So, how has it been three weeks since we left home?!?! Seriously, this is the start of week four, and it feels like we’ve been on the road ages instead of weeks.We’ve become so accustomed… More
I've come to the conclusion that my daughter, sweet thing that she is, isn't the most delicate of flowers, even though we may call her that from time to time. Sure, she is delicate in the fact that she is a baby and a lady, but in all reality, she is more of a wildflower. And if I'm completely honest, I really love that about her.
There is so much spunk and fire in her, spit and vinegar, that translates into a constancy of movement, talking, and exploring. She would rather be outside, picking flowers, digging in the dirt (and probably eating some), finding water and jumping right in, collecting rocks, running, falling, climbing, and finding her way around the world.
Sitting, watching, and not being involved aren't things that she jives with, and would rather get up and be with you or involved in the story somehow. Which at home can be great, but at library story time probably isn't the best for the other kids, who may I add, are all sitting listening quietly while my child tries to sit on the leader's lap, or grab another book to read, or trying to pet all the kids' hair, or playing with another kid's fun looking socks, etc. We sang some songs, then barely made it through the half-hour, only with the promise of going to the park for swings and slides afterward. But while this can be exhausting (and yes, it is especially exhausting at 37 weeks pregnant!), I still love it. She is bursting with personality that I do not want to hinder in any way. No that doesn't mean I don't direction and discipline, but that's a whole other topic. This is just me celebrating my child's crazy spunkiness.
She is teaching me about letting go. I encourage her to explore new things, to act silly and express herself, and as I do this, I wondering if I allow myself the same. I came to this reality when we were having a dance party in the kitchen, me putting on some weirdo dance music and telling her to dance, but not really dancing myself. She started, then stopped, as if wondering why I wasn't dancing either. When I realized this, I actually started dancing, jumping around and spinning in circles with my hands above my head, singing along to the music. When she saw this, she got a huge smile on her beautiful face and followed suit, dancing and laughing and spinning. What did I expect from her if I wasn't going to play and dance with her? I do not want to be so caught up in my adulthood and my "important things" that I forget to play and dance with her. And it was wonderful to see her expression change when I joined in. It was as if through my joining and playing, I was giving her permission to do what she wanted to do, and she adored it. Permission to dance and be free and express the joy that was erupting from her tiny self. Permission to be the wildflower that she is.
First let me start by saying I’m sorry if this grey post isn’t what you wear searching for. There are many sparkling blogs out there, full of DIYs & glitter & new favourite things. And don’t get me wrong! I love me some sunshine happy blogs. It’s just that in this season, I’d rather be honest than veneered.
I spoke with my midwife a few weeks ago about how I was feeling, the not myself, anxious, overwhelmed at everything irritable, etc person that ISN’T WHO I REALLY AM! But I couldn’t seem to find a way out. After our chat, and her giving me a brief test, she told me I had postpartum depression. Ummm . . . Ok. I honestly thought postpartum depression was just something you had if you had zero connection with your baby and wanted to hurt someone. Apparently not, and it can come delayed, like in my case. Combined with the seasonal depression I have been dealing with and pregnancy hormones, it’s been an internal tornado of sorts. But I feel like there is some sort of reason now that I have been grappling with this, and it’s not just a pity party that has lasted for months and months. I feel like I have been able to say, “Ok, what now?” And actually have somewhere to turn. I have been getting acupuncture, chatting with someone, letting go of responsibility and trying to not allow myself to feel guilty about not overdoing everything. It’s hard to let go of responsibility when you have a little person whom you are responsible for 24/7, but I’ve been trying.
I am also trying to be more grateful about everything. I know, this is an attitude thing that some people see as a fix all, and i know its not, but I know it will help (hopefully?). I am trying to notice the little things that used to make my heart flutter, the ones that spark joy and send a secret smile to my lips. I am noticing that some of my favourite walking trails AREN’T covered in ice anymore, and we can go for walks sometimes. I am noticing the small wiggles and kicks from the baby in my belly, kicks that are especially excited when Mabel is snuggled up on my belly (I think they are excited to meet their big sister!). I am noticing more how selfless my husband is as he works hard at his job, then comes home and helps me out, whether that means reading a story to Mabel or doing the dishes while I sit after putting Mabel to bed, trying to alleviate pregnant back pain; he’s the best.
And I debated sharing this here, because I don’t want to feel like I have to constantly apologize for not being a happy person all the time. But I would rather go on this journey knowing that the few souls that read this are with me in a way, and I’m not alone in this. I also hope that someone else who is struggling with postpartum depression will find comfort in a companion on the journey. I still want to share snippets of life, as well as snippets of the fight. Because I feel like that is what I am in right now: a fight for joy.
I hear the babes stirring and starting to fuss in the other room; she’s up from her 30 minute nap (because she is a fan of the short nap and I don’t know how to fix it). So I’m off. Thanks for being here.
I took these photos the day Mabel turned 11 months old and had full intentions of posting them later that evening. Then life happened, and here we are 9 days before my sweet girl’s first birthday, and I’m still playing catch-up. Isn’t that the story of our lives though? She’s changed even from these pictures! But I love them. She has so much spunk and personality these days! Growing so much more into the little girl and woman she’s going to be. Man oh man, I can’t believe I get to be her mama.
Happy Sunday morning! It’s snowing here . . . Again. SO there’s that.
Just in case you can’t tell, I’m not impressed, I’m thoroughly over snow, and I can’t wait for winter to be over. If anyone needs me I’ll be hibernating, dreaming up grilled salads and planning my garden on paper and waiting for the ground to thaw, again. RANT OVER.
Thanks to all who read my last post. I’ve been in a weird place lately, and I’m just trying to suss it all out and figure out how to be me again. The snow doesn’t help, but I’m trying not to let that call the shots.
But I’d rather not blather on about my melancholy state, I’d rather talk to you about what we’re eating this week! I’ve had so many people ask how I meal plan, where I get ideas, how I stick to our budget, etc. I ever had the privilege to meet and chat with a few ladies and we got to chat about our lives and how we plan for our families. It’s so fun! Seriously, if there wa a way to make money doing this, I would do it in a heart beat. So if you or if anyone you know wants someone to meet with them and create a personal plan and budget for them, let me know. 🙂
But in the meantime, I’m going to share what we are eating! I have it written out on my planner so I can see what the day holds as keep in my sight what we are eating, so if there is any prep or anythng that needs to be done (pull things from freezer, start dough, etc) it can be done and I’m not stuck come 5pm.
Tuesday (communal small group potluck): Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (baked sweet potato boats stuffed with sauteed peppers, mushrooms, onions, & spinach, topped with avocado & cilantro after baking)
Wednesday: Fried Buttermilk Chicken Biscuits wth Pickled Vegetables & Smoked Sea Salt Pecan & Bourbon Butterscotch Ice Cream Cake
Thursday: Carrot Ginger Soup & Bread (or leftover biscuits)
Friday: Chicken Salad (romaine, spiralized zucchini, grated carrots, chicken)
Saturday: Pantry Pad Thai (rice noodles, almond butter chili sauce, veggies)
On one hand it may look like I’m making a big dinner every night, but I’m not. We are only having meat twice this week (two days of chicken) and there are only two-three nights that I have to use recipes. If every night has me peeking into a cookbook while I have a small child wrapped around my legs while I’m fixing dinner, then even I wouldn’t be able to enjoy that every night! ANd that’s coming from someone who loves cooking. 🙂 Stir frys dont require a recipe-they are chopped veg into a pan, meat or chickpea/bean/lentils added, add soy and coconut milk if you’re in the mood, and season to taste. There you have it-mindless meal. 🙂 Stuffed sweet potatoes are just what they sound like, and they can be made ahead of time and popped into the oven on a baking try before people arrive. Soup needs a recipe sometimes, but carrot ginger is a classic that needs little explaining (sauté onion and garlic, add carrots, add broth and spices, blend, add coconut milk, blend again, season to taste). Plus, the soup can be made ahead of time, which is great because Matt will be holding down the fort with dinner and putting mabel to bed while I go to worship practice. Chicken salad is self explainatory. The only nights I will need recipes are Wednesday and Saturday! Wednesday night is our date night, and we go all out (as you can see!). We eat after Mabel goes to bed, and I have prep for the evening lined up a few days before hand so I’m not overwhelmed the day of (I have a wonderful book called “Date Night In” which I’ve mentioned before, but its worth mentioning again, because we love it!) On Saturday night I’m pulling a recipe from “Everyday Detox” by Megan Gilmore; everything I’ve made from this cookbook has been stellar so far! Can’t wait to try this new recipe and new sauce.
This is a snapshot of my meal plan and grocery list-it’s my brain when it comes to food for the week.
Can I be frank? I have not been the best version of myself lately. In fact, I haven’t even been a good version of myself, or an average one. I feel as if I have been barely eeking by, somehow managing to pull off being an ok member of society, and ok just meaning I haven’t robbed a bank lately or mugged anyone in an alley. Other than that, I haven’t been nice. I haven’t been myself, the girl who finds the glass half full and sunshine in the details, but rather a dark, scowling creature who someone has a resting b*tch-face rather than a contented one. I feel like I used to have some kind of sparkle, and I’ve lost it somewhere along the way.
And I have blamed many things, seasonal depression, delayed postpartum hormones, first trimester new baby hormones, sleep deprevation, and the list goes on and on. And while indeed those many things added up may be to blame, I still feel helpless as to how to fix it. And what is frustrating is I know the line that comes next from all the do-gooders out there that will want to say, “It just a change in attitude, then everything will be better!” Believe you me, I have tried/am still trying my hardest to have a better attitude about everything. Gritting through my teeth at the snow storm while everyone is “oohing” and “aahing” at the mounds of fluff, mustering up the words, “Yes, it’s beautiful,” all the while thinking how long it’s going to take to melt, how icy and gross everything will be until then, and the cold. Trying to tell myself that spring and summer will be here soon, but I know in reality that REAL spring is just more rain, and summer doesn’t arrive until mid-June or July, and even then there is a good chance it’s not going to get crazy warm. Maybe I should buck up? Just embrace it? Oh how I’ve tried on countless occasions, and it leaves me dreaming of a real spring (the kind with warm and sun and a handful of rain storms and garden planting and the start of sun-kissed shoulders and cheeks) and a real summer (the kind that get wonderfully hot and all you want to do is hike and swim in the lake and sun bath while reading and grill all your food outside and camp and never be inside again). I know those really don’t exist here, and that leaves me a bit dreamy and sad.
In the midst of this, I open up my Bible and study book in the morning to have devotions in the morning, searching for something that will be a hopeful balm to my soul. I have read and re-read through scriptures that I know by heart, prayed through prayers that are familiar, and also tried to read passages that I haven’t ventured into studying before, and writing out frank, honest prayers. It usually ends up being a plea of some sort, in the nature of “Ok, I’m here, and I’m trying, and I’m stuck, and I don’t know how to fix this so . . . help? Please?” At which point Mabel is usually done with breakfast and needs to be thoroughly wiped down from her oatmeal or peanut butter costume which she has painted all over herself. I clean her up and take her into the nursery to get ready for the day, feeling stuck in the same funk I woke up in, a sort of fog where there is no promise of sunshine beneath or above the clouds.
I say all this from a place of deep vulnerability. I don’t like being in tears regularly because I don’t know how to fix this. I am trying to be better, and that quickly spirals into a semi self-loathing chant of “Be a better person, be a better person . . . ” whic isn’t really what I am going for either. I don’t have an answer. And I very rarely share this with anyone, because if I share snippets, I start welling with tears, and I get the pity stare. You know the one, the stare of someone who doesn’t really know what you’re talking about, but feels bad for you, but doesn’t really know what to say either. They just look at you with sad eyes and wait for you to say something else, or say something that will wrap up your confession with a neat little bow. Bad news, guys: no neat little bow, just the hard truth from an honest lady.
It’s safe to say that it its fairly miserable over here. We have had a few winter storms in the past few weeks, causing there to be an overwhelming abundance of snow, but now the temperature is hovering above freezing and pouring rain, causing the world to be filled with slush and puddles galore. My tendency when this weather persists is to growl at everyone and hole up, searching for something to take my mind off of the persistent cold and lack of sunshine. I’m trying to be better, trying to find small joys throughout the grey days. Especially with a small person who is at the age where she will mimic what I am doing and sometimes what I am saying. She may be small and young, but she is so curious and observant, and I just know she is soaking everything in and will regurgitate it when we least expect it.
And her heart is just so, so sweet. She is curious and empathetic, and clearly becomes concerned when something is awry. Even if I just need some extra lovin’, she can detect it and will flash a toothy grin or attack me with a snuggle. Today, after a full afternoon of swimming at the pool then running a couple errands, I picked her up to take her into the bedroom for her nap. She promptly grabbed my face with both of her hands, and gave me several big kisses on my chin, then came in closer for a big, squeezing hug, slightly patting my back with her hand. Um . . . ! My mama heart just about exploded. We then proceeded to go into the bedroom to nurse for a few minutes before her nap, then I usually have to lie down next to her while she is still awake and sing to her, making sure she doesn’t try to stand up and just play. But this time, after I nursed her and carried her to the crib, her head snuggled into my shoulder, clearly tired. I gently laid her down, expecting her to start whining and waking, but she just laid down, snuggled into the mattress, and fell asleep. I quietly backed out of the room, shut the door, then started to tear up. I mean, this is what we’ve been working towards, her being able to just settle in and fall asleep, but I just didn’t know when it would start. This may have been a fluke, but I know we are moving in that direction, the direction of her growing and learning and becoming more independent. I am so proud of her. This has been such a big step in the way we sleep and our daily routine, and she has shown how strong and capable she is. I can’t help but type this with tears running down my face because I am acutely aware that she is, indeed, growing up. She is still a baby, but becoming a little girl, who will grown into a strong, fierce, gentle woman who will without a doubt change the world and everyone she meets. It is such an overwhelming responsibility to raise her in this crazy world, but more than anything, it is an honour and a privilege.
Happy January! We had our first Christmas as a family of three and it was so much fun! Mabel took things very seriously, but she really did enjoy herself! She loved the little rocking lamb we got her (ok, its actually a bunny, but c’mon! It looks like a lamb with floppy ears, so we’re going with lamb.), even though it sings “You Are My Sunshine” in a semi-creepy tone! We just won’t press that button that often, even though Mabel likes it! We had our Christmas Eve service, then late dinner of tourtière at the in-laws house. Back home for some sleep, then Christmas morning we woke up to open a couple of Mabel’s first presents! The lamb from us, and some blocks from Gramma & Grandpoppa in Missouri (my parents). We stayed in our pjs, packed everything else into the car, and headed up the hill to the in-laws to open the rest of the presents and have brunch. It was a peaceful day filled with family, and it was amazing! Now I will bombard you with cute baby pictures. 🙂
This picture is from our family photo shoot on Christmas Eve morning- I cant get over how cute these two are. They have my heart!
I got to lead worship for our Christmas Eve service-so fun!
Christmas morning . . .
Clearly, she was over presents an needed a nap asap! haha
If you stayed until the end, bless you. And I hope your Christmas was great!