May 2, 2016

30 Weeks, Round Two

Alternate title: Hello heartburn, my old friend.

I think I hit the point this week where a lot is setting in. One might say I'm thinking way too much about everything. Common thoughts include:

-This could be my last pregnancy...I should be enjoying and embracing this last trimester as a gift, not complaining about it all!

-I am terrified to give birth again. Well, not so much the delivery process so long as the epidural goes as smoothly as last time, but I am terrified for the recovery process. Thinking about all the gross (natural! but gross) stuff now that you go through after child birth makes my skin crawl even though at the time it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would.

-There is no way we're going to be prepared when she comes. We still need to deep clean the house and make freezer meals and install the car seat bases and clean the infant car seat and clean the used double stroller........ Yes, I realize there are literal months until my due date.

-What if she comes early??? I didn't mentally prepare for that with Zoe because it was my first child and I knew it was unlikely...but what about this time? When do I need to have my hospital bag packed?

{Feet! You there?}

But the biggest struggle I'm facing is this: letting go of control.

I don't know if this is a new development or I'm just now receiving the personal enlightenment but I need to be in control of how things go or will be going. I need to decide what Zoe eats and exactly what I do each day and making sure the kitchen is cleaned just the way I think it needs to be cleaned before I go to bed. I latch onto that need to be in charge of whatever I think I can possibly be in charge of and just cannot let go.

You can see how this is going to be fun in the throes of newborn life, right?

We have been blessed with so many factors that should make postpartum as easy as I'll let it be: paternity leave for Landon & a flexible schedule beyond that, 2 sets of grandparents who are more than willing to help in any and all ways, various great support systems of friends and family. But even knowing all of that and being thankful for all of that, my mind is still going to "okay but what if my mom doesn't do the dishes right? What if Zoe isn't in bed by 7:30 every night? What if we eat out for weeks in a row and totally demolish our budget?"

I wish I could say I was being dramatic (I'm usually pretty good at owning up to that) but these have become real, legitimate concerns of mine that I know are ridiculous but I just can't seem to let go.

Other unfun things include not being able to fit into many of my maternity clothes and experiencing lots of fun Braxton Hicks when I try to do too much. I don't remember having so many contractions with Zoe but they're there and I'm becoming that person who has to stop while I'm in stores and take some deep breaths before moving on. And the clothing thing stinks because once again I'm reminded that there is a serious lack of cute maternity clothes on the market and forget about buying them secondhand most of the time because they get worn down so fast since that's all you can wear!

End rant, let's move onto greener pasture.

This past weekend, we got the nursery to a point where I'd be happy with it if Lily were to come early. Closet doors are off and curtains are hung (Landon proclaimed in Target the other day 'ah yes, of course, black curtains for a nursery...' but I'm really going for more of a black + white + lavender graphic theme this time so it makes sense to me!), furniture has been moved around or out of the room, and the closet is pretty much organized. Future additions I'd *like* to accomplish include buying or sewing a changing pad cover (something we completely bypassed with Zoe but seem like a nice addition if possible!), buying or sewing a crib skirt (again, was it really necessary?), organizing the changing station a little better, creating some new art for the walls, and of course buying a toddler bed for Zoe. But! I've unpacked the newborn and 3 month onesies and we have a pack of newborn diapers so really I'd say we're all ready to go.
 {You probably won't believe me, but if we move the crib to the right a few inches, I *think* a toddler bed will fit to the left (the setup will be an "L" shape)}

{Book storage solutions are hard when you have a bookworm. Needing a few more baskets or something, too!}

Zoe has just become obsessed with babies within the past few weeks and I'm praying this phase lasts through July. She loves looking at pictures of them...well, admittedly, herself mostly...and is always distraught when we don't show her "more baby! more baby!". She has also taken to carrying around a baby doll she got for Christmas on occasion, rocking her in the rocking chair and putting her in her booster seat to feed her. She either learned that from watching Daniel Tiger or it's her feminine qualities coming out because we definitely had not even shown her how to do those things. It's precious though and while I'm sure there will be some struggles, we know she's going to love her baby sister and be a great big sister.

Baby g's the size of a platypus according to my app and I've still got 10 more weeks? Let's do this.

Apr 25, 2016

A Week Up North

North of Dallas, at least. North Texas. Nothing crazy over here as I get more and more pregnant and I'm convinced I could go into labor any day now.


One of the benefits of being a stay at home mom with family within driving distance is being able to pack up the necessities and go spend a week at said family's house without too much consideration. L was going to have a busy week at work and I needed to step away from our house because I could not. stop. myself. from. NESTING!!!! and honestly I just needed to chill out a little bit.

Towards the end of last week, we kept promising Zoe that we were going to the zoo that weekend! I don't know if she really understood what that meant but I was pretty excited that the Cameron Park Zoo was a good halfway point to meet my parents and do an exchange of persons. My mom was excited too because I had to get my love of zoos from somewhere. Anyways, the weekend came and pretty much all of Texas had crazy weather and flooding to the point where as we approached Waco I was running through multiple prayers in my head and regretting our decision to meet that day.

Needless to say, we didn't make it to the zoo but we did eat lunch at Zoe's Kitchen which I've always wanted to go to. Zoe was not impressed.

I went into the week thinking I'd read a few books and take some extra naps but then I decided to bring my nesting spirit to my parents' house, God bless them. I didn't go too crazy, and really just went through and tried to Kon Mari some of my old stuff but got stuck on the sentimental notes and ticket stubs and class journals from high school and gave up. (L and I read through some of my old journal entries this past weekend and had some good laughs at my 9th grade self who thought I knew way better than the government (I questioned why GW even needed an inauguration in the first much money wasted!) and also the Catholic church (love was just different in Jesus' time than now; the Church doesn't get it!).

{Miscellaneous phone pictures of Z because why not}

I got some personal time to do solo damage at Ikea which is always more enjoyable when they first open up during the week on a nice day as opposed to the last time we went to the Houston Ikea on a Saturday afternoon during a downpour. We had some nice outings to lunch and other stores and I was seriously tempted into needing about 100 new things for baby Lily when we stepped into Buy Buy Baby so congratulations store, your marketing works. We also tried out a music class at their local library for Zoe. It took a few songs for her to warm up to everyone and when she finally did, she twirled too hard, falling straight into a chair leg which led to our graceful/screaming exit and a black eye on the same eye she literally always falls on.

{Nice shiner baby g!}

The best part was having 2-4 extra eyes and hands on Zoe every hour of the day. My mom was able to chase after her in ways that I just can't at the moment. She also has the patience of a saint and let Zoe unpack and repack her purse thousands of times, as well as flip through hundreds of pictures of her every time Zoe requested "more baby!" which was every few seconds. Let's just say Zoe's love tank was full every single day with all that individualized attention unlike here at home where I'm always trying to multitask. It will be really interesting to see how she reacts when Lily comes home from the hospital. I've been told the first few weeks she'll be fine and it'll new and exciting until she realizes this darn baby isn't going home and that she has to share all of her attention.

{My heart is melting}

The REAL best part though was when Landon came on Saturday. Pre-marriage, I loved going "home" to my parents' and even during those college years found it hard to go back to school. Home was just so comfortable. As sappy as the song might be, now home really is wherever we're together -but preferably our house. Being physically apart from your husband for a week is hard. To all those who spend weeks and months on the reg apart, I salute you. I don't think I had laughed as hard as I did when we had a date night on Saturday just going down the street to Braum's and eating ice cream together.

Yesterday ended up being a beautiful day out and we were actually able to go to the zoo just like we had been promising and promising. Even though I dropped the ball and took my time packing and eating lunch only to remember the zoo was closing at 5 as we pulled into the parking lot at 4. We sped walked through and I think Zoe was satisfied with the bears, jaguars, and capybaras we saw.

It's good to be home now, but I'm grateful for the week "away" :)

Apr 15, 2016

27 Weeks, Round 2

(I totally had to open my pregnancy app before titling this post because I am constantly forgetting what week I'm on)

Well, just a few more days and I'm out of the 2nd trimester. I really just can't believe how fast this pregnancy has gone. 
{Oh, the good ol' slightly blurry bathroom mirror shot. Quality stuff!}

I'm feeling pretty good overall. I'm definitely trying to not make a big deal out of certain things because I know I have a long way to go. The most negative thing at the moment is lower back and pelvic pain. It gets pretty bad if I am on my feet too much during the day, trying to get a million things done because as Landon says "I have to remind you that you're pregnant!" And I have always been a mover and shaker during the night when I'm sleeping so the bump and the uncomfortableness of it all is causes me to wake up and notice the pain multiple times a night. It's really a-okay though. I'm thankful to be in a position where I stay at home and have family nearby to watch Zoe if I'm really out of it one day and need to recoup. If I'm really miserable (which has only happened like once so far) I can hand the reigns off to Landon when he gets home from work and just take it easy until bed time.

Of course I'm starting to get to that point where I can't wait to not be pregnant anymore for reasons like regular clothes and margaritas. However at the same time, I'm not as anxious to not be pregnant as I was the first time around. It was really hard for me to appreciate just how much of a miracle it was to be carrying a little baby around for 9 months and I didn't grasp it until she was born and thrust onto my chest. This time, I recognize at least a little more how incredible it all really is.

Since I haven't blogged in a while I guess I never mentioned the gender or name! We're having another little girl and naming her Lily Frances. For the record, we picked the name before watching the latest season of House of Cards and Frances is not for Frank Underwood. Zoe wasn't named after Zoe Barnes either. It's all just very coincidental. 

Lily was chosen in honor of Mary and Frances for any and all the holy saints named Francis/Frances out there, but specifically Mr. Pope. 

In exciting news, I passed my first glucose test (last time I had to go in for the 3 hours one after failing the first one) and have been on track with weight gain which is all very surprising considering at the start of the pregnancy I was told to focus on cutting out grains, dairy, sugar, etc. in order to stay in a healthy weight range and I took that advice and did NOT run with it. I know I'll have my work cut out for me postpartum with two closeish pregnancies under my belt but I think I'm ready to put in the work when the time comes sometime in August. I'm sure having a toddler helps because 1. If she sees me snacking, she wants it and most of the time it's stuff I don't feel comfortable giving her and 2. She is constantly running around the house and since she gets into everything, I'm running after her.

My current house project is preparing Zoe's room to accommodate baby sister. Yesterday I went through her clothes and realized we might not be able to use any of them based on sizing and season discrepancies--it's really going to depend on how big Lily is when she's born. Not that I'm worried; a July baby to me means a diaper and a swaddle or onesie 99% of the time. Other plans include moving around furniture, getting a toddler bed for Zoe (for months down the road...just for placement and climbing for now), creating a better reading area, finishing closet and under the bed organization, taking off their closet doors and replacing them with curtains, and updating some of the decor in the room. I'm pretty much stuck until I get to make a trip to Ikea next week but I'm excited to see how it all turns out within the next few weeks! We don't have a playroom in our house and I would go crazy if all of their toys were out in the living room so their bedroom really does have to serve its purpose well for sleeping, reading, changing, playing, and storing/organizing. And it's not that big. So it's been a fun challenge.

Talk to you soon!

P.S. For funsies, 28 weeks with Zoe

Apr 11, 2016

April Showers Bring...A Post?

Oh little blogging world, how I've missed you! Pretty much daily I'm like "oh I wish I kept up with my blog, I have so many words to say" but then the day happens and I'm like "HOW do people make the time?!" 

{Trying to make time for blogging again? Good one, mom.}

I'm going to try to make the time but that's not a promise. I just miss sharing little bits of our life for posterity's sake. 

Last post I mentioned I was pregnant and here I am, a week away from the third trimester. Fact: Pregnancy goes by MUCH faster the second time around when you forget multiple times a day that there's a little one growing inside of you. If it wasn't for this nasty back pain I just started experiencing, I could probably go the whole day without remembering I was pregnant. 

Zoe is 17 months old and is changing and growing constantly. It blows my mind how she looks like a completely different person every morning when she wakes up. She surprises us daily with new things she learns how to do...that we don't teach her. I don't know how she knows how to turn off her sound machine or try to put her shoes on her Minnie Mouse doll but it's adorable and one of the coolest things about being a parent. 

I feel like I've been on an endless quest this year to find a good balance between being connected and being disconnected from technology. It's really hard to figure out what I feel comfortable with and what works for our family. I especially fall into the trap of the comparison game with other moms multiple times a day wondering how someone is able to spend time with her x number of kids, blog multiple times a week, have a social life, and be ever present on Instagram, Snapchat, AND Facebook. I'm usually about stopping myself right there because I know everyone has different priorities and that's a-okay--I just need to figure out what my priorities are! I get a little scared when I notice Zoe notice me pull out my phone while we're playing because my imaginative self imagines what she's thinking in that moment and how mama is choosing technology over her and that breaks my heart. BUT. But. At the same time, I selfishly love taking and editing pictures of her and our life and making Snapchat stories I can rewatch at the end of the day with Landon. Anyways, I haven't figured it out yet. I feel like it's hard when new technologies are coming out daily and just when you thought you figured it out, you're thrown for a loop! I also take comfort in knowing most parents today are struggling with all this. There's probably a good amount of research and books out by now about how technology is killing family life but I'm sure the same thing was said when the movies and cable television etc etc came into play. 

In response to the "so, what have you been up to?" question old friends ask and I'm left thinking "uhh, I'm not even sure..." that's not true. I've been nesting like crazy and Landon has very kindly put up with it all/helped/done 95% of the labor associated with these projects. We decided to stay in our house at least another year even though once baby girl is here and friends and family are over it's going to feel sooooo smallllllll. Anyways, my way of thinking was we need to spruce things up and finally actually maybe decorate if we're staying here longer. We started with the 2 smallest areas of the house, one of the bathrooms and the laundry "room" (closet) and our yards. The reality that I'm about to hit the third trimester and possibly lose some of the second trimester energy magic makes me realize I've got to pick up the pace with things because we still have our bedrooms, the living room, and the dining room for sure and if there's time, our office/guest room/guest bath and garage. At the beginning of it all I didn't think it'd be that much work because once again, our house is on the smaller side. However, I've learned I'm definitely a dreamer/optimist and I think L is too so we set out thinking it's going to take 20 minutes to install a wire shelf instead of 2 hours and whoa, where did the time go? It's all very exciting though and even though it doesn't come naturally to me, I've wanted to make our house a home for us and all for a while now and seeing that goal take shape is fun.

{Mom win: bringing a cookie to eat at the park down the street vs. cleaning up the mess in the house}

In other completely random news, I'm trying to read about 10 books at once (ask me, a non-avid reader, how that's going), several new restaurants including an ice cream store and a coffee shop are opening within like 5 minutes of our house soon and yes I'm VERY excited about them because we don't live close to a big city so anything new is NEW and very exciting, and I think I'm going to have to get a root canal I had done last year redone because I cannot eat or drink anything remotely hot without having an awful pain.

And that's really it for now! Maybe I'll be posting more regularly just in time for the third trimester courtesy of the insomnia that came with it last time for me. I kind of secretly loved how it was hard for me to fall and stay asleep last pregnancy because usually I'm out within seconds of hitting the pillow and have trouble seeing sleep as a good use of time (working on it!) but I also didn't have a toddler to chase after the next day soooo. If this has been your experience, don't spoil it for me yet.

Jan 14, 2016

I'm Pregnant! + First Trimester Recap

Well, it's true, and I'm so glad I finally get to share it loud and proud! Our family will be growing by another little one this coming July. We are so excited...and I'm so excited to be entering the second trimester already. Yay!

As I've mentioned on here countless times, we were quite open to more children and although we had learned a new NFP method after Zoe was born, it was kind of hard to put it into practice and we didn't really care so...we weren't really trying but we definitely weren't preventing anything, either. I was just coming off of breastfeeding and had really hoped that doing so would help me lose some stubborn weight I had been holding onto since my pregnancy with Zoe. Ideally, I would've gotten to a better place with my weight before we got pregnant but since we weren't trying too hard not to get pregnant, God had other plans ;)

I think I'll share some "secret posts" I had typed up soon after I found out just for fun that go into more detail of the early days of pregnancy. In short, I took THREE tests that came back negative on different days before I saw that little plus sign on the fourth, so I was really surprised to say the least. We told our families right before Zoe's birthday on November 7th because I really don't like keeping secrets and always feel like if something were to happen with the pregnancy, I'd be talking to our families about it anyways so what's the harm in sharing sooner rather than later.

{Kirleigh took notice early and was always there to cuddle}

The first few weeks were that pretty uneventful stage where I wasn't really feeling sick I kept questioning if there was in fact a baby in there at all. But soon enough, I started to feel the rush of fatigue, nausea, and food aversions just like with my first pregnancy. It was all so similar and I felt like such a pro knowing what to expect and what my body was doing.

Then, the Monday night before Thanksgiving, I noticed some bleeding. It wasn't anything super crazy but it was definitely enough to be shocking; I hadn't had ANY spotting or bleeding during my first pregnancy. Zoe was already in bed for the night, so we had to call Landon's parents over to watch her while we went to the ER because I thought for sure I had miscarried. Well...we went to an emergency care center. Not an actually hospital ER which was a dumb move on our part because the doctor, while very nice and clearly experienced in other areas, wasn't as helpful and reassuring as we had hoped. I thought for sure I'd get an ultrasound but instead they wanted to do a urine sample to 1. make sure I was really pregnant and 2. see if it had been caused by a UTI (um, nope!). When the test equivalent of the one I had taken a month early came back letting me know yup, I'm pregnant!, they STILL wouldn't do an ultrasound to check the baby. Instead it was time to check my hCG levels via blood which would have been fine I suppose...if they had a lab right there. But they didn't. So we had to wait hours for it to be transported back and forth to an actual hospital with an actual lab to get our results. By this point I still didn't know what to think and I was too tired to stay awake waiting. Sometime around 1 AM they came back with the results: surprisingly high hCG levels, which was a good sign. Luckily, I had a scheduled appointment with my OB the next day. She was shocked they didn't give me an ultrasound and that they made us do a urine test. We were also reprimanded for going to a fake ER instead of the one in our hospital where an actual on call OB would have been there to perform an ultrasound. We learned our lesson!--and the baby was there, heartbeat and all. That moment with Landon and our OB seeing our baby for the first time was about 1000% times better than the first time we saw Zoe via ultrasound when the technician had zero cares and we were over here, first time parents, as excited as could be.

From that point on, things remained uneventful for a good week or two. Then Zoe and I got hand, foot, and mouth disease which was super fun. We were betterish by Christmas and most of my nausea and food aversions were gone so I could eat normal fun Christmas things. Hashtag priorities.

{A HA-YUGE bump in comparison to week 14 round 1, dirty mirror and all. Keeping it real, folks.}

Since then, things have been on the upswing. It's way different this time around, chasing after a toddler all day instead of taking tons of naps and lying around. It felt like a miracle when I went real, full blown grocery shopping last week for the first time and was able to get vegetables and eggs without gagging. Before then, I had been walking into the store with Zoe and putting literally whatever I could stomach into the cart...which was a whole lot of random junk food.

I'm looking forward to the second trimester and all that it has to offer (energy maybe?) and of course for the gender ultrasound which we'll be having the day after Valentine's Day! We're already discussing names--listening to the Fountains of Carrots podcast episode with Kate from Sancta Nomina REALLY got my juices flowing (sidenote: I'm totally into grandma names/British grandma names but Landon's not soooo...) and we've even already agreed on a few we like. This time around we're planning on keeping the name a secret from everyone until he or she is born so we can have a little something for ourselves :)

One last note: I feel like the baby is already sitting super low on me. My bump is crazy noticeable already and it definitely is not defying gravity. And when I sit in a chair, I can already feel my stomach in the way like last time but it wasn't this early. Am I going crazy? I don't know but I'm a little nervous about it already being so low! Even when we got an ultrasound last week, the heartbeat was found super low on me. Goodness!

If you have any fun baby name suggestions, please let me know! I'm all about the unique and Catholic baby name ;)

Jan 8, 2016

2016 Goals

Happy New Year! I hope your 2016 has been full of good stuff and not a cold like our family has been passing around an cannot kick to the curb. It's put the brakes on starting the year at full speed but clearly that's what we need so I'm trying not to complain.

I got a little mom time at Starbucks recently to do some planning for the new year and I'm pretty excited with what I came up with.

I'm not a big fan of resolutions. I AM a big fan of goals but even those have been hard for me to follow through with most of the time. My attention span is short and while I should be focused on something 100%, I start learning about something else that I NEED TO TRY RIGHT NOW and then I'm in a hopeless situation trying to balance all of these interests at once when I have approximately 4 hours a day to either spend with my husband or doing stuff for myself when Zoe is napping or asleep at night.

I've always had a lot of interests and thus a lot of goals but I also haven't been very good at focusing on them since having Zoe because some things seem impossible during this season of life. I want to do fun crafts to decorate our house, but I'm sleepy. I want to read hundreds of books, but I cant read unless the dishes are done and oops, what do you know, it's bed time and I'm sleepy. Basically, it's hard for me to focus and see the importance of these interests for many reasons but mainly procrastination and laziness. I've wanted to spend time figuring out my God-given talents and gifts but really haven't made that a priority, even though I know they have to do with creating. And of course God wants us to make time to create since He is the ultimate Creator!

So! My word for 2016 is EXPLORE. And I will spend each month exploring something I have an interest in. Each month will look different and the results of each month will look different. I love little 30 day challenges and I think creating my own in a way will be a great way to explore what's been on my heart, try it out, and if I don't care about it as much as I thought, I can toss it to the curb at the end of the month. If, however, I discover I absolutely love doing something, I can find a way to incorporate it into my life in a realistic way.

I've chosen each month specifically for different reasons which I'll probably explain at the beginning of each month. I also have a few alternative topics in case I get to that month and have absolutely no interest in that topic anymore. I've also combined a few because it made sense to me. Here they are:

January: Decluttering
February: Organizing and decorating
March: Marriage and family
April: Garden and outdoor decorating
May: The community and travel
June: Parenting and preschool education
July: Reading
August: Photography
September: Exercise and health
October: No-buy month!
November: Cooking and baking
December: Giving

Alternatives include: Feminism (from the original, Catholic perspective), logic and reasoning (NOT my strong suits), and music (not creating music--I have zero interest in that--but discovering new genres and artists).

There are other goals that I'm trying to work on now that I want to be more regular, not something I just do for a month and then stop. These goals focus more on a lose daily and weekly schedule. Daily, I feel so much better if I get up before the baby and read the daily readings and some other spiritual reading. I feel even better if I can get some housework out of the way! At night, I love going to bed with a fairly clean house and reading or talking to Landon before a bedtime of 9:30ish. In between waking and sleeping, getting a load of laundry completely done and focusing on cleaning a room a day makes cleaning feel more manageable.

Weekly, I want to carve out time for what I feel is important. I like to spend some time planning out my week and meal planning on Saturday or Sunday. With The Bachelor back on, a group of girlfriends and I have a fairly regular "Girl's Night" on Monday or Tuesday, which is always needed. Since having Zoe, I severely neglect things like painting my nails or doing extra skincare treatments, so I want to incorporate a weekly "pamper" night for myself. Friday night is date night, even if it's just at home on the couch. I also want to find a permanent hour in the week to spend in Adoration because I know that's my favorite way to pray, but I just don't make the time for it like I used to.

For the month of January, I'm trying to get more used to Snapchat and sharing my daily life. I've wanted to make YouTube videos for a long time but 1. I'm a scaredy cat and 2. I know NOTHING about making videos so I figured this would be a good way to try it out in a less scary way. It's fun but I really struggle with the whole living in the moment vs. documenting EVERYTHING thing so I'm trying to work out a balance that is good for me and our family. Because if Zoe sees my phone she will not rest until she gets it into her grubby little baby hands and homegirl is by my side 24/7.

I'm learning accountability is a HUGE part of keeping to your goals so I'm hoping to share my experiences each month as a way to be held accountable. I also want to hear your goals or resolutions! Let me know what you've decided on so I can hold you accountable, too :)

Jan 4, 2016

The Hardest Thing I've Ever Done

All of this sounded really profound as I "wrote" it in my head in the middle of the night as we were up with a sick baby. Hopefully it translates in my semi-sleep deprived state ;)

Being a mom has changed me. I think all moms feel that way, but at this point, 14 months after Zoe's birth, it feels really real. I've realized that being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

To all the non-moms out there, I hope this post doesn't scare you off. I have absolutely zero regrets about "settling down" and starting a family "early". And if God grants us 5 more children I will openly welcome those gifts. But gosh, is it hard.

My pregnancy wasn't too bad. The birth itself wasn't too bad. The sleepless nights though--I understand why that's a form of torture. Landon and I were recently talking about those first few months and how they felt so long, like we wouldn't make it through. It sure did feel like that at the time. 

Since then, things have ebbed and flowed. There have been relatively quiet times where Zoe is content and I seem to get my old life back and it's awesome. That is, until she starts teething or gets sick and needs us ALL THE TIME and I realize things will never be the same. That acceptance took me a long time and was something I fought because I really really thought I'd be able to keep myself and motherhood separate and it would be wonderful. Thank goodness I figured the truth out, that that's nearly impossible but that's okay, especially since I was called to motherhood as part of my vocation and as much as I resisted for so long, God was patient with me until I figured out motherhood is such of big part of what makes me truly me. 

Things were relatively quiet for a while until December; Zoe was starting to walk holding onto things, she was becoming so much more interactive and learning lots of new words. It was great! But early in the month, we went away for one night as a family and she had a seizure. It was hands down the scariest few moments of my life. I didn't know what to do (um, check to see if she has a pulse and is breathing!), I couldn't remember how to pray, I didn't even want to be near her in case she was about to die because at that moment in the middle of the night I really thought we were going to lose her as dramatic as that sounds. I've seen a lot comparisons lately that say having a child is like watching your heart walk around outside of your body and I get that now. 

Thank goodness this was our first serious medical issue we had encountered since she was born, nearly 13 months later. And thank goodness it was most likely due to a fever and not any underlying issues. But sitting in that ER with Landon while my baby girl was so sick and being poked and prodded by everyone was enough to do me in. All I could think was there is no way I could go through this again, with Zoe, with Landon, with any other children we might have. As you might be able to tell, up until recently I had never had to go to an emergency room or had any sort of health emergency. I totally understand now that this was NOT a life or death situation but for someone as sheltered as myself in sure did feel like it at the time. 

A few days later she developed a rash. Hand foot and mouth. And then lucky me, I got it too. Meanwhile the timing couldn't have been worse. Landon was so busy at work and our parents could only help so much. It was the first time I was really sick at home in charge of a sick toddler. It felt impossible and as always, all I could think was 'how the heck could I do this with 2 kids? with 3? with 5?!' 

We got through it though. When I realized it was okay to have selfish prayers of 'Jesus, there's no way I can do this without you. I need your help NOW' and the weekend came all was well again. In hindsight the virus barely seemed to affect Zoe besides that initial fever. I'm sure it sounds trite to those who have been through much worse but that week was the hardest week I've had in a long, long time.

Since then, I've become more anxious about being home with Zoe all day. Landon helps out so, so much when he's home in the morning, at lunch, and in the evening that I feel like I won't make it when he's gone. Zoe's walking now and let me tell you, if you don't have a child that is mobile yet you don't know what you're in for. She is go go go go GOOOOO all the time when I just need to sit down or have 2 minutes to myself to regroup. It's exhausting. It's hard to see past this season of life where one day in the future, I might actually have the energy again to stay up and work on a project or read. I'm ready for bed long before Zoe is most days. But then you have to decide if getting up early and/or staying up late to have alone time or time with your husband is worth the lack of sleep. Usually I think it is and then I regret it all day the next day. 

(You might be seeing a common thread that I am one of those people that, no matter how much caffeine I consume, does NOT function well on lack of sleep.)

The innate selflessness of motherhood has changed me. I am miles upon miles away from perfect (I definitely will sit scrolling through Twitter while she clearly wants me to get on the floor and play with her and I could still learn how to be way more selfless with other loved ones) but when you're a mom you have no alternative. Even if we were in a position where Zoe could be in daycare, I'm sure I'd miss her so much that I'd want to get up with her and stay up with her morning and night even if I was exhausted and had zero time to myself. That girl is part of me. When it's just me, and Landon's at work, I'm the sole one responsible for her health and happiness. There's very little room for selfishness and as an only child who has come and go as she pleased her whole life, doing whatever I want whenever I want to, it's been a hard and long change. I still don't think I've fully accepted that change in my life yet.

It makes me sad when I read or hear about how women don't want to be mothers or really, they don't think they could ever be mothers. I'm here to say if I can do it, you can do it too. It's hard. Every family has their own individual challenges as I'm learning but I firmly believe for the majority of women, this is our calling. This is where we thrive even if it takes a long time to learn the ropes. This is where I've felt the most fulfillment out of anything I've ever done in my life. I don't think there's anything narcissistic about it because I'm not raising a mini-me. I'm raising a tiny human (who I still think barely resembles me!) with my husband who is totally her own person and whose interests we will nurture to the best of our ability.

I'll continue this difficult path of motherhood for as long as I'm called because I have no doubt in my mind that's what I was born to do. I'm no natural--I don't think many women are. But I'm learning it's one of those scenarios where if you do the work (and you have to, there's no choice!) it will be so, so worth it to walk this path with your family and with God.