My blog has been a little silent recently, but I have a really great 7-pound-11-ounce reason, you guys! On the 4th of July our daughter Joie Flannery made her debut. It took me a long time to write and have the nerve to publish Rowan’s birth story from 2+ years ago, but — as I said then and even know to be truer now -- reading birth stories while pregnant was really helpful for me personally. So sharing this topic is important to me.
Birth is a CRAZY thing, y’all. It’s insane how it can even be possible and how *differently* it happens with each mother and each baby. I expected things to go similarly (or at least partially the same) as Rowan’s birth, so I was really surprised with how unique it was.
And cue the DISCLAIMER: This is a natural birth story that went the way I was hoping… which is not how all births go. I hope this journal is encouraging for anyone fearing birth or wanting a natural birth to know that sometimes it CAN go just as you plan and hope. I also don’t like for people to call me a hero-mom for having a natural birth… All moms are heroes for undergoing the most life-altering experience that exists. Those who endure complications should get way more props than me. I’m a proponent of being patient and trusting God with your birth — and then (when 100% necessary) welcoming the help from modern medicine when it’s needed.
This past weekend, my sisters-in-law threw me a baby "sprinkle" that -- as I mentioned in my last baby sprinkle post -- is pretty hard for people to actually do when a new baby is involved. It was probably more accurate to say we got drenched and showered with baby girl goodies.
They reserved Studio Bham which is such a great spot to have a bridal or baby shower. It's just the right intimate size while also being open and having all the set up items you need. I'm always a big fan of how events turn out there.
The "baby in bloom" theme was right up my alley and perfect for spring .. lots of flowers (wrist corsage by Gold Leaf Floral), greenery, potted succulents for game prizes + herb and flower seeds for favors.
If you're wondering why my blog has been a little quiet the past month or two... I've got some pretty good excuses like morning sickness, sleepiness, and extreme irritability! Ha! We are finally about to start our home addition (after months and months), and it will literally come *just* in time for our other addition that's on the way -- due July 1, 2017.
That pea of an ultrasound is a few months old, so I'm really looking forward to our half-way ultrasound in a few weeks. Right before Christmas, we got the call about healthy chromosomes + the baby's gender, so we had an exciting Christmas day surprising our families.
Today I sit here baffled by the fact that I'm about to have a two year old. Around this time two years ago, I was having not just one but THREE amazing baby showers from the end of August to the beginning of September. Mainly that was due to having giant families... but still! Yesterday I stumbled across these gorgeous pictures taken by the endlessly talented Morgan Trinker -- photographer, expert home-remodeler, and (as you can see) President of Flawless Parties.
So I just read a NY Times article about how much unhappier American parents are compared to parents in other countries... pretty sad, right? Oh, "Land of the Free", why do you have to be so restricting sometimes? August is National Breastfeeding Month, and I've been thinking a lot about the vast differences between all the mothers in the world and in our country. What we do have in common is the lack of paid maternity leave, restrictive hospital practices during birth, and the idea that all women must be and do all things.
But isn't it insane that a common life experience sometimes couldn't be ANY more different if you compared two different kids or parents?
...those couples that struggle to get pregnant vs. those who have a surprise pregnancy, stressful breastfeeding journeys vs. those who find it easy, families with relational conflicts vs. those with financial troubles... It's a wonder anyone can relate to each other in adulthood with how differentiated our lives can become.
Remember how clueless you were before experiencing college, or marriage, or your own pregnancy? Well guess what? Your experience in those topics have only gained you knowledge about your own life and a GENERAL knowledge to relate to others in similar life stages. But the fact of the matter is that we are still mostly clueless to each other's lives, and we have no idea what it's like to be married to their spouse, have their job, or parent their children... and etc. and etc. and etc... AAAAAND soap box over! Isn't it mind-blowing though? Well, it is to me anyway.
And it truly explains why so many mothers have a hard time understanding their friends... and how you feel so much loneliness and isolation when your experience isn't matching up with others in a group. It's all common sense that everyone's life is different, but for some reason in parenthood we feel like we are all in this thing now, and we are all supposed to "get" each other. Again, maybe it's just me.
This month marks 22 months of my "extended" breastfeeding journey, and let me just say that I don't have a whole lot of people in that club with me. haha!
I'm sure that nearly every mother -- no matter what their journey of feeding their baby may be -- feels shame in one form or another. So I thought I'd share some of my moments of shame heaped on (unintentionally and intentionally) by others and our American society. Maybe they will help someone...
So you are trying to simply walk out of the door and make it to the car with your kid. It's just a morning outing and somehow you're holding TWO different bags and a juice cup as you stuff a stray extra diaper in the backpack shaped like a (insert: fox, owl, ladybug, giraffe, monkey, etc.) with your non-phone/juice holding hand and grab your keys - whoops! dropped the phone!... [insert crazy-face emoji here]... If that description sounded very normal to you, then the title of this post probably sounds hilarious. It's hard to imagine EVER packing all you could need for an entire trip with a kiddo in one or two bags, but I'm here to testify... you can!
Obviously no destination is created equal, but this is how we tried to pack as smart and light *BUT AS PREPARED* as possible for our Oregon roadtrip.
Today is National Donut Day... which made me think of this incredibly fun baby shower (or "baby sprinkle") that we had the privilege of throwing this spring. One of the main reasons I love events is because each one is tailored specifically to the honored guest, and celebrating what makes that person unique is a really fun experience to me.
One thing that the honored mama, Kelly, loves is donuts! Now this was also supposed to be a baby "sprinkle" since it was for baby girl numero dos, until all the ladies got a little carried away with all the baby things... But besides that, we were going for a "sprinkle" which made the color palette of a sprinkled donut an easy choice. Also, Kelly chose a gorgeous floral print from Little Unicorn for the nursery so we wanted to incorporate that, too!
A week ago, we took Rowan to Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve on his first official hike. I suppose I'm still trying to play catch up on my 2015 goal of "doing things in Birmingham we never have," and Ruffner was on that list.
It was a perfect 55 degree February day, and the trails are extremely accessible. No need to stop in deserted rural areas asking the folks at the gas station where a trailhead is as you scour your iPhone maps and get half-hearted advice... "The what? Oh, yeah just turn left and head up the road a ways." GREAT. THANKS.
We parked and checked out the facilities at the Visitor Center, and then set out on the Quarry Trail. This was just over a mile and then it branched off to the Overlook trail, which is less than a half a mile more.
If Rowan hadn't been lulled to sleep in the backpack carrier, then it would've been a very relaxing, easy trek. Unfortunately he was flopping all around while snoozing pretty hard, so Zack had to carry him like a sack of potatoes for a good portion as we tried to wake him up. It wasn't even nap time! Sheesh! That's just how peaceful it was.
When I would picture having kids, I thought I would have zero desire to ever do the whole Santa Christmas photo shebang. But then you really have one, and you want them to do ALL THE THINGS! Last year at Christmas, Rowan was just a wee thing, so this year was his first Santa experience.