Friday, March 15, 2019

Happy birthday, little one.

As they say, "How in the world is my baby one?".

It's just another day yet he is ONE. It is surreal and significant and yet time just keeps going.

I so deeply want to sit here and process; to write eloquently about my experience and reflect on this past year but where do I even start?

We have shared 365 days together. It has been a big year.
One whole year of: learning, worrying, adapting, not sleeping, joy, love, growth, bonding and so much more.

They also say, "Just as you figure them out, they change." This feels 1000% true. Just when I had adapted and just when we got into a groove, BAM... Sleep regression, teething, cold, cold, dropping a nap, leap, ear infection, regression, feeding real meals, new breastfeeding rhythm, tantrums, learning to be mobile and getting hurt.. the list goes on.

There are so many directions I  could go... What I have learned about myself in becoming a mother, what I have learned about nurturing a tiny human, how many conflicting "truths" and options there are to sort through on how to raise a child, how my marriage has grown and deepened, how community has changed, what owning a business as a mom looks like, how God has shown up and molded me AND SO ON. Maybe there will be more posts on more topics but for now, how we've grown.

My how we've grown.
You were 7 pounds 4 ounces and 20 inches of love (read our birth story here). As they say, I    absolutely cannot believe you were ever that tiny. What a different one year and 15 pounds makes.
Before seeing or holding you your Papa proclaimed with such joy and honor that you were a boy, our son!
You arrived and we bonded right away. What a miracle that within moments of leaving the womb you knew just how to eat.
Everything was new for all three of us. Everything.
Days were so long and yet suddenly you were one month, six months and now a year old.
Papa took such good care of me so I could spend so much time feeding and snuggling you. You napped on our chests and fit so perfectly. That first month was full of rain, cozy gloom and slowness. Days were simple and we did all we could to soak up this fleeting and special season with you. Some of it is such a blur and some of it is still so real. I am so thankful for the six weeks we were simply together before Papa went back to work. I  saw new sides of him that evolved as he settled into his new role as father that deepened my love for him in new ways.

I struggled a lot with worry. What a significant blessing I have been entrusted with. And it turns out the internet is a dark whole of conflicting chaos and fears mixed with community, encouragement and wisdom. Thanks to your Papa and wise friends I found balance, empathy and support. This is a continual process. I now know as a parent I am in for a lifetime of things to worry about but God has shown up with such gentle reminders that I can lean in and trust His plan for you and for us. This will be a continual lesson, too.

I am so thankful for our breastfeeding journey. What a journey of commitment, physical depletion, joy, bonding and love. For so long it seemed like all we would do. Now it's a sweet, short connection in our day. It once was something I would fret over - the schedule, the amount you were eating, being away from you for too long.. but now it is a free flowing rhythm we've settled into so well (minus the current biting). Bottles, the pump and all it's pieces are now packed away. We used the last bit of frozen milk just before your birthday. I can't believe these elements are now in the past.

I  am so thankful for the people who have come alongside us. I've considered myself pretty good at tackling new things and figuring out how to do them well. You are not a thing and I certainly have not figured this all out. But that has brought me such rich support from so many. Lots of messages shared, questions asked, encouragement given and received, empathy expressed and connections deepened as I  journey further into motherhood. This would not be possible alone.

I  had no idea how much you would change in one year. I had no idea you would go from such a tiny, completely dependent newborn to such a strong, fun, independent little man. Of course, you still need me and want to be near me at most times but you venture off to explore, play independently and show us your personality. You blow me away daily.

I  had no idea how much I would change in one year. I had no idea how becoming a mother would stretch me. I had no idea I could be so exhausted, so in love, so unsure of myself and also so certain I    am who I  need to be for who you are. I  didn't know how much I  didn't know. And I still don't.

We both have so much to learn.
What I do know is I will do my absolute best to love you to the fullest of my capacity. To stretch, grow, adapt and learn as we enter each part of this journey. I will fail. I will mess up. I will disappoint us both. But I sure hope we encounter these moments with grace, deep breaths and that same love. I    will pray, pray, pray. For you, for your future, for the way we raise you, for the world around you and the impact you will have (and it will have on you) and so much more. These are declarations that will be tested and I won't always hold to like I wish I could. But I hope you know above everything else how incredibly loved you are.

There is a whole lot of harsh in this world but there is a whole lot more amazing. May our home always be a warm, nurturing and loving place to land. A place that points to a deeper love continually.

As I finally finish this you are closer to 13 months than 12.
You are so close to walking.
You are dancing.
You are strong in your opinions and feelings.
Your snuggles are the best.
There is nothing like your laugh.
You love dirt, mud and rocks and only want to be outside.
You are the cutest baby ever (said every parent ever).

We are so thankful for you!
You have changed us forever.
We love YOU!
Here's to year TWO.

These monthly moments bring all the feels.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

December Family Sessions

I decided it was time to share more of these images from December's Mini Family Session Day. I just love all these people and the moments that I got to capture with them.

First up - The Johnson Family.
Neighbors turned friends and now in front of my camera.

Next up - The Salcido-Perez Family.
Their sweet little foster babe arrived just in time for their session!

And finally, Rebecca & Michael and their fun little crew!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Show up messy.

Last night my kitchen was pretty clean and tidy (much thanks to my husband and his nightly magic).
By 10:30am today it's not exactly looking so hot. Seriously. This is a glimpse. Our rental grout is not so cute, our cabinets are poorly painted, my dishes are a mess and I've got food in progress for a meal.

This morning's story time at the library led to some hang with a friend who is also now a mama of a 10 month old boy. We haven't seen each other in a long time and don't even know each other that well but we ran into each other and I invited her to come over to hang.

I knew my kitchen (and most of my home) were less than ready for a new visitor but I didn't really think twice. I love people and connecting and in this season that isn't always easy. So while I could have said, "Come over some time" so that I could prepare, I chose to say "Would you like to come over now?" and invite her into the reality. After all both of our babies were napped and fed so now was the time!

Honestly when she left I noticed things that needed attention and wondered if she noticed them too - the coffee grounds on the floor, the diapers that need taken to the trash, the post weekend trip unpacking explosions. She may have. But I think she gets it. We connected over the challenges and rhythms mom life has held for us in the past 10 months and I think we share some of the same struggles to manage it all. But even if she was nailing the tidy game I am not and that's ok. Sometimes my day doesn't allow it. Sometimes I choose to rest or connect with a friend or shower. But most of the time I am going to choose to invite people in and that includes the real. That's how we want our home to be. That's how we want to be as people. Open, welcoming, real. That is how our conversations were today and both of us left refreshed and grateful.

I don't say this to toot my horn at all. But maybe as some encouragement to show up where you are. Show up messy. Show up in progress. Connect with that friend even if you aren't in the best place emotionally. Invite people into your space even if it looks more like hoarders than fixer upper. Show up with your spouse even if wounds leave you guarded. Pitch that business idea to your boss or friend even if the details are up in the air.

I  read a quote on Instagram this week, "Their grass isn't greener, they are just using a filter."
It's easy to assume their kitchen is spotless, their marriage is without conflict, they are confident in their journey, they are patient with their kids... But we have to remember we never see the whole story. Don't let how their lives appear prevent you from living fully in the reality of yours. We all have our in progress areas and community thrives when authenticity matters more than perfection.