Thursday, March 20, 2014

41 and 3

41 weeks and 3 days new.
Same amount of time she was in the womb.
Sometimes I have so many thoughts I can't quite articulate them. Motherhood has definitely been a season of wordlessness for me.

I had (and have) so many fears around motherhood. Sometimes I look at this amazing little person who looks so much like me and so much like her papa and yet is her own self and wonder how I got here. How did I get blessed with this little being who loves life and others so unabashedly? I feel the full weight of the charge to nurture her, guard her heart, and let her be the person she's meant to be and as much as part of me is terrified I'm going to screw it up the other part is amazed at how easy and natural it all is. Parenting is hard, but there is so much joy in it. For some reason I'm surprised by this.

We marked a milestone on March 6: Little Girl has been out of the womb longer than she was in it. She is such a firecracker. Her striving to be independent regularly has me in giggles. She's gearing up to walk and still needs to hold on to things, but she doesn't want to hold our hands. The other day she figured out she can pull herself up on the back of my legs and then walk behind me as I walk around. Ingenius, really.

The words of wisdom I was given regarding parenthood have rung so true: The days are long but the years are short. Every day is new and old, but I don't think anyone will ever be as excited about morning as that sweet munchkin is. Her joy is contagious.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

2013: An End and a Beginning

2013 is coming to a close has been closed for over a month and I can't quite put to words the changes and growth that have occurred. We started a new chapter in our marriage and in our life and we are finding our footing daily as we learn our new roles.

2013: The Survey
Was 2013 good for you? This was a growing, blossoming year for me. Yes.

What was your favorite moment of the year? There have been so many favorite moments. The first is probably the first time Remmy smiled a meaningful smile. The second is watching her and Jason playing on the California beach.
What was your worst moment of the year? Hmmm... I think I kept my worst self under wraps this year. I know I had some pretty terrible thoughts but, thank God, they never passed my lips.
Where were you when 2013 began? At the Higley house

Who were you with? Ma Pa Higley, Josh, Laura, Palke, and Jason. We watched Season 7 of How I Met Your Mother episodes 2-10 and flipped over in time to see the ball drop on Time Square.
Did you keep your new years resolution of 2013? I never committed to a word for the My One Word challenge. I did a fair job of living in the moment, though, which had been an unspoken goal.
Where were you when 2013 ended? At home playing Settlers of Catan Cities & Knights with Jason, Josh and Laura.
Do you have a new year's resolution for 2014? My One Word this year is "Simplify." My life feels chaotic and complicated lately. I want to slow down, be present, and rid myself of the clutter in my mind, body, spirit, and space. 
Did you fall in love in 2013? The most beautiful, smart, endearing little red head came into my life and I am completely in love.
Did you make any new friends in 2013? Yes, my old college roommate added me to her mom's group and we also started attending a small church regularly and are getting to know the people there.

What was your favorite month in 2013: May

Why this month? Aunt Deb came to visit, I finished an important work project and we welcomed our daughter into our lives.

Did you travel outside of the country in 2013? Nope

How many different places did you travel to in 2013? The usual suspects, along with Hemet, Carlsbad and Newport for some

Did you miss anybody in the past year? I didn't talk to my Aunt Deb as much as usual this past year and I was terrible at keeping in contact with friends.

What was your favorite movie that you saw in 2013? "Frozen" hands down.

What was your favorite song from 2013? "Let Her Go" by Passenger and "Love Is An Open Door" from Frozen soundtrack, along with "Let It Go" and "In Summer" and the rest of the soundtrack.
How many concerts or plays did you see in 2013? We saw Trans-Siberian Orchestra and some folk music in Sisters. I don't recall any plays this year.


Did you have a favorite concert in 2013? Trans-Siberian was the only one I went to so it wins by default.

What was your favorite book(s) in 2013? Gosh, I don't even know what I read this year and I haven't done much reading lately. "Refined by Fire" and "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief" are the only two that come to mind.
Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year? Nope.

What was the biggest lie you told in 2013? That I was fully recovered from all the post-baby body weirdness.

Did you treat somebody badly in 2013? There was that one time I decided I wasn't feeling up to being graceful and I didn't apologize. And I didn't think about that until right now and right now I think it doesn't much matter.

Did somebody treat you badly in 2013? Probably. 

What was your proudest moment of 2013? Finishing the Tinkerbell 1/2 marathon while 6 months pregnant. That was the most difficult race I've ever done on a number of levels, but is the race I'm most proud of. I finished and I didn't drop a baby on the course. Win, win!
What was your most embarrassing moment of 2013? I may have thrown up in a grocery bag during prodromal labor and my aunt held it out the car window while we drove home from the park. Yeah, that happened.

If you could go back to any moment of 2013 and change something, what would it be? The thing I want to change I don't think I could have. I really wanted the unmedicated birth, but I don't think there's anything I could have done differently to keep that silly girl in the optimal position. In the end, I just thank God I had such an amazing birth team and avoided surgery.

Where did you work in 2013? AH Foundation and I received a promotion.

Favorite TV shows(s) of 2013? I discovered "Vampire Diaries" and "Hart of Dixie" and I'm a little ridiculous about them.

Favorite Band(s) of 2013? Gloriana

Favorite Food in 2013? Frozen tropical fruits, yogurt and french fries.

Favorite Drink in 2013? Raspberry Crystal Light

Favorite Place in 2013? Carlsbad

Favorite person(s) to be with in 2013? My little family

Favorite person(s) to talk to in 2013? Bobby and Leslie

 Favorite trip in 2013? Anniversary trip to Bend

Favorite stores in 2013? Powell's Books and Nordstrom

 Most Difficult thing you Went through in 2013: Learning to be a mama and career woman has been pretty hard but also rewarding.

Most exciting moment(s) in 2013? Completing the Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon. My newphew's arrival followed by Crystal's baby's arrival a week later and Reese baby's appearance two months after. Meeting our baby in May. First hiking trip with baby. Oregon State Fair. Meeting our niece.Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Rip City: Best in the West!

Funniest moment(s) in 2013? All the ones that come to mind involve poop. Poop has become a large part of my life it turns out.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Our Story ~ Letter to Little

Well, now we come to the part of the story I don't know how to tell.  In five, ten, fifteen years my sincerest prayer is that we can point to the altar we built during this time and declare in confidence the LORD brought us through a really dark time and grew us while we were in it. The blessings have outweighed the pain.

Dear Little One,

Sometimes life is more difficult than we let on and in trying to hold our life together by ourselves we cause more hurt and brokenness - to ourselves and sometimes to others. In those broken times our mind wanders and in the worst of times can lead us off the narrow path. 

What I want you to know is you can never stray too far from the power of grace. This is what your papa and I learned this summer. While we can't change what happened and though it may continue to haunt us and those who were hurt, this I know: God will make something from these ashes.  

We need people in our lives. To share our joys and sorrows and to hold us accountable. I hope you always feel the love we have for you and the love of the people who will surround you feel. 

We love you and are so excited to meet you.


***I think I started writing this a year ago, but still didn't know where to go with it. A year later I think this suffices.***

Monday, October 14, 2013

Showers of Blessings

***I realize this is a weird way to come back to blogging - there's about 5-6 months of really fascinating details from my life that needs to be documented, but this is what needs to be proclaimed right now.***

It is not a secret that I struggle with budgeting. I believe I've mentioned it a time or two in "year in review" and "about me" posts. It's something I know the value and importance of but have never succeeded in putting to practice. Several things have happened in the last couple months that brought to mind the parable of the talents.

A couple months ago, our dear friends invited us to live in their finished basement and we moved in the beginning of last month. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to focus on paying down our debts and build up a nest egg. 

We want to make the most of this time we have, so a couple weeks ago we sat down and focused on our budget and debt snowball. We were encouraged to see we could be debt-free (with the exception of a student loan we're still trying to get all the details about) by August 2016.

We then opened the first of what we thought was a medical bill. Inside was a reimbursement check for an overpayment I had made. The check was for $1.24 more than an unanticipated dental bill Jason had received a call about the day before. We had been budgeting for 5 minutes and were already winning!

The following week I had my annual review at work, where I received a 5% wage increase that will be retroactive to August 24, which is my hire anniversary. When I came home, there was an envelope holding another unexpected check for our refundable apartment deposit. (I have lived in several apartments and have never received my deposit back, no matter how spotless I have left the unit, so this was incredibly surprising.) Suddenly, we were ahead of the game.

I want to build an altar here in this place of how God is providing for us. We recognize the blessings that have come our way and we want to be good stewards of the resources we have been entrusted with. For the first time in a very long time we are caught up on all our bills, can put extra towards our debts, have made tithing a priority and don't feel like we're suffocating. We're still far from being debt-free, but in light of last week's events our debt free date has moved up to January 2016 (with the same caveat as above) and suddenly doesn't seem so unattainable.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day Post

Pssst.... I'm featured over at Rough and Rede's blog today.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Finding the Right Name

“Must a name mean something?" Alice asked doubtfully.

Of course it must," Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh; "my name means the shape I am - and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost.”  --
Lewis Carroll

I have always loved names. Unique names, mythological names, antiquated names, Biblical names... the list goes on. So much of my life, outlook, and confidence is wrapped up in my own name - victory and wisdom - that I have always taken the task of naming very seriously. 

Enter my husband. He also takes naming very seriously and we both want a strong, meaningful name for our child. And that's where the similarities stop. I say "Hilde," he says, "Norah." I say, "Freya" (nod to his Nordic roots) he looks at me like I grew a second head. I think the seriousness of naming may be one of the reasons the gestation period is 40+ weeks.

Nearly 10 years ago, we had settled on names for our children. In the meantime both of those names have skyrocketed to the top of the charts and/or been added to our family via other means. (Even the back up names, so strange.) So when the two pink lines showed up it was back to the drawing board. And what a fun drawing board it's been. 

While we still haven't settled on a name, we have narrowed the field to ones we both love and have meaning to us personally, historically, and etymologically. This I know: Little Girl will have a name that she can use to help define or challenge herself and can wear with pride. 

***As an aside, I think it's strange when people refer to their baby by name while s/he is still in utero. It makes me really uncomfortable. Part of it is I think it's important to meet and see the person you're naming before you saddle them with something. This is my quirk, so even if we settle on something (unlikely) before Little Girl arrives it'll stay under wraps. Jason doesn't want unsolicited feedback on names, which I also agree with. ***

Friday, April 19, 2013

More Pregnant than I've Ever Been

Geiser Pollman Park, Baker City, OR
35 weeks and so blessed
Wow, I really haven't documented life lately. I like to think it's because I've been out actively engaging in it, but that wouldn't be entirely true. What I've been doing is trying to put words to all the excitement, fear, and "bigness" (for lack of a better word) of preparing for a child, encountering new physical limitations, and growing in my career. And as stressed and freaked out as I get about it all, I have a constant sense of peace and feel so very blessed.

To date, we have been given boxes of clothes, baby gear, blankets, and books from my cousins whose children are all past toddlerhood. Two of my cousins blessed me with their maternity clothes so I haven't bought anything except for the outfit I'm wearing in the maternity pictures (which isn't maternity and super comfy). Their generosity brings me to tears.

We've had four showers - one in California with the family, one with our West Side friends, one in my hometown with my family and dear friends, and one on the East Side with extended family and friends. Little Girl has been bathed with so many well-wishes and love I get more excited to introduce her to all the people who loved her before she was born every day. Kid's pretty blessed as well.
Lovely baby afghan my other mama made Little Girl
Not pictured is the matching hat, which is adorbs

I seem to have hit the stage in pregnancy where everyone expects me to be uncomfortable, grumpy, and ready to be done. I have some discomfort here and there, but mostly I'm just really happy and really excited. Also, I have a work project that needs to be finished before she arrives. I love the picture of Jason and I looking at each other around the tree cause it sums up the last 9 months so well - we're joyfully walking the path before us and enjoying (nearly) every minute of it. (Pregnancy hasn't been a piece of cake, but I know as rough as it's been at times - nausea, sickness, GD scare, constant heartburn, exhaustion, etc - it could have been worse.)

Watching Jason put together the crib (I helped towards the end, which was quite the hoot as I kept losing tools cause I could see them around my belly) and arrange the nursery has been so fun. He picked out her dresser and refinished it. We recently bought a cabinet/hutch combo at Goodwill for $5 he will also be working on. He's been way more industrious than I have and for that I am very grateful. He's an organizing whiz and has come up with some great storage solutions for the nursery/office. Last night Bryan and Crystal came over to help organize and move things around and I am so pleased with the results.

We still need to pack our hospital bag, install the carseat (Jason got the car detailed yesterday which was much needed, but did delay the installation), go on a date, and pack Little Girl's coming home bag, but feel like we're as ready as we're going to be and the rest is just little things. (Besides the carseat, I realize that's a big deal.) 

Grandma and Grandpa will be here next week and I'm so thankful they'll be nearby to help out when Little Girl arrives. Aunt Deb will be visiting the weekend of the estimated due date, so I'm praying Little Girl chooses to arrive then as it would be so special to have my aunt with us. 

So, all in all this whole post could have been summed up like this: I am blessed, I am surrounded by love, and I am humbly accepting this new path we've been set on. Little Girl, we are so excited to meet you!