anchored in light

A lifestyle blog about finding light in every avenue of life

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Our Breastfeeding Journey | 9 Months In



I wasn't planning to write this post. I figured that I had made it to 6 months, I had things down. Everly was getting enough from me, we knew how to latch, and all that Jazz. I was a breastfeeding pro!

Oh how little I knew.

So here we are at 9 months. 9 months of breastfeeding and it has been so different than what I thought it would be.

First, the switch to solids. Everly took to solids like a duck to water. She eats and she eats a LOT! It seemed like a lot, but it wasn't until my mom looked into it that I realized that she was eating a lot more than other babies her age. But, I didn't worry too much about it. Everly started sleeping through the night (I credit that partially to solids and partially to sleep training and partially to Everly for just being an awesome baby.).

When we switched to solids I just nursed her before I fed her and went along as normal, because she was going down at 6:30, I would pump once for the milk for her bottle before bed and called it good.

And that worked for a while. Until I realized that I wasn't pumping out very much. I decided to get more dedicated to pumping. I would pump twice after she went down. I would pump between feedings. I remembered from when Everly was a newborn that 8 times was the magic number. So I tried to hit that number, between pumping and nursing I was hitting 8 times. Nothing seemed to be changing. So I started pumping after every nursing session. Admittedly, nursing has gotten shorter and shorter as Everly has gotten older. I just assumed that it was because Everly was a more efficient nurser. I didn't ever think that it could be because I was making less milk. When she was down to 3 minutes or less a side I was concerned, but not overly so because if I pumped after I still didn't get anything.

I drank more water. I ate 4 lactation cookies every day. I pumped and pumped and prayed.

Nothing changed.

Everly got teeth and started biting me.

I thought that maybe this was my sign to start pumping exclusively. I thought that I'd get more milk because I'd be pumping for 15 minutes every time, and I wouldn't get bitten.

I tried that for a day or two.

I read articles about babies self-weaning that assured me that babies do not self-wean before a year. It was probably a phase that I could choose to work through or not. I chose to continue to work through it. Through all of this I knew that Everly hasn't been gaining weight (although she did seem to be getting taller). I got more and more depressed about it all. I wanted to be a good mom. Good moms feed their babies only breastmilk for a year. That's what I'd been told over and over and over.

It got to the point where I considered using formula to supplement and my sweet husband put it on the list to get at the store. Then he saw the cost and decided to hold off. I felt like I'd failed. I felt like if I didn't succeed, my baby would suffer and I would be costing us all this money.

I fell into a deep hole of depression where I seriously didn't want to do anything. I had been working out by running three times a week and doing yoga three times a week, but I couldn't get myself to do yoga for more than a few minutes. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and stare at the wall. And that's about all that I did when my baby was sleeping. Besides pumping that is.

I wanted to make it to Everly's 9-month appointment so that I could talk to the doctor about it (honestly I think that Pediatrician appointments for your first baby are spaced WAY too far apart.) I wanted to make it to her 9-month mark so that I could say that at least I had made it to 9 months.

I did not make it to 9 months. I knew that I was making about 10 ounces a day. I knew that Everly needed 16-24 ounces a day. So finally I told my husband to buy the formula anyway. I mentally prepared myself to feel worse than I had in the weeks leading up to this decision (which, by the way, I thought about constantly and made the decision about 10 times before we actually followed through).

Miraculously, once that formula was here I felt so much better. I still planned to nurse so I knew that she'd be getting antibodies from me, but the pressure to be her sole provider of milk was gone. I didn't freak out when I pumped out just under an ounce every time I pumped. I knew that Everly would get what she needed.

So we are currently on day two of formula. I have to nurse Everly in dark quiet rooms now because otherwise I can't get her to stay latched long enough to get a single let down (we had to start doing that before the formula as well). But we are still nursing. I wish that I could go back and tell myself that formula wasn't so bad. I wish I could go back and tell myself that even if I hadn't tried so hard to up my supply, that it would still be ok to choose to supplement with formula. I wish I could tell myself that fed is best, and really believe it.
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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Poems of Motherhood | June



June was a heavy month for me. We moved. My baby was approaching 6 months. So of course, there was a lot of poetry.


6/4/18
I love the way your hands come together
clasped like prayer

I'm sure you know
I'm sure you understand

You probably pray better than the prophets
yet
I will be the one to teach you how to say
dear Heavenly Father

6/4/18

sometimes the details
crash and break over me like waves
the curl of your hands
the tint of your hair
the exact weight of your small body
in my arms
like waves
the details change
you fit differently, yet secure
your mouth forms different sounds
clothes are boxed away
like waves
sometimes I drown in the depth of them
come out soaked to the marrow of my bones
salt water streaming down my face
like waves
the details slip and slide off of me
no matter how I try to catch them
ending up with droplets
when I tried to capture the ocean
just like waves
I'll never get tired of watching you
drowning and drinking you in
even when the salt scratches my throat
leaves me wishing for more water
I'm happy with the whatever
the waves leave me with

because in the end
those snatches of you
the scraps of memory
small and scattered as the sand
are beautiful
clinging to my skin
until they are a part of me
no amount of waves
can wash them away

6/6/18
last night I watched the sky blush its way to the horizon and thought about motherhood
the way that only a few months ago
we were tied together
by blood and tissue
belly to belly
leaving an indelible mark
a scar that just looks like skin
now
we're tied together in an entirely different way
heart to heart
a string that has grown into a rope
feelings twined around each other
keeping me always aware
almost exhaustingly so
of the distance between our hearts
millimeters
or miles



6/12/18
I saw you watching me

intent
on me

so I put aside my blogging project
read you the poems I'd shared
they'd brought tears to your grandmother's eyes
but the words had never met the air
before

you watched me
listened

I watched your eyes slide closed
then jump open
like you didn't want to miss a word

but sleep claimed you anyway

6/14/18
there are moments
lots of moments
when I remember what it was like
to not count the minutes
since I last nursed
or pumped
when my breast pads didn't show through my clothes
because I didn't wear any
I didn't calculate how simple 
or difficult 
it would be to feed my baby based on what I was wearing

but
then there are moments
like this
where you fall asleep at my breast
and I lay you back in your crib
your fingers curl into a fist
fall slowly to the mattress
your hair damp and wavy with sweat
where you rested against my arm

and I wish that these moments
would last forever
where I would wear lumpy pads
eat endless lactation cookies
and plan my outings in three-hour increments


6/18/18

We were in church
you were sleeping
then the organ played

even before you opened your eyes
your mouth was open
singing with us
making a joyful noise

6/20/18

Today was one of those moments
where everything clicks into a kind of bliss
Brian came home from work for lunch
bearing tacos and fries
we ate them while you babbled and sang
in your rock n play
in that moment
full of good food and family
I felt full and enough and perfectly content
a good moment
one that ties me down to the happily ever
after I have anchored in my heart
moments like that
I can tell you what it looks like
what it tastes like
today it looked like a family of three in a tiny apartment
today it tasted like beef and turkey tacos with crinkle fries



6/26/18

someone told me once
that
in your mind
pregnancy hasn't ended yet
you're still so wrapped up in me
skin, muscles, and bones still
wrapped around you
so when I'm gone.
it's like you're missing too

if that isn't the most accurate description of motherhood
then I don't know what is.


6/28/18

Tonight is our last night
the last night you sleep in the home you came home to
the last night to watch the light fade over the mountains

to remember the first night we spent here
a place of our own

to bathe you in the sink where you had your first bath
were we cried and loved and struggled

if these walls could talk...
witness to our lives
to your songs
to the many moments where we walked 
out the door

one last time
we're close our eyes knowing these walls
that have known us

then we'll walk out the door
one last time


6/28/18

so many memories
layered into the walls
thicker than paint
sealed in with the new coat that they will paint when we leave
if you could peel it back
like rings in the trees
what would be trapped there 
between those
paint pages
pressed like seals in hot wax

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Managing Expectations in Marriage



Brian and I have been married over 1000 days. We realized just yesterday that our 1000 day mark had passed (on July 31...) and I got to thinking about how our marriage has gone so differently than I expected. 

I don't know about you guys, but when I was a teenager I was encouraged to make a list of things that I wanted in my future husband. It was fun to daydream about what my future husband might be like. I put things on the list like: 

  • Over 6 feet tall
  • Handsome
  • Good sense of humor
  • Returned Missionary
  • Marry in the temple
  • Kind
  • Brown Hair
  • Blue Eyes
None of this seemed very unreasonable to me. Through the years the list got longer and more detailed in my head. I nicknamed my future husband Jeremy Manhandsome. He would be everything that I ever needed. He would take care of me and have virtually no flaws while being patient with my own flaws. Of course, he would be rich and I'd never have to work again. We'd live in a beautiful house at the top of some seaside cliff where we would spend our days together and take our little family traveling around the world. I'd be married by 23 and everything would settle right into place.

Logically I knew that it was a fantasy, but that didn't stop my little heart from hooking right into that dream. 

As the years went by my fantasy shifted a bit to accommodate the fact that I wasn't married by 23. Instead, I would move to California, instantly learn to surf perfectly and catch the eye of some handsome surfer *who may or may not have looked like Jeremy Sumpter*. I'd be the girl that all the boys wanted, but couldn't have, until my Jeremy came along and we'd settle down together on our seaside cliff beach house...

So when my fairytale started out with me living at home with my new husband who I met when we were 16, but who wasn't 6 feet tall, and wasn't a surfer, I thought that I had reasonably adjusted my expectations. I knew that we wouldn't be living in a beachside house (at least not any time soon) and I knew that babies would be coming later than I expected, and I knew that we'd probably have fewer babies than I had planned on. What I didn't expect was that I also had sneaky little expectations that I hadn't really even thought about. Things like eating breakfast together. 

I knew going in that Brian wasn't big on mornings. I knew that and yet I somehow thought that my winning smile would be enough to turn that around. I think it was a full two months of waking him up every 30 minutes starting at 8 AM that I realized that just because we were married and he loved me, it wasn't going to turn him into a morning person. 

At first, I was very sad. I had to let go of that part of my expectations. I had to let go of the idea of spending those early mornings together, and I had to let go of the idea that Brian would bring me breakfast in bed. That was probably the hardest part of early marriage for me, expecting things to go a certain way and to have them go a different way. It wasn't until I was standing in the shower one day, thinking about a quote by Marjorie Pay Hinckley about how the key to a long and happy marriage is to lower your expectations. I thought that if someone had to lower their expectations to have a happy marriage to a prophet (and arguably an amazing man), then I should probably put a few of my expectations aside and I could do it without settling in any way.

Once I realized this, it allowed me to see Brian for who he really was and all that he was actually doing. When I stopped expecting him to wake up early with me I learned to enjoy the time to study my scriptures and get "me time" things done. When I stopped expecting him to bring me breakfast in bed, I realized that he often made me dinner without complaint, that he brought me flowers on random occasions. I got all these little bonus things I never even thought to put on my "expectations" list, but were things that made my life so much more beautiful and wonderful. 

That said, here are a few tips for managing your expectations:
  • Voice reasonable expectations (communication is key!)
  • Make a list of all that your spouse IS, things that you love, not what you wish they would be
  • Be forgiving, nothing is going to go the way you expected all of the time, or even most of the time
I don't think it's good to let go of all expectations, I don't think it's healthy and I'm really not sure that it's even possible, which is why I think it's so important to manage expectations.

Don't let what you expected, keep you from seeing what you have.

What was the hardest part of early marriage for you? How do YOU manage your expectations in marriage?

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wraps VS Slings



Let me start this off by saying that I love both wraps and slings. I feel like they both have their pros and cons (and honestly the cons are a pretty short list).

I think that babywearing is fantastic for a lot of reasons. Some of the ones I've heard are that it promotes bonding, that it helps with your baby's digestion because it massages their stomach as you wear them, you're able to get things done because you're not holding the baby, and you can even breastfeed in both a wrap or a sling.

I hadn't really heard much about babywearing before I had Everly, the only one that I had seen was a wrap. I put one on my baby registry and actually ended up buying the same one anyways because it was taking weeks and weeks to get to me, but it was one of the best baby purchases that I have ever made.

Here are the pros of babywearing in either the wrap or the sling:

  • Highly portable (I almost always have one in my diaper bag or in our car)
  • Quickly Soothe a baby 
  • About as close as you can get to actually being pregnant again 
  • Much more comfortable than just holding your baby (cannot tell you how many times they've saved my back when Everly was being fussy and wouldn't let me put her down)
  • You can breastfeed in either Wrap or sling
  • Promotes correct hip development
I have absolutely loved babywearing. I honestly think that you should be given a wrap or a sling when you take your baby home from the hospital. Not only is it easy to carry your baby, but it's WAY easier than managing a stroller. If you've read my birth story you know that I couldn't really walk well for about a month after I had my baby. At the time we lived on the third floor of an apartment building. If it was between getting the baby and a stroller down three flights of stairs or staying home, my only choice was mainly staying home. Once I got my wrap I was able to go for walks to the park and around the neighborhood because I could easily put her in it and get down the stairs. 
I also love that you or your partner (or even grandparents) can use a wrap or sling. Seeing my husband carrying Everly in our wrap was enough to about explode my heart and make me want a million babies.

Wrap VS. Sling

I like both, but I like them for different reasons.

Wrap
-Simple to get into 
-More comfortable for ME as the wearer over long periods of time
-You can easily wear a diaper bag while wearing a wrap

Sling
-Simple to get into (quicker than the wrap for me)
-More comfortable for my baby
-Stylish

I feel like I should explain a little. Everly seems to like the sling better, which was totally unexpected for me. I've had a wrap for most of her life and only recently got a sling. Sometimes when I put her in the wrap she squirms and wants out, even when everything is well adjusted and supported in the correct way. That's not to say she doesn't like the wrap, but the first time I put her in the sling she immediately relaxed against me and hunkered down. It seemed like she didn't want to get out of the sling, ever. For me, it's easier for me to get into a sling quickly if she's upset and wants to be held. Every time I put her in the sling she seems happy and relaxed.

I feel like the sling is a little bit more trendy and it's a little less comfortable for me. Although I will say that both wrap and sling have a bit of a learning curve! Now that I've practiced a little more with the sling it has gotten more comfortable. I feel like there are little nuances with getting the fit right on a sling, where a wrap is pretty straight forward and easy to get a good fit. I would recommend that if you choose a sling that you switch off which shoulder you sling on so that you don't strain one side of your body. 

I've really been trying lately to be conscious of where my purchases come from. If possible I try to support local businesses or places where things are ethically made or that the company donates to someone else. In the spirit of that, I'd like to recommend a few local (to Utah) or small ethically made companies for slings and wraps. They are definitely pricier than something you could buy at Target or off of Amazon, but for me, the higher price is worth it! Even if that means that I have to wait until I can afford something :) Shop the sales my friends, shop the sales.

Slings

Wildbird
Poppet Slings
Love Sakura Bloom

Wraps

Solly Baby

Have you used a wrap or a sling? Which do you like better? Why?
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Poems of Motherhood | May




5/13/18
As a mother I’ve learned the weight of you in my arms
The way to tuck you against my breast in our bed as the room starts to lighten so that my arm becomes your pillow
I’ve found that the list of what I will give for you is never ending 


5/14/18

I'm learning the weight of motherhood
how it pushes down on the fragile edges
breaking me down to the core of who I am
pouring all the deep emotions deeper than they've ever gone


5/15/18

These are the good days
using endless amounts of tissues
wrapping you tight against my chest to sleep
watching the pale pink lilies unfold
that your daddy got me for Mother's day

Normally I hate lilies
but these have changed my mind

Your daddy fed me sweet pineapple on the lovesac
while I held you in my lap
use my hidden kiss to get you to take your binky
(whom we affectionately call Sophie)
one kiss on the forehead
while your lightning fast fingers
tangle in my hair
like a security blanket

your cries crackle in your chest
you nearly grab the gray and white scrunchie off my wrist
grabbing little things to keep me with you


5/15/18

I'm embracing the mess and
tangle of life
the hair that does what it wants
the dishes in the sink
the scattered sand over the moments
of watching you slow blink your way to sleep
with moments of aching backs and sad cries


5/16/18

We woke up together
usually this is accompanied by cries
but today
you opened your eyes
smiled at me
those beautiful eyes
I could wake up
like that
every day


5/21/18

You won't always think my arm is your favorite pillow
or, open your eyes to my face
so for now
I'll cuddle your body close to mine
for now
I'll enjoy the little print your ear makes on my arm each morning

5/22/18
The edge of me used to come right to my skin
Until the day that you were born
Then the edge of me somehow stretched and wrapped itself around you

5/23
I love the way you nurse
Curled close around me
Draping into my lap
With hands alternately plucking my clothes like strings
Or settling your hand so gently on my breast

5/25/18

This morning I walked with you. tight against my chest and for the first time you seemed bigger to me. the length of your back under my hands spanning further than I remember, making it seem that you're leaping forward, more than outgrowing clothes and swaddles.
we stopped by the river, on a little bank with white flowers growing on leafy bushes. stepping off the sidewalk we startled some squirrels. so I told you about your great-grandfather, my mother's dad, and how he was friends with a squirrel named Sammy and how they'd thought that Sammy was a boy until she had babies.
we walked a little farther and I saw a little set of white painted outdoor furniture. The kind that your great grandmother, my mother's mom, had on the porch of her tiny east side house.
you feel asleep as we walked and I talked to you about trees and baby birds and how those mama ducks were worried that we were going to touch their babies.
I looked at these tiny houses that I'd once despised, maybe because they made me think of old people and the dark of my grandmother's house, everything old and vaulable, untouchable, with walls layered in tar from her cigarettes we weren't supposed to know that she smoked.
Now I want a little house. Fill it up with babies and memoried and the joy of being a family. with home cooked meals and messes made by those i love.
while we walked and you slept we settled into silence and I thought wat a beautiful life this is.
now you're sleeping in a pile of swaddle, the sound of ocean waves shushing you to sleep.
a beautiful life indeed.



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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Our Breastfeeding Journey | 6 Months In



I will never ever doubt people when they tell me that time flies. It really does. We are halfway through my goal to breastfeed for one year. I honestly can't believe that we've gotten this far! I thought for sure that I would have dried up by now, but so far, things seem to be working out just fine! 

Since I last wrote, a few things have changed, and some of them have stayed the same. (If you missed my first post, you can read it here). Back then I was worried about making enough milk, and I still am. I'm not sure that concern will ever go away for me. Maybe when we've made it a whole year, but probably not ha ha. 

I've become a pretty big breastfeeding advocate. I've surprised myself with my passion for wanting to make sure that all women feel like they can breastfeed whenever, and however, they want. Whether that be with a cover or without. Whether that be in public or a mothers room or at home. I've breastfed openly in public and I've breastfed with a cover and it's so much easier without a cover. Life is hard as a mom, let's not make it any harder by making mothers worry about when or how they're acceptably allowed to feed their babies. 

That magical feeling has finally set in... sort of. Sometimes I'm feeding her and I look down at her with her big eyes watching me and her hand resting on me and I feel all swollen with love. Times like that I'm not sure how anybody ever gives this up. I'm not sure how women transition to letting their babies feed themselves all the time.
Then there are other times when I'm feeding her and I am watching the clock, wondering how much longer she'll nurse or I'm playing on my phone completely disinterested in what's happening. Those times I don't dislike nursing or even really see it as an inconvenience, but those are just the run of the mill times. Honestly, they probably happen a lot more often than the magical times. 

I'm happy to say that I haven't had mastitis in months! I had it twice (maybe three times) before and it is no joke guys. My mom came to help out with Everly the second time because it hit me so hard. I don't know how women with other children do it!

I've also just about quit pumping. I pump once a day and I'm running through my freezer stash pretty fast. I owe this mostly to the fact that we give her a bottle once a day before bed (so that Brian can feed her and bond with her that way, and also so we can give her Vitamin D drops that our pediatrician recommended). Most of what I froze in the early days was as much as the bag could hold. Turns out that Everly cannot eat 6 oz. at a time, in fact, she rarely goes over 3 oz. So a lot of my stash has gone to waste because I run out of time to feed it to her before it goes bad after its been thawed. Seriously considering saving up for a Willow pump for the next baby so that I can have a good stash and pump more than once a day. 

We've made it 6 months! Unless I quit or dry up, my next breastfeeding post will probably be at the year mark! :)

How long did you breastfeed for? What was your experience like? Why did you decide to stop when you did?
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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

My 28th Year



Today is my 28th birthday. It's really kind of weird for me to say that, and not because 28 is big number or anything, but because I kind of swore off birthdays last year. 

Now, let me explain, birthdays have largely been a disappointment for me for most of my life. I always expect people to make a bigger deal out of them than they end up doing. So last year, when I was pregnant with Everly, everyone told me to make the most of it because it was going to be my last birthday without a baby. Over and over people pounded into my head that I wasn't really going to get a birthday after that one. So I did make the most of it. I made my own cake (a tradition I started for myself when I got married), I took a bath with a sparkly bath bomb, I went out to lunch with my family, and I mentally let the concept of birthdays go. No longer was there a special day of the year that was all about me, I'd been holding onto that idea for too long anyway. So this year I basically forgot that my birthday was coming. People kept asking me about my birthday and I kept thinking, "Birthday? What's a birthday?" I'm actually a little impressed with how far I mentally let go of birthdays. 

For me, now, birthdays are the day I get to start saying the next year. They're a time to reevaluate who I am and my goals, but they're no longer a day about presents or special treatment. 

So here are some 28th-year birthday thoughts for you. And I'll keep it short ;)


1. This year I learned that I'm way more environmentally conscious/concerned than I ever thought I would be. I blame part of it on my husband. I'm in serious danger of swinging way too far to one side. I keep wondering where my products come from and are they from local businesses, and how will they impact the environment?? My new buying mantra is less about what is cheapest, and more about what is best for the environment and the people around me.

2. This was the year that I dived deep into minimalism. Earlier in the year, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, combined with the fact that we moved and I am right on track to get rid of almost everything I own and stick to what I really need/love, and a lot of books. I'll probably always have a lot of books and I'm really ok with that. 
Up until this last year, I wanted a big house with lots of rooms. Now I think that I'll be quite content with a house that's small and clean and cozy. My dream home went from being a towering thing on a beach cliff somewhere to a cottage of some sort (also probably on a beach cliff somewhere...). 

3. This is the year that I committed to my writing. I've committed and re-committed to writing so many times that it's a little ridiculous, but this is the year that I read Big Magic. I decided that I was going to start writing almost every day. That I was going to make it a priority. That I was going to write for me, but also that I was going to give publishing a shot. So, after writing 10 first draft novels, I am finally revising one. I have no idea whether it will actually get published, but we'll see what happens. I redefined my idea of writing success for myself and while I'll be thrilled if I get published someday (and plan on working on that for the rest of my life), I'm ok if I don't. Success for me will be to be a lifelong writer. I can control that. I can't control if anyone else will like it or buy my books. 

4. This year I fell in love with my body. I've always wanted to be someone that took care of their body because they loved it, not because they hated it. I've been at war with my body most of my life. I wanted to be the skinniest. Now, after having watched it grow and change and shrink mostly back to its normal size I am just so amazed by what it has done and what it is capable of doing. I find myself working out because I enjoy it, not because I'm worried about my weight, in fact, I rarely weigh myself. I try to eat intuitively. If I'm hungry for a salad, I have a salad, if I want a burger, I eat a burger. I don't tell myself that anything is off limits and I don't criticize myself for eating things that are "bad" or "unhealthy".  That all said, there are still things that I don't love about my body, but I'm the happiest that I have ever been with it and I'm going to continue to work on loving it and taking good care of it instead of warring against it.

5. This year I became the most intentional that I have ever been with my time. I've always wanted to keep myself from falling into the trap of wanting to be constantly entertained. I've learned to let myself be bored and not reach for my phone all the time. I try to use it as a tool rather than a device for entertainment. I use the Moment app to help me know how I'm spending my time on my phone. Because I've been so conscious of it I've allowed myself time for things that I really enjoy and are more worthwhile for me. I've spent more time reading and writing and spending time focused solely on my family. I don't think I'll ever be one that completely quits social media, because it is a good tool and it brings me joy, but I've learned to not make it the center of my thoughts at all hours of the day.

This year has been one of immense growth for me. I feel so different from the person that I was before. So much has changed. We grew our family and we've moved. I fell in love with motherhood (I still vacillate in my mind between wanting a million babies and just loving Everly so much that I think I could be content with just her for the rest of our years). It has been a beautiful splendid year. It has not been easy, but most of those hard things have led to the growth that I'm so grateful for. I'm truly excited to see what the next year of life brings!

How do you celebrate your birthdays? How do you feel like you've changed in the last year?
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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

No One "Belongs"



About a week ago we were sitting in church talking about things that we could improve on. Several people had already said that our community was good at welcoming new people and making them feel like they belonged, but then as we talked more about things we could improve on, one person broke down in tears saying how they had never felt like they belonged, even though they had lived there for years.

Suddenly the room was full of people saying how they felt that too, if not now, then that they had felt that way. I sat there silent, echoing it in my heart. I have lived where we are currently living for the better part of almost twenty years. We moved there when I was nine and I never felt like I fit in. I was the weird new girl with glasses. Every time I seemed to make a friend they moved away. The feeling of not "fitting" made me feel so uncomfortable that if I hadn't already believed my church was true, I would have stopped going altogether.

Since then there have only been a few times where I have felt like I belonged in my church. It seemed that the feeling of fitting in was always something that was just outside my grasp.

After we had this discussion I put a poll on my Instagram stories, asking if anyone else had felt that way. 100% of the people who voted said that they had also felt that way. One HUNDRED percent. I was amazed by the number.

As I talked with more people about it, there wasn't a single person who said that they hadn't felt that they were outside of the "center". That place where everyone feels like they always fit in and that they are always good enough, it just doesn't exist. I think that in every situation, not just at church, it's easy to feel like we aren't part of the crowd, that we are alone while everyone else is having a good time. Social media doesn't seem to help the matter.

With all of that, I still feel that way. I still feel like I don't fit. We've come back to this community while we are looking for a house and I feel just like I did that first day as a nine-year-old. These aren't my people. I'm not theirs either. 

Yet, once I let that feeling go, the one that I needed to fit in and that I needed them to accept me, I felt more like I fit in than I ever have. There's something to be said for relying on your own opinion of yourself and what it does for your confidence. For me, that's the best way that I've found to get around the feeling that everyone else is doing better, has more friends, or fits in better than I do. 

It isn't always easy. Sometimes that feeling of not belonging comes creeping back in. However, the more I work at it (and the older I get), it seems to matter less and less. I know what the people I care about think of me, and I like the person that I am. 

What do you do when you feel like you don't belong?
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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Poems of Motherhood | April Edition




My baby turns 5 months this weekend! I can hardly believe that the time has gone by so quickly. Meanwhile, I need to start figuring out my plan of action for feeding her solids. I am a mother and I still don't know how mothers do it, but I guess that's all of life, just figuring things out as you go along!


4/8/2018

I'm holding onto moments
you tenderly holding our baby
you kissing her feet
moments to remind myself of this motherhood bliss
while I watch the shadows
wonder if post-partum depression is lurking there
would I know it if I saw it?
will soaking myself in these moments leave me saturated so that I slip
through its clutches
when it comes to claim me?
will it paint Everly in darkness
so I can't remember this light?

I don't know.

So I'll keep watching the shadows
for now, they stay at the edges
but I wonder
would I notice if they were closer?



4/12/2018

You grab onto my hair like a lifeline
a silk rope to tie us together
you fall asleep to violins and clair de lune
only settling down when I come in close
kiss you on the cheek
letting your eyes fall closed as you 
watch me through the bars



4/18/2018

I hear you
find you in the dim light
mittened arm raised in triumph

escaped your swaddle again

I replace your binkie
walk out to the sounds of pianos
a classical lullaby

because I love them
and I hope you will too.



4/22/2018

My heart's melting point
is your smile


Thanks for reading! 

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Their Lies Look Pretty Fantastic



A few weeks ago I was driving in the car with my little sister and she said something along the lines of, "Well, I know that their social media is lies, but their lies look pretty fantastic!"

I think we've all been there. I've certainly been there. We all know that social media is the curated highlight reel for other people's lives, but it's pretty hard to remember that when you're looking at it. I've been there, looking at people's beautiful homes, perfectly organized (it seems) and I look around my 500 Square foot apartment and the unmade bed and the stacks of boxes and think about how this random stranger's on Instagram life is so much better than mine. I look at their styled hair and makeup and wish that I looked like that (without the effort of course). It's easy to forget that they've worked hard for whatever picture they're putting out there. They may have spent time styling the shot, they probably edited it, and maybe they even worked years to get to that point, but all you see is the gap between them and you.

I'm fresh off of a 7-day social media fast, so I thought that I'd share a list of things to help you enjoy social media more. Yes, that's right, not a list of ways to cut back on Social Media, but ways to enjoy it more*. 

*enjoy it more doesn't mean be on it more by the way


1. Unfollow anyone that makes you feel bad about yourself

It's nothing personal. Really, it isn't. If you can't handle their feed because it's too perfect, or because they make you think about things you want that you don't currently have, move on. Conversely, follow people that make you feel good, that you feel connected to, and who brighten your day or inspire you.

Remember that no one has a perfect life. Even if it seems like it. Everyone has their own struggles.


2. Focus on the good

Rather than looking at how many followers that you have (or don't have), try to find ways to uplift others with your social media. Whether that be by sharing things that you feel will brighten someone's day or by commenting on someone's post with how much you liked it. Honestly, comments are what make the world go around for me. It makes me feel like the time and effort I'm putting out there (whether on here or Instagram) are actually doing some good.

Be the kind of person that uplifts others. Be the one to say something nice. Let's support each other :) 


3. Focus on Connection

I hear a lot of people say that they love "social media A" because they feel connected to people. They've made friends on there. So post things that share who you are (be smart, no addresses or super personal information) and comment on things that connect with you. You'd be surprised how much you get back. 


4. Get off of Social Media when you're bored

I'm pretty sure that there is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to Social Media. For me, the longer that I'm on social media, the less I get out of it. If I focus on doing more than just mindlessly scrolling and get off when I realize that I'm "just trying to get back to where I was", then I'm a lot happier with my life and my time. 


5. Make a List of Everything you have that you used to want

Remember that A) You have more than you think you do and B) Nothing or number of social media followers is going to fill you up. I love the quote 

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” -Epicurus

There are tons of things that I used to want, that I got, and I still want more things! When I first joined Instagram I wanted 100 followers and at least 10 likes on every photo. Now I have close to 300 followers and I get 20-40 likes per photo, but now I want 1000 followers... It's never-ending. If you place your happiness on follower counts and likes, even when you get them it won't be enough to make you happy.

6. Turn off Notifications

I used to have Notifications for all my social media... when someone liked something, when someone commented...the whole shebang. I started to get upset when I didn't get enough likes, or when they didn't happen fast enough. Silly things. So I turned almost all of them off, and it helps me to focus on other things.

These things all help me to get past the highlight reel and enjoy my time on social media. What helps you to enjoy social media?
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