Sunday, December 7, 2014

Lovely Tummies

Throughout each of my pregnancies, the size of my tummy seems to be intriguing to folks.  I understand; I tend to protrude.  To be honest, I do love the attention that comes with pregnancy (rub away, tummy rubbers) and sometimes talking about my baby-girth will come as part of that attention.

As many of you know, we recently moved to the East side of Michigan.  This means that our new friends are seeing me pregnant for the first time.  Since there are multiple folks who can't believe that I had a bigger belly while pregnant with Ramona (pregnancy #2), I thought I'd post pics of all three pregnancies.  

Notable to me (since we don't know the gender yet) is how much this pregnancy resembles the shape of my pregnancy with Miles (#1).  See what you think.  All three photos are from week 38.5...

August, 2008

November, 2010

December, 2014

I will truly miss my belly; however...

This year, my personal season of advent has been magnified and made even more special by overlapping with our Christian advent season.  How real it is to long; come Lord Jesus!

Rest up, little one, and we will see you soon:)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Mother's Day.  Today is a day of mixed emotions.  And by that I mean mixed emotions within myself, and mixed emotions among those around me.  For those who have been able to decide if/when they want to have their family, and can plan everything from the number of children they want down to the best seasons for having those babies, the emotions might be different compared to those who have struggled to get pregnant, lost a child or lost contact with a child (abortion, "giving up a child" through adoption, severed relationships, stolen children, death of a child).  And if you have children, whether planned or not, biological or not, you have varying degrees of satisfaction and delight.  Sometimes varying by the hour.  Even as adults celebrating our own moms, stand-in-moms, surrogate moms, moms-in-law, and people who have acted as moms in our lives, we of course aren't celebrating perfection.

I don't say that to be crass, or melancholy, or to provide shock value.  I also shrug (picture the raised shoulders along with one side of the mouth extended to the side and raised eyebrows.  You know, the look that says, "you'll have that"), because I am not avoiding any of the above either.  I say it because the true beauty of Mother's Day, in my opinion, might be lost if we don't first say these things.

An SNL sketch from last night prompted me to write about this.  Although this is hilarious, I don't suggest watching it with kids in the room:

So if the beauty of Mother's Day isn't found in the ideal (cough*hallmark*cough), then how do we celebrate with true joy?

Where's the beauty when my son, whom we're discovering has some fairly exhausting sensory needs (I hear they're exhausting for him too), is having a blaring meltdown on the morning I should be able to sleep in?

Where's the beauty when I'm eating breakfast in bed (thanks, babe!), and I glance up in the closet and lock eyes on a box I haven't given much thought to since last Mother's Day, a box containing the positive pee stick, ultrasound, blankie, name plate, burial service program, and the silk rose from that service, in honor of our lost baby?

Where's the beauty when I'm talking on the phone with my mom and can't stop thinking about that last conversation I had with her where I hurt her feelings and although I've apologized I know we're both still thinking about?

Where's the beauty when you feel the twinge of cramps after having thought there was a slight chance that God was deciding to grow your family once more?

Where's the beauty when we drive past homes on our street and our hearts hurt as we remember the woman who's mom recently passed, the woman who is celebrating her first Mother's Day as a widow, the family who just moved in and doesn't seem to have any visitors today, the grumpy old man whom it would be hard to imagine has many edifying relationships, or the teenage girl whose birth mom gave her up and might never be able to tell her why?

I have over-emphasized the ugly here to make a point.

Yes, there were moments of beauty throughout today.  I got some pretty great monster squeezes (calling them hugs makes them uncool I guess), I got to eat chocolate-cake-batter ice cream, I was told that I'm "the best" mom, I got breakfast in breakfast...while watching cartoons...with all four of us eating on top of beach towels, and I am also mindful of the daily blessings that I take for granted all too often.  Beauty, yes.

But, let's be honest, striving for ideal beauty - as depicted by Hallmark or 1-800-Flowers, by the fancy dresses or fancy lunches that we use to make the day special, or even by the strategically chosen pictures and stories posted unassumingly on social media that weave an unreal tapestry of beautiful-only-moments - this ideal and striving for it only makes us feel empty.  Or if we're lucky, we might experience a cloud nine emotion, but it will be painfully temporary.  The awesome tear-inducing monster squeeze was somehow reciprocated by me in some imperfect way and causes meltdown number seven for the day.  I sit down after the kids are in bed and somehow my gut knows, without even becoming a conscious thought, that although today was great, I'm definitely not a perfect mom and possibly not even "the best" mom.

Yet I am joy-full.  I am full of joy because when I am truly honest with myself, beauty is not found in the absence of struggle, it is actually found in the midst of struggle.  In response to struggle.  In those moments after the struggle.  The moments where I thank God that although there is no perfection on this side of glory, HE has SOME PURPOSE (as twisted as it might seem on some days) for the day-to-day.  There is beauty in the fact that although I said hurtful things to my mom, she continues to love me and work on our relationship with me.  There is beauty in the fact that my son is discovering that we will love him and love him and love him (not a typo), in the midst of his nervous system glitches.  There is beauty in the resilience and strength that I've developed through the ups and downs of my and my friends' various fertility stages.  There is beauty in the wrinkles of those older - much, much older than me - living on our block or not, whose wrinkles have been etched by smiles and dampened with many tears over the years because tears mean that there is care ("The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference" -Elie Wiesel).

There is beauty in the process.  Learning.  Loving.  Caring.  I guess that would be my Hallmark card.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Year in Pictures

From tummy to toddling: the last 12 months

(don't mind the man on the left of the picture:) This is a split-photo from my cousin's wedding)

Well, it's official. Our little girl is growing up. Goodbye little baby who is content to be in mom's arms and cuddle like crazy. Goodbye little RagedyAnn who hates to use her legs. HELLO little girl who is pulling herself up (as of yesterday), who stands at her little piano toy for super long amounts of time, who is wanting off any lap in order to practice walking, who army-crawls across any room, and who .... are you ready... was SITTING UP in bed when Daddy went to get her up this morning (only the second time we've seen her sit up on her own from being on her back/belly).

She was slow to warm up to the idea of using many muscles, but now she's making up for lost time!

Ramona, we LOVE watching you grow up!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Too Far Away!

While I was in the shower this morning, Miles was in and out of the bathroom and his bedroom as usual. When I got out of the shower, I could not find my glasses. Uh oh. I couldn't remember if I had pushed them back far enough on the bathroom counter that Miles could not reach them. I called for Miles and asked him if he knew where my glasses were. He said "Too far away". I asked where he had put them, and as we proceeded to search every room together, he just kept saying, "Too far away!". Finally, I asked him to point to where the glasses were. Unfortunately he walked over to the laundry shoot and pointed inside. He said, "Too far away. Can't reach". I ran downstairs to check the laundry shoot door. Sure enough.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fun Times

Miles finally dared to romp around in the snow (as opposed to just sitting in it:))

We've discovered that Ramona likes to sing! Here she got a little shy once I took out the camera, but usually she starts signing when we start, and stops singing when we stop. I'm biased, but I think her voice is just beautiful. Maybe she'll follow in her Auntie Laura's footsteps:)

Miles is getting excited that his little sister is interacting more and more. He's noticed that she'll hold on to things now, and here he is trying to get her to play with a specific toy. He's so patient with her!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Picture Perfect

Yeah! I found the time tonight to be able to post some pics! They take us from the day before Ramona was born until yesterday.

Lovin' the leaves...

She didn't cry at all, so they sucked a bunch of fluid out of her lungs...but she still just didn't want to cry. Seriously, not one peep, for the first few hours!

Getting ready to leave the hospital.

I wanted to document my tummy size the day we left the hospital;0

What a fun surprise to come home to!

Miles was coloring with scented markers...and ended up with a mustache of proof that he had smelled each one:)

When we first got this new baby for Miles, he named it "Baby New". Now that Ramona is home, his baby is now "Baby Mona". I promise he's usually more creative:)

She's quite a momma's girl. At this point as a newborn, Miles was already showing signs of needing "down time" w/o being held, and also was happy in almost anyone's arms. Ramona, on the other hand, hates down time, and is already partial to who is holding her.

This cute little face brings me SO much joy!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ramona Street and Miles' Way

Many have asked how we came up with the name Ramona Jean. Well, Ramona is actually named after a street:) When Matt and I were seniors in college, we lived in houses that were about a mile or two away from each other (Giddings and Fuller, for those of you who know GR). Between the two houses, a route which we traversed quite often (!), we crossed a street called "Ramona Street". We loved the name so much then, and said that if we ever had a baby girl that we'd name her Ramona! Our love for the name never left, and we are blessed to now have the opportunity to use the name:) The middle name Jean comes from our two moms, who both share the middle name Jean. Matts mom got her middle name from her Mom, whose middle name is Jean; my mom's middle name is derived from her own Mom's name, Jeanette... so both Great Grandmas are tied into the name Jean as well.

For those of you who have spent time with 2 yr. olds, you probably already figured out the other half of the title:) Starting before Ramona was born, Miles has been sharing his strong opinion of how we can do things better...aka "Miles' way". Usually this just means Miles doing things himself. On the days that I have my normal amount of patience present, it is kind of endearing, and simply a reminder of how much he really is growing up and desiring independence. He is such a big boy! And such a great big brother to Ramona. Here is a video that Matt caught where Miles pulled up a chair and decided to hold Ramonas hand...ignore the brief shot of me (it was the morning after we got home from the hospital and I was trying to figure out how to set up the breast pump:))...If you are wondering why Miles is making weird noises, it is him copying Ramonas hiccups.

Miles has a lot of energy stored from all of the new excitement, and from not having gone outside for a while. We've come up with a lot of creative ways to keep him entertained and keeping busy. Here is a fun video of a game that Matt and Miles like to play...

I'll do another post with some more recent pictures...