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parenthood

Family

I’m Thankful for the Hard Weeks

March 21, 2017

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Last week Monday Joe and I had just returned from our trip out to California and I was looking forward to digging into a new week. Fresh off our trip, I had so many good ideas I planned to translate into work and great food finds I wanted to blog about. In my new schedule Mondays are always my at-home days with Ainsley. We go to music class, grab coffee, and do things like run errands, laundry, etc. But Monday morning it became very clear to me that what I thought was a toddler who missed momma was quickly becoming a toddler that was getting really sick really fast.

A day full of cuddles and Curious George gave way to a high fever, irritability and very restless sleep for six days and nights. Of course, we didn’t know that it would last so long at the time, so one day at home with Ainsley for me turned into an entire week, canceled weekend plans and a very tired, emotional and behind on work momma come Saturday. Was it the hardest of the hard? Absolutely not. Was it a really challenging and difficult week? Yes, indeed!

While I’m not eager to have a repeat of last week any time soon, as I found myself reflecting on the week we just had I realized how hard days, weeks and even months give way to such a season of gratitude in my heart. I can, like most people, become easily dissatisfied with the here and how. Sometimes I find myself trudging through a workout or not wanting to do that email follow-up that’s been on my to-do list for a number of days. Or maybe it’s the freelance bookkeeping – admittedly my least favorite part about my job – that I need to reconcile at the end of the month. Sometimes I bring a really crappy attitude to it all when I lose perspective of the gift of work and motherhood and finding a balance between the two.

But this week, with last week still very clear in my mind, I found myself SO eager, thankful and excited to do all the tasks that might otherwise seem mundane. Suddenly doing laundry, making toddler lunch, cleaning up subsequent toddler mess, working through emails and making the bed had an added layer of sparkle. Heck, I was just glad we weren’t watching the same 10 episodes of Curious George over and over! But most of all I was very thankful to have my bright, expressive and even strong-willed toddler back. Seeing her listless and sick for days on end without her usual spark was so incredibly sad; even though I don’t relish the meltdowns and battles of the will that come with this age, I found myself thankful that she was feeling good enough to show off that spunk.

For me, I think one of the best and most difficult parts about motherhood has been that it teaches reliance on God by stripping you of the things you think you need the most. Basic needs like sleep become a rarity and personal space, which for an introvert like me is crucial, can be stripped in an instant. And while it’s important to find rest in the margins of motherhood, God’s grace and sufficiency becomes clear when we don’t have the things we “need” to lean on. (Side note: God’s grace is also very evident in the form of moms who come and spend the weekend with you, organizing your house and doing your laundry…)

I have a feeling that in eight weeks or so, with baby girl is here, I’ll be coming back to read this post and preach to myself as I learn to navigate life with two little ones. 🙂

Madison

Family

An Ainsley Update

January 29, 2016

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I realized I talk about motherhood in a general sense quite frequently, but I rarely talk about Ainsley specifically. As she grows and becomes her own little person, I’ve been thinking a lot about her privacy and how much or little to share online. There is a delicate balance to strike, that’s for certain, but I am so thankful for each and every one of you who prayed for her and want you to share in the JOY that she brings to our lives.

I’m sure that all parents say this, but Ainsley is a very special baby. There is no other way to say it, but this kid radiates joy wherever she goes. Her personality is bright, fearless and bursting with energy. She is go-go-go all the time and getting a photo of her sitting still took at least 50 tries. How did I get her to smile in that photo above? I roared in her face like a lion. Ha! She loves loud, rough and rambunctious play, like going “way back” (aka upside down), being on dad’s shoulders, bouncing with dad on the bed and flying around the room Superman-style.

The last couple months she has shown a lot of interest in balls – tennis balls, basketballs, Pippa’s toy balls, etc. Joe already has high hopes she will be an athlete, but her no-so-athletic mother is trying to temper his hopes and enthusiasm in case she gets her mom’s genes.

We read to her constantly, and she’s developing a pretty good attention span most of the time. She’s babbling a lot these days, but I don’t think she really understands what she is saying. She says “dada” and “mama” a lot and her new word/sound is “nuh” which she says all the time. I’ll walk around the house with her, talking to her as we go, and she just responds with “nuh” again and again. Let’s hope this isn’t a precursor to “no!” She also does a lot of loud, happy yelling, which is sometimes funny and other times not so funny, like when we are out in public.

Ainsley still wakes up once in the early morning hours, around 4 or 5 am. She used to take a bottle and go back to sleep, but the last few weeks we’ve just been giving her a little water. I’m not sure why she does this little wake-up, since she is obviously not hungry, but our new routine is a little bit of water in a sippy or bottle, then she rolls over and lays her head on my chest with her eyes open. She just lays there, soaking in the cuddles, until I set her back down and she goes right back to sleep. It’s really really precious. And dare I say I sort of love our little pre-dawn routine? She isn’t a very cuddly baby, so I’ll take my cuddles when I can get them.

When she turns 1 year old next month (what? where did the time go?) we will have to have a scan of her spine and a follow-up optometry appointment as a routine part of her pediatric follow-up for some of the issues she was born with. We have no real reason to believe that it will be anything but good news, but I’ll be happy to have those tests done with and in the past as soon as possible. Prayers for a smooth process and good results would be appreciated!

Lastly, I feel like I need to say a giant “THANK YOU” to all of you out there reading who have followed this story of ours, prayed for our baby, cared for our family and encouraged us (particularly me!) along the way. I’ve met so many people this last year who have told me they’ve prayed for us and our sweet baby, and it brings me to tears every single time. I look at Ainsley and thank God for the gift that she is, and the sheer miracle of her presence. We’re humbled and thankful daily, and blessed to be able to share her and her updates with you all. #sappymom

Madison

Family

Ainsley Update: 8 Months

November 5, 2015

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I have pretty much fallen off the monthly update bandwagon completely, but since I talk a lot about motherhood and Ainsley, I thought it was time to give a little update. Although I don’t think I’ll resume monthly updates, my plan is to check in from time to time with all things Ainsley.

Development
Ainsley has been doing so many new things lately! She is now confidently crawling around the house (she started crawling about a month ago) and pulling up on everything in sight. She isn’t quite coordinated enough for me to leave her unsupervised and has an affinity for the corners of tables and hard surfaces, which makes her momma nervous.

She is also making a lot more noise. No words to speak of, but lots of “mama” and “dada” and “baba” without any real understanding of what she is saying. I’m trying to claim that she knows what “mama” means, but Joe strongly disagrees!

Health Concerns
I’ve talked a little about how Ainsley was born with a medical issue that required her to have surgery when she was 8 weeks old. Her diagnosis (which we’ve chosen not to disclose for Ainsley’s privacy) required us to do a series of follow-up tests and exams over the first year of her life. Thankfully, everything has gone as well as we could have hoped, and it appears that aside from the surgery she had to correct her lip gap and ear tags, we don’t anticipate Ainsley having any other issues! It’s an extreme answer to prayers, as we went from doctor to doctor having her checked out. They said if she had not had the small gap in her lip, she would probably have never been diagnosed because she shows no other symptoms. What a blessing it is to have such a skilled and competent medical team at Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minneapolis.

Sleeping
Ainsley is doing really well. She goes to bed around 7:30 and sleeps anywhere between 10 and 12 hours with no wakings. If she wakes up after 10 hours, I’ll feed her a bottle and she goes back to sleep for 2 more. Everyone in the house is feeling well-rested these days.

Eating
Ainsley is eating 4 bottles a day, usually 6 to 8 oz each. We’ve also started to make a more consistent effort to feed her around mealtimes, so she is eating food 3 times a day, in addition to plenty of Cheerios, which seem to be her new favorite. Bonus? They’re way cheaper than the puffs we had been buying! She has decided lately that she isn’t all that into baby food and would prefer to eat whatever is on our plates.

Dogs
Pippa continues to be Ainsley’s favorite play toy. She pulls on Pippa’s tail and covers her in drool, and we’re always trying to keep Pippa from licking Ainsley’s face. It’s so cute to see them together and Pippa couldn’t be more patient! Nutmeg, on the other hand, steers clear from Ainsley. She isn’t hostile to Ainsley in any way, but since she is older you can tell she has less interest in being around a loud, grabby baby. Ainsley actually LOVES Nutmeg and gets super excited every time Nutmeg is around, which is a testament to playing “hard to get” I guess!

Mom + Dad
We are having SO much fun with this little girl. Every day seems to get better and better, and we keep talking about trying to find a way to stop time. Anyone figured that out yet? Joe and I have both had some travel on our schedules this fall. I took a girls grip to Indy two months ago, and a work trip to New York as well. Joe has traveled all over for work, so we’re both getting used to spending a little time away from Ainsley. Hoping to take our first trip as a couple without baby early next year!

Madison

Family

You Light Up My Life

July 30, 2015

IMG_0389Before I had a baby I was very skeptical about motherhood. I read post after post from moms who talked about how fulfilling and amazing it was being a momma to littles, and I worried that I wouldn’t find it nearly as gratifying and wonderful as others described. I wondered, to be totally honest, if I had the “mom gene.”

We walked the road of infertility for two years before Ainsley arrived. Sometimes when you’re in the thick of charting and temping and visiting doctors and searching for answers you start to wonder what the point is, if you really want a baby, if the pain and heartache is worth the physical and emotional toll it takes on you and your family. After our second miscarriage, I told Joe I was done trying. That I didn’t have it in me to keep going and risk more heartache and loss. I was devestated, depleted, scared.

While I was pregnant with Ainsley I became increasingly worried that the expectations I had for her would be too great for any one child to carry. She was our miracle baby, her story and arrival into this world was unlike anything I had ever experienced firsthand. I was fearful that my expectations for motherhood would be too large for any baby to fill.

Our first couple months with this little one? They were HARD. There is no other way to say it. She was, and continues to be, a very easygoing baby, but the adjustment to parenthood didn’t come naturally to me. I was tired, scared and uncertain, questioning myself on almost everything related to baby care. Add a stint in the NICU when she was 4 days old, a scary (but ultimately OK) diagnosis, many specialist appointments and a surgery at 8 weeks old and I was doing my best to keep my head above water.

Being a momma is scary stuff. Fighting for your little one and advocating on their behalf? Gutwrenching.

But this whole motherhood thing? You guys, it’s turned into something wonderful. Around 3 months the haze lifted and the doctor’s appointments slowed down. Ainsley started smiling and giggling and becoming a little person with distinct likes and dislikes and funny quirks. And along the way I’ve been affirming my parenting skills. Am I a perfect mom? Hardly! But I frequently tell Joe, “I think I’m the best mom for Ainsley, and I’m doing a pretty good job!” Not because I want to be boastful or arrogant, but because this whole parenting gig is hard enough as it is, and a little (or a lot) of encouragment and affirmation is absolutely necessary.

So, Miss Ainsley, thank you for lighting up my life like none other. Being your momma? It makes me feel more “me” than anything ever has before. I couldn’t be more thankful for you, sweet pea, and I have a feeling that it’s going to keep getting better.

Madison

Family

Trust me, new momma. It gets better!

June 17, 2015

New Momma

Man, oh man. Those first few weeks and months of motherhood? Let’s be honest, they’re pretty dang hard. I was really discouraged by everyone who told me about the difficulties of new motherhood, but guess what? They were right.

When I think about how my baby is getting older and bigger by the day? I think I’m supposed to be super sad about the whole thing. Sometimes when I look at those tiny little clothes I’m packing away I do get a little (okay, a lot) sad. But more often than not, I’m just thrilled with this older, more interactive, adorable little baby that’s joined our family and I’m pretty happy those first few weeks are in the book.

So, if you’re a new mom or a mom-to-be, let’s get a few things straight: Continue Reading…