Mama

Mama

It is, perhaps, the sweetest word I have heard in my entire life. Not the “Mama” spoken by Husband, or Nana or Grandma or even myself. That has been uttered for months now. Nine of them. Longer, if you include my pregnancy. No, the sweet little two-syllables now uttered by my baby girl.

I knew it would come and didn’t really worry about it. I wasn’t jealous that she said Dada first. After all, she ALWAYS wants me. I was glad for Husband to have something special. But now that she says it, now that she utters that beautiful word, I am enraptured.

She crawls toward me, “Mama, Mama, Mama.” She cries from her crib when she doesn’t want to nap, “Mama?” She (apparently) invokes my name when angry at the nanny, “Mama! Mama!” She sleepily murmurs my name when I pull her from her crib for middle-of-the-night nursing sessions, “Mama…Mama…”

I can’t get enough of it. Oh, perhaps some day it will start to get old, the incessant, never-ceasing iterations from little voices. But right now? Today? I am relishing each and every instance.

Mama and Fiona

Nine Months

Nine Months

Nine months old and loving life! Fiona is developing her own opinions about things, continues to eat anything placed before her, and is clearly starting to form words, most notably Dada. She is starting to take regular naps for the first time in her life! Still army crawling, she goes anywhere, gets into anything, and pulls herself up to standing now. She is curious and in any new situation studiously observes everything in fascination. She blows raspberries with Daddy and clicks her tongue at Mama =). Her laugh lights up our life.

Fiona Rose Marie, nine months Read more

Loss

Loss

It’s been a while since I’ve written about loss…but it is rarely far from my mind. I guess that’s really what I want to say. Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there, simmering just below the surface. Remember that when you speak with someone experiencing loss.

We lost Michael more than three years ago, almost four. But that loss is still so very present.

There’s the green ribbon from last fall’s Out of Darkness walk, green representing a sibling.

I was glad when Husband and I ventured out to attend the walk. I thought it would be good for him, for us. I had no idea how comforting it would be to walk among so many people and identify their loss through the color of their ribbon. All those wearing green knew the pain of losing a sibling. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. There truly are others who understand. I hope Husband felt that too. Read more

One Thing: The Library

One Thing: The Library

Historic Chuckatuck Virginia libraryOne Thing: Where I share one thing that is making my life better or bringing me joy.

I love our library. Just a few miles from our house (2.1 to be exact), I have dreams of me and Fiona biking down to the library to five into books or story time or star gazing nights.

Just one of the branches of the Suffolk Public Library, Chuckatuck is easily the smallest permanent library I’ve ever seen, just 2,000 sq ft. And the cutest. The building was formerly the cafeteria of Chuckatuck High School (the building that is now Sauders Supply) and in 1989 it was given new life as a library.

It has everything a library needs: books, a librarian, a few computers, WiFi access, and a children’s section where littles like Fiona are invited to stay a while. Mondays (not every Monday, but maybe once or twice a month) are now my library day. The library is generally only open during working hours on weekdays, but it is also open on Monday evenings. Read more

Getting Out of the Way

Getting Out of the Way

I watched my girl this weekend as she began grasping new ideas and learning new skills. She is so close to pulling herself up to her knees, given the chance. And she has realized that when she throws something, she just has to look over the arm of the chair to find it again. I love being witness to each new trick, each developmental leap. Ah, object permanence is such a wondrous thing!

But as I watched, I witnessed something that both amused and struck me.

Playing gleefully with her basket of toys, Fiona found a cloth book that unfolds into one long succession of “pages”. It’s a bit unwieldy for a baby when it’s all open, but she loves it anyway. Having pulled it out earlier, she found herself sitting next to the end of the book. She picked it up, but the book wouldn’t budge. She pulled and pulled on it, thinking surely she could lift it to her mouth to chew on (that’s what 7-month-old babies do, after all), but it wouldn’t work. She look plaintively at me to fix the problem, as though it was I who was keeping her from her desires. Or at the very least, I wasn’t helping fulfill them.

Unbeknownst to her, though, she was sitting on the book. Her own weight kept it grounded. I tried not to laugh as I watched her try with all her might, yet fail because she didn’t notice that she herself was the obstacle in her way.

It struck me just then, that perhaps that’s how God feels. Read more

Gray and Orange Nursery

Gray and Orange Nursery

I have so enjoyed putting together a nursery for this little one, and those who will follow. Knowing I wanted this room to be gender neutral, both because we didn’t know the sex of the baby and because I want to be able to put multiple kids in one room, potentially of differing genders, I selected gray and orange as my colors. My “theme” if you will is woodland animals like foxes and owls — but truth be told, I don’t like any room to look too theme-y. So you’ll find I included a lot of geometric shapes and a variety of textures (I am such a texture person!).

My inspiration board helped me figure out what I liked and what I wanted to strive for as I pieced things together. It actually helped me identify what it is that I like — as opposed to just grabbing every “cute” baby item I could find (which, yeah, as a pregnant woman is sooo easy to do).

So here goes!

nursery Read more

Half Way Through My Breastfeeding Journey

Half Way Through My Breastfeeding Journey

BreastfeedingIt occurred to me recently, while I was reveling in the thought that in 6 months I won’t have to pump breast milk while I work anymore (the bane of my existence some days), that that also means my exclusive breastfeeding journey will be over in 6 months. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been at this long enough for that to be true!

Before Fiona was born, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed, for all the reasons everyone wants to: healthy for baby, healthy for mama, inexpensive! I had read that it’s good to have a “goal” in mind. But when I thought about it, a year (so I wouldn’t have to purchase formula) seemed daunting but 12 weeks seemed so minuscule. So I went in with an overarching desire to exclusively breastfeed, which would mean doing this for a year, without any real date in mind.

Breastfeeding overall has gone very well for me. Fiona latched immediately after birth. I was sore for a bit, but that eventually eased. I started out with some oversupply issues (engorgement, “choking” baby, spraying/leaking, etc.), but that eventually settled down, starting around 6 weeks and finally evening off around 12. Read more

Seven Months!

Seven Months!

It’s hard to believe Fiona is 7 months old already! She is officially sitting up on her own, and she’s working so hard on learning to crawl. She is very interested in food and loves to join our family meals (french toast appears to be her favorite so far!). She is happiest outdoors and first thing in the morning. She blows raspberries constantly and absolutely loves her toys!

Fiona 7 Months Read more

Six months in…

Six months in…

Six months in I’m often getting ask how I’m doing. The whole mom thing, is it good?

Fiona and me six months inThe short answer is, yes. I love being Fiona’s mother. The baby thing comes pretty naturally to me (and I’ve had a lot of practice with 10 nieces and nephews!).

The long answer is, it’s complicated. The mom thing I’m loving. The work thing is great. It’s the combination that’s hard. I’m still figuring out a rhythm to being a working mom. How do I give my all at work and still have enough of me left over for this precious babe and Husband? Left over? What an awful way to word that. My family should be my first priority, Husband and babe come first. But in real life, they come at the end of a long, arduous day.

I managed to get out of the house this morning on time (because I woke up at 5:00), without spit-up on my shirt (this is a miracle), with lunch (yesterday’s because I never had time to eat yesterday), and breakfast already eaten (yay!). I felt like I was on top of it. I dropped Fiona off at her nanny’s and headed into work, where I promptly noticed something white all over my black boots, dust? No, spit-up. Lovely. I’ll clean it off as soon as I get to my office, I thought. But I didn’t. That spit-up went right back home with me at the end of the day. Read more