Meet Millie

I haven’t updated the blog since May, but I promise I have a good excuse!

Blog, meet Millie.

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(Bella Baby Photography)

 

Amelia Ann was born on Friday, June 28th at 1:47 pm, only three days past her due date. After a relatively easy labor and delivery, she arrived weighing 7 pounds 8 ounces, and measuring 20 inches. We were surprised by how big she was, considering her big sister (who was also overdue) weighed only 6 pounds 6 ounces. But what surprised us even more than her weight was her head full of black hair.

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Piper was very excited to meet her sister, and even though she had gotten up at 4:30 that morning and then skipped her nap, she was very sweet. I had taken her to most of my prenatal checkups, and after seeing the doctor listen to Millie’s heartbeat, she would practice putting her toy stethoscope on my belly to check on Millie. So the first thing she did when JD brought her into the delivery room was borrow a stethoscope from a nurse to listen to Millie’s heart. It was so sweet and funny, and I wish I had a video of it!

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(Bella Baby Photography)

 

Millie is pretty vocal, and is a lot noisier than I remember Piper being. She can scream like a banshee, but more often grunts and grunts and grunts until she is gets her way. She doesn’t cry excessively, but she makes lots of noises and little sounds. Lately she has been cooing, laughing, and squealing. Piper will say, “Millie’s making noise!” like it’s the most amazing thing in the world.

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At her two-week checkup, Millie’s doctor asked, “What are you feeding her, fertilizer?” And I really don’t think she could grow any faster if I was! She is in the 90th percentile for both height and weight, and has grown so very fast. While Piper was always petite, Millie is a chunk. She has wonderful rolls and several chins, making her so squishy and fun to hold. Dressing her is challenging, however, as she grows out of her clothes as fast as I can put them on her!

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Overall, Millie is an easy baby. While it used to take Piper 30 minutes to nurse, Millie is done (and full) in 5. And Piper never liked the swing, but Millie loves it and naps in it several times a day. I knew Millie would be different than Piper, but I just couldn’t imagine how. Now, I often think that she is trying to prove just how different she is from her sister.

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(Britt Farris Photography)

My big sweet girl is three months old now, and the time is flying by. She is a joy and an answer to prayer, and our little family is so blessed to have her.

A Mother’s Day Confession

Yesterday as I told my mom, “Happy Mother’s Day,” she said, “You’re the one in the trenches of motherhood right now!” And you know what? I am. I am deep in the trenches of motherhood. I have a two-year-old daughter and I’m 33 1/2 weeks pregnant. Temper tantrums and meltdowns? I deal with those. Scraped knees and bumped heads? Check. Third trimester insomnia and exhaustion? Yep. Heartburn and an achy back? You bet. And while this may not be the easiest stage of motherhood, it is so blessed. Sloppy kisses and spontaneous hugs? I get those. Giggles and little girl squeals? Constantly. Baby kicks and nudges? Happening right now.

What do I, from my post deep in the trenches of motherhood, need to hear to be encouraged this Mother’s Day? I’ll tell you what I don’t need to hear. I don’t need to hear a to-do-list in the form of a sermon based on the Proverbs 31 woman. I don’t need to hear about perfect mothers who never make mistakes. I don’t need to hear about those saintly women who never lose their cool. I definitely don’t need to hear about moms who have it all together all the time. I don’t need to hear perfect. I need to hear real.

So many times we moms hide the mess, sweep it under the rug, and present a “perfect” face to the world. Social media seems to exaggerate this — I mean, who instagrams their sink full of dirty dishes? Or their filthy toddlers wearing mismatched clothes? Who tweets about their parenting failures? Or posts a Facebook status about their fight with their husband? We try to present our “perfect” families to the world, but all the while feel guilty that our real life doesn’t match the perfection our friends are presenting. Comparing our behind-the-scenes, un-aired footage with others’ highlight reels leaves us feeling inadequate and guilty.

So here is my confession this Mother’s Day: I don’t have it all together. Not in the least. My sink is almost always full of dirty dishes. I never catch up on laundry. (Sometimes I even forget a load of clothes in the washing machine only to find it wet and smelly a few days later.) I definitely don’t mop my floors often enough, and I only dust before my weekly piano lessons so my students’ parents don’t judge me. My bed doesn’t get made up every day, and my sheets don’t get changed every week. The inside of my car is filled with discarded toys, empty cups, and lots of crumbs. I sometimes find smelly milk cups under the couch or in the toy box. I occasionally let Piper eat popcorn for breakfast. She doesn’t eat many vegetables, but she gets a popsicle almost every day. If she’s not cooperating when we’re out shopping, I bribe her with a sucker. Sometimes I overreact to something she does and make her cry. I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing when I discipline my child. In our battle of wills, she often wins. I don’t bathe her every single day. She gets away with more than I should probably let her. I allow my two-year-old to watch TV (maybe more than I should.) I haven’t made sensory bins or busy bags for her to play with, and I don’t plan to. Her baby book is still unfinished, and I never did get around to mailing out her birth announcements. Instead of boutique and handmade outfits, I dress my daughter in clearance rack and consignment sale clothes. I love to cook, but I’m lazy and don’t put much effort into it. I get excited for summer so that JD can grill and I don’t have to cook as often. I cook with real butter and sugar, and don’t care about the calories. I don’t buy organic apples. I eat dessert at least once a day (often twice). I don’t enjoy exercising, so I don’t do it often enough. I feed my unborn child sugar, french fries, and the occasional caffeinated drink. There are unfinished sewing and craft projects in almost every room of my house. My closets and bathroom cabinets are a mess. Most days (at least lately), I take a nap during Piper’s nap time instead of getting my house work done. I spend too much time on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, where I see the “perfect” lives others are presenting to the world and start to feel guilty about the mess I live in.

Whew. How’s that for real? And trust me, I could go on for days.

But despite my mess, my failures, and my short-comings, I know I’m still a good mom. I always have time to cuddle. I stop what I’m doing to read a book or play a game with Piper. She is happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. My husband and I have a great relationship and enjoy spending time together. Somehow we’ll manage to add a newborn to the mess and chaos in a few short weeks, and we’ll make it. It won’t be perfect, but it will be blessed. Because it’s here in the middle of dirty dishes, temper tantrums, and morning sickness that God speaks to me. He teaches me about his patient love and forgiveness as I patiently clean up yet another spilled drink. I learn to rely on His strength when I’m exhausted and at the end of my rope. I realize the depth of the grace He has shown me as I try to show grace to my toddler. Motherhood is sanctifying me, and while I’m far from perfect, God is molding me to be more like Him little by little and day by day.

This Mother’s Day, let’s stop pretending to have it all together and admit that motherhood here in the trenches is hard and messy. Instead of seeking encouragement in Hallmark cards and empty platitudes, let’s find encouragement in the real-life messes and successes around us. It sure is freeing to admit that I’m not perfect and don’t have it all together, and I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not. Won’t you join me in celebrating the real and shunning the “perfect” this Mother’s Day?

Ode to Tums

You’d think I would know better; you’d think that I would learn.

I just can’t eat some dishes without feeling the burn.

Lasagna, how I love you; and pizza, you’re my fave.

It’s spicy or Italian food or garlic that I crave.

I love my chips and salsa, and feel I need the heat

of hot sauce or Tabasco almost every time I eat.

What’s salad without dressing, and that sweet, sour bite

Of vinaigrette, balsamic, or Italian that I like?

These foods don’t go down easy, and they put up a fight,

Making me sick at bedtime; keeping me up all night.

It starts with a full tummy, and then a little burp,

Next thing you know I’m belching, and re-tasting my dessert!

It’s not ladylike, I know; but it just can’t be helped!

This baby in my belly makes herself known with a belch.

A glass of milk may be helpful; home remedies I’ve tried:

Pickle juice and papaya can’t keep the burps inside.

‘Cause when I’m really struggling with bad acid reflux,

Milk just isn’t strong enough, all the home remedies suck.

In that moment I turn to a tried and tested source,

of relief (and calcium – it’s good for you, of course!)

I reach for the blue bottle, and when I hear the sound,

Of rattling pills I know that relief will soon be found.

Oh, Tums, I dearly love thee! Now let me count the ways,

You help me out and soothe me, and get me through hard days.

Sometimes I just need two pills, and sometimes I need four;

Many days the heartburn keeps me coming back for more.

Peanut butter sandwiches no longer pose a threat,

With Tums fighting off reflux, the challenge can be met.

I take them after dinner, and often before bed,

No longer am I tasting burps – it’s chalky Tums instead!

With a bottle in my purse, and one beside my bed,

I no longer have to fear the food that lies ahead.

So bring on the spaghetti! Please, someone pass the wings.

With joy I read the menu, and eat my favorite things.

So whether you are pregnant, or just have bad heartburn,

Please take this advice from me; heed the lesson that I’ve learned.

Indigestion can be cured, acid reflux can be fixed.

Go buy yourself some Tums – they always do the trick!

A letter to Baby #2

Dear Baby,

Your mommy, daddy, and big sister are so excited to meet you. We love you tremendously already. You, sweet little one, are an answer to prayer. (Many, many prayers!) We can’t wait to add you to our little family.

Well, I take that back. We CAN wait. You see, Baby, God is already teaching us and sanctifying us through you! And one of the things He’s teaching us is to wait. We waited months for the news that you were on your way, and it was hard. Every time I realized we had to wait another month, I grieved. I grieved for a potential baby that was lost. I grieved for the time that was lost. I grieved (more selfishly) because I wanted something and I didn’t get my way. I know many families wait and grieve like this for months and years, but I’ve learned that it’s hard whether it’s a month or a decade. God had a plan for our family, and His timing was specific. While we were waiting, He was teaching us to trust Him and rely on His plan. God didn’t want to just give us a baby; He had a specific baby for us. This specific baby required specific genetic material, and any different timing would have resulted in a totally different baby! God had us waiting for you, Baby, and you’re absolutely worth the wait.

The waiting wasn’t over, however, with a positive pregnancy test. Oh no, the waiting had just begun! We had to wait for the first doctor’s visit, the first ultrasound, hearing the heartbeat for the fist time, and finally feeling you move. We’re still waiting to find out whether you’re a boy or a girl, and we have months to wait before we can meet you. But I’m learning to enjoy the waiting. Instead of being impatient and looking forward to the next milestone, I’m trying to enjoy the here and now. I’ve loved every minute of being pregnant, and I want to enjoy it without rushing through to the end. I know now, as a second-time mom, that it all goes WAY TOO FAST! If I rushed impatiently through this pregnancy, I would also be rushing through your sister’s toddler phase. While I may be anxious to have you in my arms, I am in no hurry for her to grow up. So we’re taking things slowly, enjoying milestones as they come, and focusing on the present instead of keeping our sights set on a due date.

Waiting patiently is a valuable lesson, but it’s not the only thing God has taught me in the last few months. I’ve been learning to trust His sovereignty more and worry less. I’m not a worrier by nature, but motherhood has changed that! I never spent too much time meditating on Jesus’ teachings about worry, because I needed His help with other sins more. But lately He’s shown me that I do harbor worry in my heart instead of trusting Him. When I was expecting your sister, I didn’t have as many concerns and anxieties as I do now. Now, several years later, I know much more about miscarriage and infertility. I have close friends who have experienced loss. I’ve read more about pregnancy and potential complications. And this increased knowledge has increased my worry. It doesn’t help that my children (I’m talking to you, baby!) like to scare me senseless. At twelve weeks, both you and your sister hid from the doctor so she couldn’t find your heartbeat. Do you know how long the walk to the ultrasound room is when you’re not sure if your baby’s heart is still beating? Do you know how long it seems to take for the ultrasound tech to get everything ready? Do you know what a relief it is to finally hear that heartbeat? No, I guess you don’t, or you wouldn’t have put your mother through that! At least those long minutes leave plenty of time for prayer. It’s not easy to choose trust over worry, Baby, but God is teaching and I’m learning. And you’re helping with that process, for which I’m grateful to you.

Baby, we are praying for you. We’re praying that you will grow strong and healthy. We’re praying for your character, and that you will value honesty, kindness, integrity, patience, diligence, and perseverance. But, Baby, most of all we’re praying for your heart. You see, in our family, Jesus is most important. We’re praying that you would grow up knowing and loving Jesus, and that you would trust Him as your Savior at an early age. Baby, we want you to have a heart that above all else loves and treasures Jesus. We pray that you would grow up to care about God’s kingdom and His mission. We want you to live your life for Jesus, and not only for yourself. Baby, God has you in his hands and He has an amazing purpose for your life. Follow Him. Love Him. Serve Him.

Your parents are so thankful for you, and the blessing you have been to our family already. We love you and we’re so excited that God chose us to be your parents. In only a few short months your mommy and daddy (and sister, and grandparents, and aunts, etc!) will get to hold you in our arms and kiss your cheeks. Until then, grow strong; and thank you for teaching us and drawing us closer to our Father.