Monday, July 8, 2013

first friend

Abigail made her first friend today.

Wait,you're thinking, She's 2 1/2 years old and still has no friends?

First off, Abby is not in daycare. Aside from the occasional extended family get-togethers when she can see my cousins' kids, she really doesn't see other children too often. Sure, she's had acquaintances. There's Standish, the boy who lived in the next apartment at our old house (ok, he was more than an acquaintance to her, but she was just a baby then). There's Tucker and Kayleigh, who were born to co-workers of mine at the same time I had Abby (but again, they were babies). And there's Amelia and Memphis, the adorable kindergarten-age kids who live on Prudence Island. But as of yet, we don't know them very well.

Enter Reid, the Boy Next Door.

Reid is the grandson of our landlords. He is six, has bleach blond hair, and huge crystal blue eyes. I had heard about him when we moved here almost a year ago, but up til now I'd only glimpsed his figure as he zipped around the property on a go-cart with his dad.

The other night, we were enjoying a smorgasbord of steak, lobster and other shellfish on our patio with my aunt and uncle when Reid and his father appeared in the yard to park the family tractor in the barn, which faces our house. Abby was captivated by the sight of this small person on top of such a large vehicle, and kept asking us to go say hi. But it was Reid and his dad who walked over after locking the barn and introduced themselves.

I can't even put to words the magic of what happened next, but I'll try. Abby and Reid hit it off right away, and considering the obvious age and gender differences, it was incredibly entertaining to watch. This little boy was like no other I'd ever met. He was so calm, gentle, sweet, and caring. He didn't just listen to everything Abby said (and she had a lot to say), he bent down to her level so he didn't miss a single word. And for nearly an hour (or more? The five of us lost track of time in our amazement), the two of them kicked the soccer ball around the yard, looked at the flowers, picked peas together, and chatted endlessly about things that only the birds and the bees were privy to. Abby showed Reid her earthworms. He pushed her around in her little car, walked with her, cautioned her not to trip. At one point, we all noticed Abby's diaper falling down (it was all she was wearing, and I'd feel bad for her except that she's kind of a wild girl and probably couldn't have cared less), so I walked over and whispered in her ear if she'd like me to fix it. She said yes. And as soon as I started, Reid turned his head and said, "Don't worry, I'm not looking."

This mama could have cried. This mama almost did. Seeing my little girl eagerly make her first friend with such fearlessness would have been enough for me. But to have that first friend be someone so kind and reciprocal turned the entire milestone into magic. We simply couldn't have wished for a more perfect experience for her. Gratitude filled my heart that night, as I know it did Jeremy's.

Before Reid and his dad headed home, Reid told Abby, "Remember my name, ok? Practice it tonight." And then he added, "I'll be by tomorrow with my hot rod."

And then this mama did cry.
Monday, July 1, 2013

happy 3 months

You are 3 months old today, Sadiebelle.

You are mama's girl, through and through. You look like me. You prefer to be held by me. And if you had it your way, I'd be holding you 24 hours a day. My arms would be sore, but let's be honest...I wish I could hold you that much.

You have lots of delicious baby fat. You have mastered the art of The Coo. You have also mastered yelling for attention, though we're still not sure if this is something you figured out on your own, or learned from your big sister. You love watching Daddy and Abigail play, and bouncing you on my legs makes you laugh almost every time, but aside from us you still don't seem particularly interested in the world around you. And that's perfectly fine with me.

Sometimes, when I'm nursing you, and I'm talking to someone else, I'll realize suddenly that I don't feel you nursing anymore and you're extra quiet. And I look down and there you are watching me, nipple barely resting on your lip, with a big smile on your face. I will never forget this simple expression of pure, sweet, unadulterated love, or the way it makes my heart swell.

Sadie, I love you. You fill up a space inside of me that I didn't even know was there. My princess, my little lady. Happy 3 months, baby girl. <3
Sunday, June 30, 2013

trust

If our deepest desire for our children is that they grow up without guilt from past wrongdoings, trusting that we'll provide for them today, and secure in knowing that they gave hope and a future...

How much deeper is that same desire that God our Father has for us?

Our children trust us, because they don't know any differently. They don't wake up each morning with worries about time or finances or stress. They just assume that everything will work itself out, as it always does. Children are experts at simply living and accepting love.

Our childhood days may be behind us, but our hearts and minds are still the same. It isn't always easy, but let's learn from our children and have faith in the next moment, hour, day, week, month and year.

Sometimes, having faith is literally all we can do. How awesome it is - how thankful I am! - that it's all God asks of us.
Friday, June 28, 2013

and we're rolling

It's officially been about six months since we've used our video camera. Six!!! There's a long, sad story behind it, which is really too painful to re-live at the moment (or ever), but the good news is that we're finally rolling again. And for this, I am so so so so so so SO thankful.

Lots of people my age, it seems, haven't jumped on the video-taping bandwagon. I'm not sure why. My impulse is to blame technology. Specifically, the ubiquitous smartphone. These super-advanced, multitasking cell phones (which for the average American might as well be considered another bodily organ) do it all now - phone calls, video calls, pictures, video clips, Internet, GPS...and on and on and on. It's literally a One Thing Does It All Tool. And being someone who appreciates organization and streamlining nearly to a fault, you would think I'd be a big fan of smartphones.

Well, I'm not the biggest fan. I do have an iPhone, and don't get me wrong, the convenience of its features is, well, convenient. But I think we've taken convenience a little too far in this day and age. I could write an entire (very lengthy) post about that, but I won't. I'll just say this: The main reason I've used my phone to take pictures or video in the past is because our camera and video camera were out of commission. Now that I have both instruments back in working order, I really don't use my phone anymore. I like to do things the old-fashioned way (not just in this regard, but with many things...again, there's a whole other post hiding behind that statement). I like to take pictures and then develop them, and sort them into an album and, you know, LOOK at them. I like to take video, lots of it, of my kids and our home and camping and autumn and rain, and then after a while go back and, you know, WATCH it all.

Crazy, I know.

Anywho, back to the present. I'm Beyond Description Sad that six months of our lives will be missing from our video collection (starting with the moment we sang "Happy Birthday" to Abigail when she turned 2...and ending with the first three months of Sadie's life...yep). But this is something that is out of our control and cannot be undone, no matter how much mourning goes on. And so we are trying our best to just be grateful for what we DO have, and move on in gladness.

Girls, get ready. Mama is going to be in your face ALL...THE...TIME.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013

the dream, part 1

It's been a while since I dreamed about something. Not like I'm dreaming of a white Christmas or I'm dreaming of that first beer after having this baby, but like...a big dream. The kind that scares you.

Jeremy and I both remember the first time we rolled up to 497. Actually, we drove past it. It was a late summer evening, the air smelled sweet, and we were early for our appointment with the landlords to tour the house. Carefully watching for the correct house number, we craned our necks as we slid right past it (it comes up quick, and is nearly hidden by a tall hedge), but I distinctly remember spotting the front of the house and yelling, "Oh my God...NO WAY!!"

The mossy gray/green paint. The original wood planked door. The stone steps. The trellis beside it crawling with wild roses. The classic cape lantern. It was already more than my antique house-adoring heart could stand. Clearly, we must have the wrong house.

But we didn't. It was the right house, and for nearly an hour (us being early turned into the landlords being late), Jeremy and I and Abigail, who was 18 months old, walked around the yard and dreamed. Dreamed about living in that perfect little house. Peeked in the windows. Walked around it again and again. Abby ran around the yard in her pajamas in such joy, which I think is what really made us want the house. There was a yard to run around in, period. Grass! Flowers! Air! A very happy little girl!

Then the landlords arrived, and we toured the house. I kid you not, it was like someone (now I know, it must have been God) had lifted the lid to my brain, eavesdropped on all my wishes in creating "the perfect home", and handed it all to me in one fell swoop. Wood floors...beam ceilings...lots of windows...a stone fireplace...two stories...just enough bedrooms. Was this for real? No, seriously.

It was for real, and we moved in a month later. We've been living in that "perfect" house for almost a year now, and every once in a while Jeremy and I will look at one another and say, "Remember that night? This place was purely magical."

We have to do that sometimes. Because back then, this house was a symbol. It represented a fresh start, a dream, a promise of good things. And I think we expected too much from it. Don't get me wrong, it has not disappointed us. But even though moving here has blessed us in so many ways, it is just a house. There is still sadness here, there is still hardship and exhaustion. And the blessings actually come from God, not the house.

Still.

We have to remember the magic, because it is there, every day. It's in the dew on the grass every morning and the nostalgic chirp of a hundred unseen crickets. It's in the wildflowers you didn't know existed until they bloom overnight. It's in all the little critters, the chipmunks, the bunnies, the mice that scurry about the yard, giving us small, quick glimpses of their otherwise secret lives. The magic is there, if we open our eyes to it. Abigail does, and it's the most delightful thing to watch. So often I look at her chasing the birds or blowing milkweed or crunching on the snow peas she just randomly picked from the garden, and I'll think to myself, "Wow...she gets it.". And that is what I dream about for my girls (along with other things): that they grow up slowly, and enjoy childhood as it was meant to be. That they are awakened to all the magic around them, and that they not lose it but take it with them into adulthood.

Life can be a fairy tale. I believe it was supposed to be that way. All we have to do is open our eyes and keep the dream alive.

Part Two coming up...
Monday, June 24, 2013

what i wish you knew

Dear Abigail Grace,

I know that being 2 1/2 is hard.

I know that being 2 1/2 is especially hard when you have a 3-month-old sister who is stealing a lot of the attention you used to get before she was born.

I know that after she was born, your entire world changed and would never be the same again.

I know that this change makes you cry sometimes. It makes me cry sometimes, too.

I know that you love your sister to pieces.

I know that when you hit her, it's not out of a desire to hurt her but out of frustration and an inability to express your feelings otherwise.

I don't know how best to handle the situation.

I know that I love you more than words can say, and that my greatest wish, my deepest hope, my most fervent prayer, is that my actions will say it instead.

Always, Mommy
Sunday, June 23, 2013

persistence in love

For my birthday this year, my mom gave me a little leather-bound book of devotionals titled Jesus Calling. That was nearly a month ago, and I hadn't made time for it until today. There are a lot of things I don't make time for these days...not things that I really feel badly about, just things that would certainly enrich my life, for sure. Like devotional reading (although this is the one thing, along with reading my Bible, that I do feel badly about. This will change.)

This morning I sat outside on the patio with a cup of coffee as Sadie slept and Abigail danced around the yard peeking in rain buckets and smelling the flowers, and I opened this sweet little book to today's devotional. Here is the gist of what it said:

Let my love stream through you, washing away fear and distrust. A trusting response includes Me in your thoughts as you consider strategies to deal with a situation. My continual Presence is a promise, guaranteeing that you never have to face anything alone...Gently bring your attention back to Me whenever it wanders away. I look for persistence - instead of perfection - in your walk with Me.

As I'm sure was God's incredible timing, this is exactly where my heart has been lately. In the persistence of love. Specifically with my girls, though truthfully in general I just want to be better at loving everyone. It's not that I don't love my kids - I'm not sure there even exists a word in all of creation that can fully describe the deep, all-encompassing love of a mother. Would agape love be appropriate? This is the word used to mean Christ's love for humankind. I suppose I can't compare my own love for my own children to that. But goodness, it must come pretty close.

We are not perfect. There lies the difference between our love as mothers, and God's love. He is perfect, His love is perfect. He never grows impatient with us, never loses His temper, never says things He doesn't mean. Why do we fall prey to these things? I say 'we' but I mean I. Why can't my love for my girls, which is so fathomless that simply looking at them makes me cry sometimes, be enough to make me a perfect mother? I can't count how many times I've thought back to the moment, the many moments, when Abby was a baby, and I would hold her and stare at her for hours, thinking, "My God. How could anyone get angry at this? How could anyone raise their voice?". So many people warned me that day would come, but my heart was in denial. I didn't want to imagine, couldn't imagine, being anything less than loving toward my child.

But it did happen. It does happen, still. And every single one of those times leaves me feeling cold, empty, and ashamed. I cry about it! What is wrong with me? I wonder. Where is my compassion? My patience? My grace? Where is that mother who held her newborn baby in her arms and whispered, "You will always be safe here, in my arms, forever"? Where is that safety now?

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. Raising kids is the toughest job I've ever had; there is simply nothing in the world that can be likened to parenthood. And there are many days when I'm not very good at it. But God's promise, which was shared in my devotional today, is that He isn't interested in perfection. Only persistence. The willingness to admit that we do fall short, to take a step back, trust in God, and try again.

And again, and again, and again.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Saturday, June 22, 2013

a sweet afternoon

It is the first day of summer, and life couldn't be more beautiful.

As I sit here on the couch, windows open, curtains softly blowing, sun shining, birds chirping, and sweet little sleeping baby in my arms...I feel so blessed. And so alive.

This moment right here is what life is all about. Jeremy and Abby are napping together upstairs, and I am snuggling the world's snuggliest baby girl and relishing every second of it. We had Sadie because I missed having a baby (ok, maybe partly because we wanted Abby to have a sibling.) I misses the smallness. I missed the smell, and boy does this girl deliver. I must bury my face in her neck eight hundred times a day to breathe in that smell. And, oh, her cheeks! They are like two giant pillows. Honestly, I go to kiss them and my lips just keep sinking...and sinking...and sinking. I'm in heaven.

This Spring was a bit of a whirlwind. We've been getting used to having two little people run our lives instead of just one...getting car problem after car problem fixed and paid for...going back to work...growing a garden...saying goodbye to my grandfather.

I don't know what this summer holds in store for us, but I get the feeling it's going to be a good one.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

life

Giant sigh.

I feel as though these days I have many things to say, and many things to think about, but not a spare moment to say them or think about them. Why does not being able to keep a consistent and thorough journal as I did several years ago bother me so much? Lots of people go their entire lives without ever recording a single day or memory, whether written or otherwise.

But that's not me. That's never been me.

I think memories are sacred and precious. While I'm not ready to share about it just yet, my grandfather died recently. I spoke at the funeral, and the main sentiment behind what I shared was that i didn't know my grandfather very well, and that it would always be one of my deepest regrets. At the wake, the part that brought tears to my eyes even quicker than seeing my grandfather's body, was seeing all the pictures of him in his younger years. Pictures of a man I didn't know, a real man with a real family and real feelings who lived a very full and interesting life. And the fact that I was a stranger to that man saddened me on a level that I was so unprepared for.

I don't want to be a stranger to my kids, or my grandkids, or even my great-grandkids. I may not be traveling the world, or going to college, or curing any cancer, or amassing any trophies. But I am living a full and interesting life - at least in the eyes of my new, late twenty-something self - and I am happy. And I want my kids to know it.

There are things I want them to understand. First off, I married a man who was different than me in many ways, but completes me. He challenges me, without even knowing it, to be better at everything I do. He is an incredible husband - truly, better than any husband I've imagined for myself in past years - and the most perfect father I could have wished for my children. I am a better wife, mother, friend and person because of him. We don't always agree on everything, but we talk a lot and have managed to avoid any and all fighting this way. We make each other laugh. We don't take life too seriously. In fact, we're pretty lazy about it. We like to play more than work, and we hope our children will do the same.

I have two daughters, both of whom are more beautiful, sweet and loving than I ever hoped or dreamed they would be. I am still shocked that I didn't end up with a house full of boys, but now I can't imagine it any other way. I don't know what the future will bring, but for now we are happy with two of the most amazing little girls the world has the offer. They bring us much joy, and are constantly teaching us what love is, and how to do it.

I make coffee for a living. This may change eventually, but both Jeremy and I strongly believe that we are not defined by our jobs. We are not defined by what we do, but by who we are. And who we are is a couple of parents wanting to be their for their children. We don't own a house or a new car and we have no desire to keep up with the Joneses. We have simply chosen to live with less so that we can love our children more. We want to be with them, reading them stories, snuggling them in bed, playing with them in nature, teaching them about the things that truly matter - not what society tells them should matter.

I have always loved writing. I believe in it. I won't necessarily make money doing it, but it makes me happy. And you should always try and do the things that make you happy, as often as possible.

I like blues and folk and classic rock and any combination of the three. I like to garden. I like drinking beer, especially at the beach, and would like to learn as much about beer as humanly possible. I like to paint, and collect sea glass, and take pictures and read memoirs. I like stone walls. I think praying is essential to breathing. And I think I have the best mother in the entire universe.

There is more, so much more...and I hope to keep on writing about it all. I hope to keep sharing about the joys amd sorrows of parenthood and the evolution of being a wife. I hope my daughters will read this someday and know that they are not alone. That I have always been here, I am here now, and I will be here always. Even if it's just for them.
Sunday, May 19, 2013

the short of it

Bulletpoints, because that seems to be all I'm capable of handling these days.

1. My grandfather is dying. I put this point first so it could be followed by good news. My grandfather has two months to live...can you imagine? No one should know when they're going to go. I'm not sure what to say here. Papa was a horrible father to his own children...from what I've heard he wasn't particularly great at being a husband either...and he's barely made an effort to get to know any of his grand kids. Except for Abby. For some reason, he is quite fond of her, and his only request these days seems to be that he wants to see her. So of course we indulge. In the years after Gram Mary died, he has actually become a much softer man, and it's enough to bring tears to your eyes when you see him and Abby together. And she just loves him right back. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle his death myself, let alone getting Abby through it while maintaining her innocence. As always, I pray for a miracle. But in the event that he must leave us, I pray that Abby will continue to be a source of joy for him. I pray that he is safe and comfortable. I pray that he finds peace in God and within himself. And I pray that these last two months are truly the best he's ever had.

2. Sadie is rolling over. Isn't it a little soon?! I couldn't believe that it happened today. I was actually taking a picture of her propping herself up on her arms and holding her head up...because I thought THAT was amazing...when suddenly she began teetering and just as I snapped the photo, she rolled over! At 7 weeks old. It's all happening too fast!! And of course I didn't get it on video. Which leads me to my next point...

3. No video camera. This is absolutely heartbreaking. For two years I was unknowingly recording all our video onto the internal memory and NOT onto our memory cards, and looooong story short, I haven't been able to record anything since January. Abby's birthday, to be precise, when we ran out of internal memory RIGHT before singing Happy Birthday to her. I want to cry every time I think about it, and then cry again when I remember we will also have NO video of Sadie's first two months of life. I say two, because we FINALLY found someone who is able to fix our situation for us...is fixing it right now actually. May this man be forever blessed, and may Sadie forgive us for allowing such a stupid mistake to happen. :(

4. I am writing again. Yeah, I know, this should be really exciting but isn't because I'm like the boy who cried wolf except I'm the Girl Who Cried Writer. I've been saying that someday I'll be a published author since I was, I dunno, a day old? And to this day...nada. But it's time. If only because I am so sick and tired of Nicholas Sparks monopolizing on both the literary and cinematic worlds. Somebody pull him off the stage!!! Okay, so I really just need some extra cash. Who the heck cares why I need to do this? I just do. And so...I'm writing again.

5. It's been 3 years. Yes, May 13th was our anniversary. Three years ago we gave up the notion that we'd have a wedding come summertime, found out we were pregnant, and on a sunny Thursday morning drove to the town hall and said our vows under the trees by Siders Pond. Then we went to The Landfall in Woods Hole and had lobster rolls and chowder. It was a perfectly understated day, and three years and teo beautiful little girls later, we are stronger than ever.

6. Prudence Island. Ah, where to begin? Soon I will write an entire page about this wonderful little place that has already brought so much peace, joy and blessing into our lives. I am so grateful that our girls will get to enjoy it for many years to come!
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

my spring baby

On April 1, 2013 we welcomed our beautiful, sweet Sadie Leona Brown into the world. And she has been stealing our hearts ever since.

Weighing 7lbs 10ozs and 20 inches long, this little girl must have somehow known that when she was conceived, I was hoping for an April baby. Because she was "due" March 27th, and all along I somewhat expected her to arrive early, not just because she's my second baby but because for so long she was so active in the womb (towards the end, I couldn't get her to move no matter how much I poked and jiggled my belly!). However, my little girl waited to be greeted by some true warm weather and came instead the day after Easter.

I realize I am writing...no, finishing...this post an entire month after Sadie's birth, and I'm not happy about it. Nearly every single day since then I intended to try and write something...but dear God have I been busy! This whole family of four business is much, much harder than it looks in the Disney brochures. I wouldn't even want to attempt describing what a normal day for us now looks like, if only to avoid scaring whoever's reading this out of having children (and we want more??!).

BUT.

There is so, so much love in this home. So much joy. And I honestly wouldn't trade our life for any other. Yes, things are a lot more challenging around here. What things, you might be asking. Pretty much everything. And I'm still trying (some days, I'll admit, not hard enough) to figure it all out...how to pee and shower and feed myself, keep the girls safe and fed and clothed and dry, make dinner, get outside, and make sure each of the girls is getting enough of my attention. That's what concerns me the most in all this. The splitting myself in two deal (three, if you consider my husband). I love that up until now I've been able to give Abigail all of me. She had all of my love and attention every single day, and now not only am I struggling to get one-on-one time with her and feeling guilty and sad about that, struggling to make sure Sadie has the same babyhood that Abby did. But she never will. And both of these truths bother me. To be honest, though I'm writing about it now, on a daily basis I force these thoughts from my head because otherwise they would drive me to tears!

But I'm trying. And hoping still that I'll get better at it.

Back to Sadie. Oh my, is she a sweetie. For the first couple weeks she just wanted to be held (remember back to our ultrasound, when we were already calling her Snuggly Sadie? That was so accurate!). I mean, I had to wake her up to eat, sometimes resorting to poking and prodding. All she did was sleep and snuggle! Now, she is much more alert when awake, and she's awake for longer periods of time. But she still sleeps a lot, and either way still wants to be held All The Time. Like, all...the...time. She is such a mama's girl (yay! Abby and I have a special bond, but she was always a Daddy's girl).

Just since yesterday, Sadie has started cooing. Oh, God, there is nothing that gets my heart melting like our babies' first "words." When they actually start focusing on your face, looking right into your eyes when you talk, their arms and legs wiggling in excitement...and they purposefully make a Noise. Noise, with a capital N, because it's not a cough or a sneeze or a hiccup or a cry but a real, honest effort to respond to you. It's to die for.

And Abby? She is amazing. She is blowing me away all the time with her maturity throughout this process. She loves, loves, LOVES her sister! She says so every day. And when she wakes up in the morning (in her big girl bed! Ack!) and I go and get her and bring her into bed with us and she smiles immediately at seeing Sadie and she touches Sadie's fingers and says, "Awww...look at her! She's so beautiful"...I am lost. Lost in love, lost in a big fat puddle of MUSH. How did we get so lucky with this girl?? The day may soon come, but so far she hasn't shown one bit of resentment towards Sadie. Just pure, sweet, simple, sisterly love.

So this is our life now. The four of us, figuring it out. Running behind, getting frustrated, learning slowly. But we're doing it together, and that's what gets you through. The togetherness.

Happy One Month, sweet Sadie! We love you. <3
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

in this final hour

Sweet Sadie,

In about one hour, your due date will be here. The last nine months have flown by, but towards the end time does seem to slow down significantly. We are all so eager to meet you! Abigail is very excited to be a big sister, and your daddy and I are looking forward to watching our family dynamics change with the addition of a second child.

It's hard not to assume that you will wait until April to be born, as your sister was nearly two weeks late to the day. But there is something really special about your due date, tomorrow, March 27, 2013.

It is a full moon. It's called the Full Worm Moon, but has also been known by other names:

Full Worm Moon – MarchAs the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter.- Farmers Almanac

Of course, no scientist will officially say that the cycles of the moon have any real effect on childbirth. But it has been proven by countless testimonies from women that there can be no doubt full moons have been known to bring on labor. And out of curiosity - especially because my labor with her seemed to come out of nowhere, and the timing of it never made sense - I did some research and discovered that Abigail was indeed born on a full moon - the Full Wolf Moon, January 19, 2011. Coincidence? I'm not so sure!

In either case, whether or not you are born tomorrow or not is not what's important (not that we're not hoping for it...because we totally are). What's important is that you know what a special time of year you are being born into. Spring, the bearer of new beginnings. Warmth. Light. Life. What's important is that you know how unique you are. And that whenever you do come into this world, you will be welcomed by a family that already loves you so much!

Here's to your good health, safety, comfort, and happiness. Love,

Mommy
Wednesday, March 20, 2013

one week

We are one week away from #2's due date, and it's official...she is going to be a Spring baby! Hooray!

This final hour, so to speak, is so emotional. It just hit me the other day that we are about to become a family of four. I mean, we were already a family...but now we're a Family, with a capital F...know what I mean? And it's kinda like, Whoa. Now we will be responsible for the well-being of TWO human beings - aside from ourselves, that is (but what parent really does a great job remembering how to take care of themselves?). This means caring for them, teaching them, helping them grow physically, mentally, spiritually...doing our best to both shelter them and prepare them for going out into the world, all at the same time. Which was a heavy commission with just one child, never mind two!

But we've chosen this path, come what may. We've chosen to give Abigail a sibling, regardless of how much extra work it might be, or whatever fears it will bring. For me, i worry about two things: Losing my closeness with Abby, and not having that closeness with Sadie. I know that these fears are normal, but they're the type, I think, that won't go away no matter how many other mommies promise that everything will be fine. Dont get me wrong, it helps to hear it. I don't think anything helps a mommy feel more reassured than talking to other mommies.

But still.

So for now, I'm trying to focus on making sure my relationship with Abby is solid. That she knows how much I love her. That she is as prepared as she can be for such a major life-changing event.

I've been working on her room. Well, Their Room now. She just got her big-girl bed, kindly donated by Jeremy's parents, and actually sleeps half the night in it! I'm so proud. Proud, but missing my snuggle buddy...so I'm secretly glad she only stays there half the night. ;) I wanted to make this bed as special as possible, so that she would love it enough not to miss her crib (not that she's ever spent a full night in there either). And I guess I have my own unique ideas about what makes something like a bed special for a toddler. I know that not everyone will understand my choices, but in the end I think my daughter will, and isn't that what matters?

The sheets I chose for her bed are grey. Yes, grey. They are organic cotton sheets (I didn't particularly buy them because they're organic, but it was certainly a plus), and they're the same sheets Jeremy and I have on our bed. And that's why I chose them. Silly as it may seem, I thought Abby might be comforted by the familiarity of the sheets she's so used to sleeping on - ours! I know most people associate toddler beds with cartoony bedding, but here at The Farm we feel there is such thing as over-stimulation (our girl gets plenty of exposure to Dora the Explorer movies and Sesame Street figurines during the day), and that bedtime stories and playing with our stuffed animal friends is fun enough anyway.

The rest of the bedding was a splurge...we're actually still waiting for it to arrive as I write this...but i truly feel that it was worth every penny. I ordered a custom rag quilt from a seller off of Etsy. It will go nicely with the grey sheets...eventually the grey sheets will be loved by all, I promise!...and it's so beautiful that I almost wish it were mine! Lots of earthy colors there: sage, buttercup, dusty blue, navy blue and teal blue, and grey, all in different patterns and most with flowers. Very feminine, and yet not super girly at the same time. Which is so Abby! I also purchased a block print throw pillow from another Etsy seller, a little yellow fox that just begs for cuddling. You can't help but fall in love with him!

The bed, along with a mushroom night light we got recently, her beloved star lantern, and a sweet, meaningful piece of framed art my friend had someone make for me, will all work together, I think, to help Abby with this transition. It's a start, anyway. As soon as possible I'll take pictures to share. It makes me happy to know that my girls are going to have such a beautiful, thoughtfully designed room to grow up together in.

As for Sadie, I hope that she, too, will experience the best of me as a mom. I hope that she, too, will know how much I love her. And I look forward to doing special things for her just as I do for Abigail.

One week. :)
Wednesday, March 6, 2013

hello again

My sweet Sadie Leona,

Hello again. We are three weeks out from your due date, and I just can't stop thinking about you. How can someone you've never seen or met manage to take up so much space in my heart and mind? I'm sure I wondered the same when I was pregnant with Abby, so I guess it's just one of those questions that will never be answered.

We are suffering from cabin fever here, in the final weeks before you arrive. It has been a long winter. If we weren't caged in by one blizzard or another, it was simply too cold to try and brave our time outdoors. Which is sad. But it's one more reason we are so anxiously waiting for you to come, because your birth means the arrival of Spring, and warmer weather and sunshine and birds. We are big, big fans of birds.

Well, I hope you're cozy and happy in there, as you get ready to surprise us with your REAL due date! I just wanted to say that I love you oh so very much.

Love always,

Mama
Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dear Sadie

Dear Sadie Leona,

You are due to arrive into this world exact four weeks from today, and I want you to know that we are so ready for you! <\p>

I feel bad that this is the first time I've written you a letter since you were conceived. Honestly, I didn't realize how difficult it would be to find time to compose such a personal note with a toddler keeping me occupied whenever I wasn't at work or trying to clean the house. But please know that the lack of pre-birth letters is in no way a reflection of how I feel about you.

Your existence was absolutely 100% planned. We waited until we knew in our hearts that the time was right, which happened to be on July 4th, 2012 (okay, we actually tried on the 2nd as well, but we like to think your conception might have happened like a firework on Independence Day). If so, your true "due date" is April 4th, which to me sounded like a pretty nice time of year to be born.

We knew we were pregnant right away...just a feeling of certainty that we couldn't shake. And I remember so clearly the day we found out for sure. I waited until Daddy left for work to take a test, and when it was positive I just couldn't stop grinning and squealing. The first person I told, of course, was your big sister Abigail. She was one and a half at the time and naturally had no idea what I was saying to her, but I did manage to (sort of) get her to understand that we had a big surprise for Daddy when he got home. And I explained several times throughout the day that when he got home and sat down on the couch she could hand him the positive pregnancy test. Well, instead of waiting for him to settle in, as soon as he walked through the door that afternoon, Abigail yelled "Surprise!!" - It was the so cute, and so funny. Daddy didn't get it, of course, until I made him sit down and Abby then handed him the stick. I don't think he was very surprised (like I said, we already just knew we'd been successful), but he was very happy. <\p>

Another thing we both seemed to know early on is that we were having another girl. Only after many other people expressed their belief that it was a boy did I slowly start to wonder if we were wrong, but I had settled on a girl's name anyway. For a long time, you were going to be named Charlotte. And perhaps someday we will have a Charlotte, but this time it simply wasn't meant to be. I'm not sure why, because I was really stuck on that name (seriously, ask your daddy), but in the end it became Sadie, which is why I'm convinced that in some way you named yourself. Even though it happened out of the blue, it happened so naturally and now, even before seeing your face, I just couldn't picture you as a Charlotte! Funny how these things work themselves out. <\p>

Sadie, I am so anxious to meet you. Although having a toddler made this pregnancy seem to go by faster, it didn't mean that I thought about you any less during that time. Once again, ask your daddy - I have been obsessively wondering about what you look like, how you'll feel in my arms, and what kind of personality you'll have. In some ways, it feels like going through this process for the first time. Having already given birth and watched one little girl grow up to become the little best friend we know today, I know how incredible and amazing the entire journey is, and what we have to look forward to, and I'm almost more impatient to experience it with you. <\p>

I grew up with two brothers, and all my life I assumed that I would be having boys, so when Abigail was born it was such a surprise, a wonderful one, a blessing that even now I'm still getting used to experiencing. So for me to be blessed with another girl? This is blowing my mind! I am so full of joy and love for the two of you, for the blessing you have in each other, for the sweet adventure of sisterhood that you will share. It's a bond that I was never able to experience, but I was very close to my mother and so I hope you will both be close to me too. <\p>

Right now, Sadie, I feel incredibly close to you. You have been much more active in the womb than Abigail was, so I have been feeling your every move for many months now and it hardly seems fair that I can't hold you, kiss you, gaze adore your little face yet! But we're almost there, and thank goodness because this pregnancy has taken a much bigger toll on me physically than my last. I am all around READY...so don't come too soon, but don't wait TOO long. Your mama is eagerly waiting for you. :) <\p>

I love you forever and always, Mommy

Saturday, January 19, 2013

you're two

Dear Abigail,

You had the perfect birthday. Honestly, it couldn't have been any better.

First, let's talk about the food. We may not have covered ALL your favorites, but we came pretty darn close. For breakfast, I made from-scratch blueberry buttermilk pancakes...they were the. best. pancakes. EVER! With whipped cream, real maple syrup, and extra blueberries for the birthday girl. Later in the day, we had crackers and hummus, then made a mushroom and olive pizza with plenty of cheese. YUM. In the evening, of course, we ate my delicious coconut cloud cake. Finally, perhaps the part you were most excited about (aside from getting your very own family-sized tub of hummus), you got your very own large bowl of pomegranate. Needless to say, you were a very happy girl.

ALL DAY you were a happy girl. From the moment you woke up next to me in bed to the moment you fell asleep next to me in bed, you knew this day was yours. And all the three of us did was eat, sleep, watch movies and play together. It was amazing. Daddy and I both agree that it's one of the best days we've had in a very long time, and that your birthday is officially our favorite day of the year!

Since the day you were born, Abby, you have brought us nothing but joy. And it was so nice to devote an entire day to giving it back to you. Your giggles, your delighted faces of surprise, your little feet running excitedly through the house - these are the things that bring meaning to our lives, that make us so happy to be your parents.

Happy 2nd Birthday, beautiful!

Friday, January 18, 2013

happy birthday, little girl

Abigail Grace,

Tomorrow, you will be two. Happy birthday, little girl! For that is what you are now - not a baby, but a little girl. Two years flew by, the greatest two years I have ever known, and you have blossomed into something so beautiful that no amount of words could ever truly describe you justly.

You are pretty and sweet, gentle and kind. You are compassionate and loving. You are full of wonder and curiosity. You are the funniest person I know! You love to sing and dance and play. You love your stuffed animals more than any other toy; aside from me and Daddy they are your best friends. You love to be outside, running, feeding the birds, collecting rocks and sticks and leaves, visiting the ceramic rooster on the barn steps and the weathered angel figure by the edge of the woods, splashing in puddles and raking your small fingers through the dirt and grass. You have always loved feeling the wind on your face. Your hugs could mend a wounded heart and your laughter could breathe life into death. Your favorite foods right now are pomegranates, hummus and popcorn. You still haven't spent an entire night in your own bed, and secretly, we love it.

Every few months since the day you were born, we have found ourselves saying, "This is our favorite age." And I can already tell that this time is no different. You are becoming more independent all the time, which is sad at first but so rewarding as parents because we know that you feel safe and confident to be your own person, with your own opinions and wishes and ideas. You know what you want, when you want it, and that's great! And we look forward to seeing you grow more this year, a year when you will be that much more aware of the life around you, a year in which you will gain a little sister.

Abigail, we are so, so proud of you. We love you more than you will ever know, and our greatest desire is to celebrate you not just tomorrow, but every single day.

Hugs and kisses, Mommy and Daddy

Sunday, January 13, 2013

a quiet sunday

Today we had no plans. It was beautiful.

After the holidays, most people are usually somewhat broke. For us right now, broke doesn't even begin to sum it up. But it's not really due to holiday shopping - that was the least of our worries this year. Aside from affording rent and all our utilities and miscellaneous other bills, we have been getting slammed with major car issues. And this has been going on for a YEAR.

It seems like we'll never catch a break, but I know we will. We've got to. Our time is coming. Right now, we just have to get into Mission Mode, buckle down, and get things done.

And enjoy the rare day when we have nowhere to go, no one to see, and nothing to spend our money on.

We actually did leave the house today, but just to take a walk on Nobska Beach. Though we're basically surrounded by it, we haven't seen the ocean in a while, and i think Jeremy and I were both starting to feel it. There's simply nothing like an ocean stroll to calm your soul and clear your mind. And for a short time today, the three of us were truly able to gaze out at the foggy sea, breathe in the salt air, and appreciate nothing but the serenity of nature and the closeness of one another.

Abigail is such a surfer girl. She had a blast throwing rocks in the water, and didn't run away when the waves rolled onto the beach and threatened to swallow her shoes. In fact, we had to keep pulling her away at the last second, which eventually made her upset. She started yelling, "I want to go swim!" and we had to leave. Poor baby.

I couldn't help having flashbacks to when I was pregnant with Abby and Jeremy and I walked the same beach together, dreaming about the day when we'd have her with us and could expose her to the great big ocean, the sand, the sea glass, the waves. And now here we were, the three of us, as we've been in the past, but this time I was pregnant again. Naturally, I had to express the strangeness of it, the happiness, my wonderment at the idea of us being a family of four soon, walking this beach again.

It was just what we needed.

The only thing possibly better than that walk was a moment this evening, after dinner and after Abby was in her jammies. We were all three sitting on the couch watching one of Abby's movies when she leaned over and lay her head on my belly, right where Sadie was resting. I'm not sure if it was Sadie's bum or head, but either way they were literally cheek to cheek, and it was so, so sweet.

Truly, how can we worry about anything with that image burning in our minds?

Friday, January 11, 2013

living

I haven't written in over a year and a half. This makes me sad, because there are a lot of things I would have liked to write about but just couldn't (didn't?) find the time. But it also makes me happy because I know all that means is that we have done a lot of living in all that time.

A LOT.

So why pick up again now? Well...why not? Any day is a good day to start again, and I think, or rather I really really hope, that in time I will be able to go back and fill in the blanks. Because there are a lot of blanks, and I don't like that. As I said, there is so much we have been through in the last 18 months as a family, so many trials, blessings and adventures. I want my children to remember it all; more importantly, I want to remember it all. And that's really why I'm picking up the pen again, so to speak.

Yep, you read that right...I mentioned muy children. As in, more than one. On this day, January 11, 2013, I am 29 weeks pregnant with our second baby - another little girl!

I can't tell you how elated I am to be having another girl. I started off thinking it was a girl, then slowly convinced myself (with lots of help from friends and family of course) that it was a boy. So once again, on the day of our ultrasound, I was a little surprised to hear Girl. Mind you, we almost left the appointment without finding out. This little munchkin was all snuggled up and our poor technician spent more than our allotted time slot with us trying every which way to get her to open up. I have to say, that appointment was not at all telling regarding how active this baby would be in the womb. Because ever since my third month, she has been All Motion, All the Time.

Her name is Sadie Leona. I have come to the conclusion that she simply named herself, because it came to us all of a sudden and it was not the name I originally chose for her. I had one name in mind for a long time, and then right before our ultrasound one night, I happened to be researching baby names just for fun. The name Sadie leaped put at me, and I mentioned it to Jeremy the next day. From then on, even though we kept insisting that we were undecided when people asked, we referred to her as Sadie at home. Eventually, we just felt bad at the thought of changing it on her. And so Sadie she was. And I was in love.

Leona also came about in an interesting way. Leon is Jeremy's dad's middle name, which was his dad's first name, and when we thought we might be having a boy we were going to bring it back as his middle name too. Then we found out we were having a girl. When Thanksgiving day came, Jeremy's mother's parents brought them a gift, an urn that was an old wedding gift to Grampa Wally's mother, as well as a beautiful black and white photograph of her. Her name? Leona. And on the car ride home I suggested it to Jeremy, and he loved it. So our little girl became Sadie (Princess) Leona (Lioness). Like I said...she named herself.

So that's the story of this pregnancy so far. Yes, it was planned. Yes, we were thrilled. And yes, we are looking forward to seeing how Abby interacts with Sadie and we are so, so happy that they each have each other to grow up with and love. I myself never had a sister, and while I'm pretty happy with how I grew up anyway, I always wondered. But now I can do one better. I can give each of my daughters a sister.

Another chunk of our lives that I missed writing about is our Last Apartment. The In-Between apartment. The Treehouse, as we sometimes referred to it. This is where we ended up moving once our landlords sold the house on Woods Hole Road - an apartment in the same house, right next door. Our neighbors had moved out, and while nostalgia made the decision to move a difficult one, in the end we thought it was right for us. It was bigger, had full-sized appliances, a washer and dryer, and a large deck off the living room which we loved. Though we only lived there for three months, and though we possess very few pictures of this apartment (thanks to my horrible tendency to feel like everything has to look "perfect" for picture-taking...im still kicking myself over this), it did grow on us, and we do have lots of special memories there. I would definitely like to expand on this chapter of our lives in another post, in order to give it the justice it deserves. Preservation of all our memories is so important to me.

In September 2012, as fate would have it, we made a huge decision that would alter many things for our family in a big way. We said goodbye to 251 and moved across town to an old farmhouse, circa 1830. THIS house will also need it's own post, an ode of sorts to all the ways it is simply perfect for our small but growing family. Most days, I have to admit, it feels like our Forever Home, though we don't own it. Perhaps someday, God willing, we will. Or perhaps God has a different plan for us. After all, whenever we think we've got it all figured out, the wind seems to blow in another direction. You just can never be sure where it will take you in this life.

There is more...so much more. But duties call, and for me that means getting to bed because yes, I still have to get up for work at 4:45 sometimes. However, no longer will I make excuses for not writing again. I want to write. I need to write. I can feel it in my bones. And whether one day all those words inside me will leak out like ink and turn into a novel, or I simply journal about my family for as long as it feels right, I will not stop until the wind blows all my words away.

me

My name is Audrey. I'm just a twentysomething learning how to master the arts of cooking, cleaning, working and being in a relationship, same as you.In between all that, I like to collect sea glass and salvaged furniture. Occasionally, I cut and paste scraps of paper together. In the end, I am hoping that all of these things together will somehow amount to something good. This blog is a journal of my efforts to get there.

contact

thesalvagedbride at gmail dot com