we could do to get those eyes to close and the paci to fall out. Many nights, I would walk in circles around the house until the furnace kicked on in the laundry room, and I’d go sway with her in there because the loud noise soothed her. We also always had a white noise machine next to where she slept. So once she was paci-out asleep, we would lay her down in the Fisher Price Rock-n-Play, and tuck another blanket around her (the day she was born, it was 8 degrees outside, the girl needed some warmth). Sometimes she would get jostled awake in the transition from arms to bed, so I’d rock the Rock-n-Play for a bit till those eyes closed again.

That was how she slept till she was about 3 1/2 months old. I know a lot of people would scoff that I didn’t crib-transition her sooner, but I’ve been staying with my family out of town while my husband has been deployed these last few months and I couldn’t very well move her entire crib out here with us. Plus with all that transition, I felt the Rock-n-Play was the most comfortable for her at the time, it’s how she slept the soundest.

Forgive me for boasting, but the results speak for themselves. At around 2 months of age, Adelaide was sleeping for 8-9 hours straight, waking to nurse and play for 1 hour, then going back down for another 3-4 hours. 

At 3 1/2 months, she started being able to roll from back to tummy and tummy to back. We noticed she was starting to drift off to sleep while laying flat on her back a couple times. Again, following her cues, we then decided to transition her to sleeping flat in her Pack-n-Play. After about 2 weeks of learning what worked best, we’ve figured out that her best sleep now is swaddled in a Halo Sleepsack, arms out, in the Pack-n-Play – we start her out laying on her back, but she almost instantly rolls to her side or her tummy to sleep. I don’t correct her anymore. Now that she is coordinated enough to get herself turned back if she needs to, I don’t worry about suffocation or discomfort. She puts herself in that position and sleeps. 

So. For people who need lists. Here are our sure-fire sleep-inducers for Adelaide:

1) White Noise – hair dryer, vacuum, car, clothes dryer, furnace, TV, white noise machine, anything loud and consistent keeps her down through the little creaks and squeaks of houses and everyday life (and dogs with loud tails). We even had a portable noise machine for on-the-go white noise to keep her asleep on grocery or car trips.

2) Halo Sleepsack – we tried other brands that people had bought us, but she was always able to get her arms loose and then she’d wake up. Not with the Halo. It is the essential swaddle for dummies. Zip, tuck, tuck, done. The first one we had was the newborn fleece one, nice and thick for winter. Once she outgrew that we got the next size up in the thinner material, works like magic. Until she got through that flailing arms phase, she just needed having the arms tucked tight to sleep.

3) Fisher Price Rock n Play Sleeper – I liked that it was angled and cradled her in. We have a happy-spitter baby, so it put me at ease to know she wasn’t going to choke on her spit while she was sleeping. We also enjoyed that if she woke up fussy, I could often just rock it by hand and she would coax back down. Plus this was a much cheaper newborn sleep option than a proper “bassinet.”

4) Swaying – our girl almost always needs some movement when going to sleep. Whether it’s in momma’s arms (preferable) or in her Mamaroo (which she enjoys about 50% of the time), she just likes being moved. She likes being pat on the tushy and swayed back and forth, sometimes bounced lightly too. During the day, I would sometimes “wear” her in a Baby K’Tan wrap (again, only liked this about 50% of the time) so I could get chores done. The rocking and swaying of moving against me almost always put her to sleep.

The only advice I could give that I believe would work for any baby is to just be creative. If something doesn’t work, adapt and change it up. Try something different, don’t get flustered. If she’s having a day where she will only sleep in your arms, give her that day and try something new tomorrow. Remember, your arms are getting crazy buff holding that little chunker all the time.

And now a video of my absolute favorite part of the day, waking up in the morning to this sweet, warm, heavenly-smelling angel. I’ve never been a morning person in my life, but I can’t wait for this moment every morning with her.

2 mos pp 

I hate to start a blog post with “I haven’t posted in a while…” but there’s no way around it. I haven’t posted in a while. I gave myself a 2 month hiatus while I have adjusted to this completely different life I now lead called motherhood. 

I knew I would want some time off from blogging in this short time with my newborn and husband before he deployed 2 days ago. Now that he’s gone and my dear daughter is beginning to show glorious signs of a real sleep schedule, I think I am ready to get back in the swing of things.

I have so much to share. From her birth story to first days, early weeks of sleep deprivation, spit up being a part of every outfit, dancing to the sound of the furnace, baby products I can’t live without, baby products I shouldn’t have wasted my money on, and so many moments in between that I could have never imagined would make me so unbelievably happy.

I’m now officially a Mom Blogger, y’all.

And now, introducing my beautiful muse: Adelaide River.

  

39w4d

Lost: my ankles. Last seen about a week ago, between my feet and my calves. Pale-colored, bony, bendable. Cannot seem to locate. In distress.

The pressure is on, folks. She’s due on Friday. It will be 2016 on Friday. We’ve been praying for months for a 2015 baby. Multiple reasons, most important one being that our girl’s godparents are currently visiting us from Alabama and we would love for them to experience her birth with us before they leave on Friday. Godmama is 14 weeks pregnant with a little lady of her own as well, so it would be fantastic to be able to share this with her. I believe that God is good, His timing is holy and perfect, He answers prayers and keeps promises. But every morning I wake up without labor starting, it gets harder to keep that faith. Thank goodness for my husband, and his trusting heart.

We’ve tried spicy food, oregano & basil, red raspberry leaf tea, foot massages, hand massages, hot baths, bouncing on the exercise ball, walking, sledding, singing loudly, begging, bribing, and a healthy dose of marital bedroom relations. Nothing seems to make this girl wanna come out before her due date. I swear if my father-in-law says “Babies come when babies come” to me one more time, I’m gonna blow a gasket.

I know he’s right. At the end of the day, there’s nothing I can do to really control when our daughter chooses to join us (apart from actual induction, which we vehemently want to avoid unless absolutely necessary). But literally as I was typing this paragraph I received texts from 2 different people asking “Is she here yet?!” And I’m sent into anxious mode.

Man these last days are no joke! Emotions all over the place. Lots of last minute preparations. I have my post partum pads and granny panties. We installed the car seat. I got my nails done (for the first time since my wedding, if that is any indicator to how often I get myself pampered like this). I keep mentally repeating to myself I’m ready, we’re ready, I’m ready, we’re ready, COME OUT ALREADY!

Sweet Adelaide, I want you to come when you’re ready. I know the Lord’s timing is outside of my understanding, and I trust it. I trust that for whatever reason, you want to cook just a little longer. Just know your momma and daddy are dying to meet you, so that may make us a little impatient. Waiting for the best gift ever is not easy! We’re just ready for our lives to be changed, forever. Please come soon, dear one. I really want my ankles back.

27w3d

We have a name!

Introducing our first daughter, Miss Adelaide River 🌻

So relieved to have finally chosen her name, and to be able to call her by it now. I had no idea we would struggle so hard to find a girl name we could agree on. They say you never know how many people you hated in life until you have to choose a name for your baby. Hubs seems to have something negative to say for just about every name in the book except Adelaide. Thankful, because this is actually a name we have adored since we first started dating in 2009. Now that it’s chosen, it’s so perfect. Couldn’t possibly be anything else.

  
We finally decided on the name while we were on a long vacation to our hometown in Knoxville. It was actually a fantastic trip, all the time we got to spend with our friends and family was just good quality time. 

   
    
 We spent 2 days for ourselves at our honeymoon hotel in Asheville, North Carolina for a short babymoon getaway. It was so worth it to just indulge ourselves (for the last time in a LONG time…) and just enjoy each other as husband and wife. It may have put us back a little financially, but I know it was worth it. We had such a good time.

   
 
   
The rest of our time in Knoxville was jam-packed. We had a friend’s graduation from cosmetology school, another friend’s wedding to photograph, maternity photo shoot for us, and my baby shower – which was very sweet!

  
We enjoyed loving and being loved on by the people who are most important to us, for this last visit before our lives change forever. Before who we are changes forever.

Some of the realities of parenthood are starting to hit me. Like how my husband tends to be quiet and distant whenever he is deprived of sleep, and worrying how our relationship will be affected by weeks/months of living like zombies with a newborn. Or how my body will cope with the trauma of labor, how it will look afterwards, how I may never look the same after this pregnancy. And the general feelings of inadequacy are creeping in… I’ve never changed a diaper in my life, and now I’ll have to do it like 10 times a day… That’s like 70 diapers a week… How are we going to afford this?!… How can I be a good dog mom when I will have to focus all my attention on a newborn?… How can I be a good wife?… Will my friends hate who I’ve become once I’m a mom?… Will they get annoyed with me when she is literally my whole day, start to finish?… Will I like myself, the person I’m about to become?

Trying as hard as I can to not just cast these thoughts aside, as I have for the past 6 months. These are real things I have to cope with, and it’s all becoming more real every day. With every new stretch mark on my growing belly, every pound of baby weight I put on, every new baby gift we receive, every Braxton-Hicks contraction I have (which are so weird by the way!), and every time I walk into her blossoming nursery. 

  
The feels.

Not a whole lot more to report right now. I’m officially in my third trimester, had my glucose test this morning, and I’m measuring right on track. Getting antsy to meet her. It’s gonna be a long 3 months!

I say as she kicks my ribs on both sides, somehow…

A Year in the Land of Omaha

One year ago today, my best friend and I packed up our car and made the 900 mile drive across the country to our first new home here in Bellevue, Nebraska. 
I didn’t know anyone, we had to Google Maps our way through town for several months (still do some days), and we had to sleep on the floor for the first month until our stuff finally arrived (probably one of the best months of our marriage, hands down).

Moving is scary. Change is not always fun. Happy as I was to finally be reunited with my husband after 7 months of Air Force training, the idea of moving somewhere so unknown was difficult to swallow. Moving here was our last choice. Who wants to live in Nebraska? What even is there to do in the middle of cornland? It’s a good day’s drive from anyone I know in any direction. Truly isolated. Altogether unnerving. And for that 14 hour drive away from home, friends & comfort, Nebraska was scary.

But this is home now, and it isn’t scary. This isn’t where we fell in love but love led us here. This isn’t where family is, but we’re making a new one.

I’ve learned that big changes don’t seem so intimidating when you have someone to share them with. I’ve learned a whole new way to love and be loved by my husband. I’ve learned how to take that step of faith when God leads us to, trusting that He has always had our best interests at heart, even when it doesn’t seem to fit “our plan.”

Thinking back on my thoughts driving with Drew in the car that day, listening to Harry Potter on audiobook, watching the southeast horizon fade away behind us in the rear view mirror… How proud I am of the home we have made here, the year we have lived here, and the beautiful life that will be with us here soon.

Here’s to a great 2nd year living “The Good Life” in cornland.
“Cause we’d be so free, Happy alone, Sharing a smile, So far from home.”

24w1d

I had hubs take 24 week bump photos today. I got a couple dresses in from Asos Maternity for my upcoming maternity photos and baby shower, so I tried one of them on for the photos today. It’s very casual and comfortable, just my style. Pink sleeves 🙂

I usually struggle a lot every time we “have to” take bump pictures. I have the tummy stickers so I’ve been taking photos along with those, at 8, 12, 16, 20 and now 24 weeks. I gained a lot of weight before I got pregnant coming off of my birth control and it’s made me very self conscious. Add that with my ongoing cystic acne problem and well, cameras are just not very forgiving to this insecure pregnant lady. I generally spend time after taking photos meticulously editing away my blemishes, and trying hard to keep myself from going photoshop crazy on my body. I’ve had to accept that these are special photos that should be accurate portraits of this special time, curves and all.

So needless to say, I don’t usually enjoy taking these photos.

Today I posed, I smiled as much as I could, I adjusted my stance to not seem so round all over (just in the baby bump part). I peeked at some of the photos hubs took and sighed, accepting it’s just as good as it was gonna get. 

Thankfully my acne has started to clear up, and the only spot-editing I had to do was on some of the scarring I now have on my cheeks. Partial self-image boost.

I posted a couple of pictures of me with the 24 week sticker in similar poses as previous weeks. Then I saw one photo in my new casual dress that I … liked. I posted it online too. Over the last few hours I’ve had people liking it and saying I look beautiful in it. I’m not boasting, I’m just kind of … amazed. 

Because I actually feel beautiful in this picture. I feel like the “glow” is there, and I never thought I would get that. And what’s interesting is, my first thought when someone commented on my being beautiful in it was that if I am beautiful then it is because my growing daughter is making me beautiful.

She makes me feel strong. She makes me feel like I have glorious purpose. She makes me feel beautiful. 

This is the first photo of my pregnancy that makes me proud of myself for what is happening to my body. It’s the first time I feel good about how I look in a very long time. I feel beautiful because she is with me.

I think it’s almost like I could see her in the picture, and that’s why it’s beautiful to me. 

I’m not as little as I would want, I still have skin troubles, perhaps my hair isn’t even ideal. But I don’t care, this photo makes me feel beautiful. Because of her. I’m falling in love with her.