You will find imperfections if you look for them. Floors are dirty. Babies are cranky. Dishes are overflowing. Laundry is beckoning.
But bellies are full. Fingers are intertwined. Toes are warm. Love abounds.
Even if those things were all that we had, they would still be an embarrassment of riches. Because so many tiny hearts around the world can only dream of a table full of food, a warm place to sleep, and a hand to hold.
So whatever imperfections are clouding your vision . . . let them go. You could focus on the weeds, but then you'd miss the flowers.
Today is the day for flower-hunting, y'all.
Look around, and I'll bet you'll see that you're standing a field of them.
I want to write about Jesus. I want to write about Christmas. I want to write about Gracie. And Micah. I want to write about YOU—whoever you are—reading this silly blog o' mine. I want to write about makeup. And bangs. And my Mimi. And tall, skinny, peppermint lattes with extra peppermint.
I want to tell you about how I lost another 2.2 pounds this week and was disappointed because it wasn't more. And then I want to explain how ridiculous I realize that is.
But when I put my fingers on the keyboard... crickets. I'm tapping my toes and biting my lip and willing the words to come. Because I swear to you guys, I have so. much. to. say. (The lawyer has no words? Impossible.)
It has been a struggle, lately, to find my voice. Because by day, it's briefs and patents and case law and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. And by night, it's Dr. Seuss and bedtime stories and sweet snuggles. What's there in between is who I am underneath the suit pants and pureed sweet potatoes.
That girl is only unintentionally funny... not so much witty. I suppose she is contemplative and deep (see, e.g., this very blog post). And she is most certainly awkward and hopefully relatable, at least in a certain way.
Just humor me while I figure out what the heck I'm trying to say here.
The right answer is probably a combination of all of the above. I think that's what this blog has really always been. Some days it's profound. Other days... not so much.
I never intend to be one of those people who decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, but it seems like it has been unavoidable the last couple of years. (And by "unavoidable," I obviously mean "completely avoidable but not nearly as much fun.")
Last year, I was at trial during the optimal decorating time, and then we headed to Paris for nine days. So we decorated early because we knew we wouldn't if we waited until we got back from vacation. This year, my excuse is that I'm hosting my sister-in-law's Christmas-themed baby sprinkle at our house the first weekend in December. So I needed to get it all up so that I could see what I have and decide if I need anything else. (At least that's what I told Micah when I brow-beat him into dragging all of the Christmas bins out of the attic this weekend...)
I'm not finished, and I'll definitely post pictures once I am, but I wanted to at least post the Instagram sneak peek at our tree this year.
(pardon the cell phone quality)
If you've been following along for awhile, you'll probably recognize our enormous, 12-foot (fake) tree. I added a few more ornaments this year, and I'm digging all the gold, for sure. But how puny is that tree topper? Ha! It's kind of a joke now that we have this massive tree that we still use our Walgreens $7.99 star (that doesn't even light up anymore). I'm officially on the hunt for a new one for next year.
In other news, Gracie has yet another ear infection. Actually, this may just be the same one from earlier this month. Apparently the bacteria are growing resistant to Amoxicillin (lovely), so we are hoping the stronger antibiotic will knock it out. But man, oh man, how I wish my sweet girl could be rid of these things for good and avoid all of these antibiotics. Just as soon as she's eligible for tubes, we will be contacting an ENT faster than you can say "sign us up!"
And because no post is complete without cute baby pictures...
I want to say something clever today. I really do. But I'm afraid that all of my brilliant semi-acceptable writing was exhausted by the brief I finished up on Tuesday, so today is a day for list-making. (I'll do my best to make it a brilliant semi-acceptable list.)
We've got ourselves a sort of mobile little girl.
It sort of makes me want to cry when I think about it. But I always swore I'd never be one of those moms who lamented the fact that their babies were growing up. (Because duh. That's what babies do. And you don't really want your baby to stop getting bigger, do you?) Yet, here I am. Becoming that very mom. Nothing makes a liar out of you like a baby does.
Two. Instagram shopping.
Did you know that you can shop via Instagram? Is your mind completely blown? I can't remember how or when I discovered my first Instagram shop, but it was a sad, sad day for my PayPal account. I mostly just buy new and used clothing for Grace (we're talking adorable Baby Gap and H&M stuff for less than $10 SHIPPED!), but I've done quite a bit of damage lately, and I think I'm going to have to get a hold of myself.
To the extent any of you are in the market for cute baby clothes and need a new addiction, here are a few of my favorite shops: @bloggybabyboutique @kickinlegscloset @aandecloset @stylingsophie (a little high, but she has the CUTEST stuff!) and @reaganspaige These shops generally don't keep a lot of stuff "in stock" on their pages (because everything sells quickly!). Instead, they announce sale times, and you comment on the picture of whatever you want to buy with your PayPal email address. They'll then invoice you, and once you pay via PayPal, usually things are shipped fairly quickly.
(The sweater dress that Grace is wearing in the video above was an Instagram purchase.)
Three. Operation skinny jeans.
I'm down another 4.4 pounds this week, which puts me at nearly 18 pounds lost in a month. I know it's probably super annoying to be getting these week-by-week updates, but I'm telling you -- you guys are such great accountability. So just humor me, would you?
Grace and I played hooky on Wednesday. After I fed her at 6:00, we stayed in bed, and she fell back asleep until 8:00. Best. cuddles. ever. There was no part of me that could bear to take her to daycare after that. So I didn't. (And, in light of having finished the aformentioned craziness at work, I didn't feel even a teensy bit guilty.)
Five. DOC Band update.
We are almost done with the DOC Band, y'all. She goes back in for a checkup a week from Monday. She'll have been in it 10 weeks by that point, and if the band is getting too tight on the sides, we'll be done with it for good. If not, she'll stay in it another two weeks. So at the most, we're looking at roughly three more weeks.
Truthfully, it hasn't really been an issue for us. It doesn't bother Grace in the slightest (in fact, I'm worried we may have a few crazy nights after we take it off, since she's gotten so used to sleeping in it). And I really am so thankful for what a difference it has made for her little head (I'll be sure and post some before and after pictures once we're finished!). But momma won't lie... I'm more than ready to be able to see all of her sweet little face when I look at her. And I'm REALLY ready to resume the headband and bow wearing. :)
I'm embarrassingly late in getting this up, angel girl. But we're going to stop for a minute and celebrate this milestone anyway because you are SIX MONTHS OLD! That's half a year! (Although I wrote this while you were six months, you were almost six and a half months when I took your picture. And then I strangely waited three days before you turned seven months to post!)
You are honestly the sweetest, happiest little girl I've ever seen in my life. You make us laugh nearly all day, every day! You've started talking and laughing to yourself. It's mostly just ba-ba-ba and giggles, but it's the sweetest sound in the whole world.
Here are your six-month stats:
Six Months at a Glance
Weight: 17 pounds, 10 ounces
Length: 26.5 inches
Eating: 6-7 ounces four-five times a day
Sleeping: 11 hours at night, 3 naps (anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours each time) Bedtime: 7:00-7:30 Awake: 5:45-6:15 (you're an early bird like Mommy and Daddy!)
Diapers: size 3
Clothes: 6 months, 6-9 months
Things You Love: Touching faces, pulling hair, your jumperoo, snuggles with Mommy, your bunny, sleeping on your tummy, going naked, talking to yourself (loudly!), bouncing up and down, standing with help, laughing at yourself, Lilly, your cousins, finding your paci, grabbing your toes, toys that make noise, Sophie the Giraffe
What You Can Do This Month: sit up by yourself, find your paci on your paci clip and put it in your mouth, roll all over the place, push yourself up on your arms, rock on all fours, pick up and play with your toys (and then throw them down!), find your paci at night (amen!)
Some days I look at you and still see that tiny, squishy, sleepy baby we took home from the hospital... and then some days I look at you, and you're practically in college. It's heart-wrenching and oh-so-magical at the same time.
You're growing so much every single day, love! You officially starting sitting up by yourself a few days before you turned six months. You've started solids this month. You laugh at just about everything, but especially Daddy. You're still definitely a Daddy's girl.
Eating: You're eating 6-7 ounces at a time about 4-5 times a day. Usually around 6 when you wake up, then 10-ish, 2-ish, 6-ish, and then possibly a few ounces just before you go to bed. We finally dropped the dream feed, and Mommy has been happy about that!
You started solids this month, and girl... you LOVE to eat! You've loved nearly everything you've tried, although we can't get you to eat rice cereal unless it's mixed with banana or apple. You love carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, apples, bananas, pears, and even green beans. You eat either a Level 1 fruit or vegetable twice a day. (Momma knows you probably need the iron from the cereal, so we're planning on trying oatmeal soon and adding a third feeding if you like it.) When you eat, if mommy doesn't get the spoon to you fast enough, you open your mouth and start kicking your legs. We're working on learning some signs for "more" and "all done," but you haven't quite gotten the hang of those yet.
Sleeping: You get so sleepy at night, sweet girl. Mommy would love to keep you up until 7:30 or 7:45 each night, but you're usually ready to go down around 7:00. As a result, we're lucky if you sleep until 6:30. Some mornings, we hear you just talking away to yourself on the monitor at 5:15. You usually fall back to sleep, but I have to wake you up around 6:15 so you can eat and get to school.
Naps are getting better. You usually sleep on the way to school, and then you take 2-3 naps (45 minutes to 1.5 hours each) while you're there, and nap on the way back home. You definitely still sleep better and longer at home, though.
Other Stuff: You still hate dirty diapers, and you're back to fighting clothes changes, too.
You're crazy about dogs and other kids. You are spitting much MUCH less often! Praise the Lord! :)
We thank our lucky stars for you every day, lovey girl. How proud we are to be your parents!
... watching the woooooorld wake up from his-tory.
I'm going to go ahead and put it out there that I'm usually pretty good about living in and being thankful for whatever season of life I'm in. I don't have a whole lot of talents, but I really am decently capable of living in the moment. It isn't that I never get ridiculously impatient for the future. Or that I don't often look back on the past with fondness and shamelessly wish things were the same now as they were then.
Case in point:
Someone shoot me for ever thinking that my then-completely flat stomach was anything other than completely flat. (However, you really can't blame me for feeling pudgy compared to Miss Six-Pack next to me. My best friend's body is still this banging, and she's had two kids. Lauren, you're lucky I love you, or I'd completely hate you. :))
My point is that I'm usually content.
It seems like the last week or so, though, I've been anxious and antsy, and work has been crazy, and I haven't spent nearly enough time with Gracie, and the house is a disaster, and my hair needs coloring, and I'm pretty much just a hot mess. But man, y'all. I'm trying to force myself to remember to enjoy this season in my life. Things are crazy, yes. But I know that one day, when Micah and I are old and gray, we're going to look back on this time and wish with all of our might that we could be back in this place. Because things really are so good. Right here and right now.
It has been three weeks back on the clean eating train, and I'm feeling fabulous. I weighed in on Tuesday, and I'm down four pounds from last week, for a total of 13 pounds! (Which sounds like a lot, but compared to what I need to lose, it really isn't.) My pants are definitely getting looser, and I ordered a few cute outfits yesterday as a fun, little reward.
I wish I could bottle this motivation, y'all.
Because most of the time? My goal is to eat the most delicious thing on the menu at each and every meal. I refuse to think about calories. Or nutrition. Instead, I just want all of the delicious things in and around my mouth.
I also wish I could understand why when I start to gain I don't just buckle down for a few weeks and stop this cycle in its tracks. Because it's not crazy hard. It really isn't. I've simply told myself that certain things are off-limits, and because I'm a rule-follower to the core, I mostly stick to the plan.
If you're curious, here's what I might eat on a given day:
Lunch: salad with lettuce, tomatoes, and grilled chicken with low-calorie (less than 40 calories per serving) dressing (and possibly a teaspoon of blue cheese, because I've got a smidge of rebellion in me), 1 cup of strawberries, 1/2 baked potato
Snack: protein drink, orange
Dinner: shrimp stir-fry with zucchini and grape tomatoes, steamed rice
No sodas, no sugar, very little dairy (although I do allow myself the occasional skinny latte or smidgen of cheese), no salt (this is so hard for me), no condiments or sauces (except the low-calorie dressing) and reasonably small portion sizes.
No magic. No secret tricks. (Although, I am currently using a few of the Slim4Life supplements, since they came with my membership. When they run out, I probably won't buy any more, and I'll see if I notice any difference in the amount of weight I lose.) It isn't as fun as eating cheese enchiladas every day, but then neither is being overweight. And it isn't like I'm saying goodbye to these things forever. I just know that for now, I can't shed the pounds and have those things, too. I have to choose, and I choose me.
So I'm doing my best to feel confident that this new-found desire to get this girl healthy for good isn't just another short-lived wave of motivation. I know I'll trip and fall at times (which is completely okay and human), but maybe I'm finally learning that a little setback doesn't always have to be a deal-breaker and that it's a heck of a lot easier to lose a few pounds than it is to lose a hundred pounds.
Theoretically, I have plenty to write about today. We did have a fabulous weekend.
We spent tons of time snuggling this little cutie.
Also, because I adore you all and wish you much joy and happiness, I present the following:
This is what happens when Micah walks into the room.
Please try and tell me that's not the most adorable thing you've ever seen. (Excepting your own precious children's laughs, of course.)
So we snuggled. And laughed. And ate out in restaurants because Grace is now officially big enough to sit up in a high chair. (Soooo nice to not have to eat with one hand while corralling a squirming baby in the other.) We also went grocery shopping and watched Miss Thing flirt and laugh at every person she saw because she was SITTING UP IN THE FRONT OF THE CART (seriously, I feel like she might as well be in kindergarten, y'all).
(Side note, a sweet old lady stopped the three of us in the grocery store to comment on how cute Grace was and to tell me that I have a "very good-looking husband." Talk about stating the obvious... ;))
And I finally got around to taking Grace's six month pictures yesterday. (Yes, I realize she's just two weeks away from turning seven months.) So pretty much the perfect weekend. And I'll get the post up soon!
But then last night Grace got a fever and got suuuuper fussy. Her doctor had told me at her well visit that she had some clear fluid behind her ear and that it might turn into an ear infection. So we put her in bed with us and monitored her temperature every few hours. It was sweet for about the first fifteen minutes. And then Grace went sideways in the bed and proceeded to kick me for the next eight hours. Now I remember why she sleeps in her crib... :)
Anyway, long story short, girlfriend has double ear infections. I suspected an ear infection a few days ago when she wouldn't eat quite as much as usual, and I should have trusted my mommy intuition. So now we're on antibiotics (heeeere come tummy troubles and diaper rash) and hope that this sweet girl feels better soon. (Although, the silver lining is that she has been super cuddly and sweet.)
It's time to celebrate, y'all: I can officially cross off the first item from my 30 Before 30 list!
(Technically, I've already mastered #29, but I'm still mustering up the courage to make the video as proof...)
A few weekends ago, my best friend, my sister-in-law, and I headed east to Lauren's in-laws' lake house for the weekend. We didn't have any actual plans, but we were all definitely in need of a getaway and some girl time.
It's so beautiful and peaceful there.
It rained most of the time, but we didn't care. We cuddled up on the couch. Napped. Watched the Twilight movies. Ate ice cream.
(This prego loved her ice cream. And cookies. And coke floats. :))
In between rainstorms, we ventured out and attempted to learn some photography tips from the master.
(Lauren had heck trying to figure out our Canons. She's totally a Nikon girl.)
And we spotted more than a few of these guys.
The fact that we basically laid around all weekend and loved every second of it probably makes us completely lame. But I can't wait to do it again!
Thanks again for the fabulous weekend, loves! (And thanks to Jan and Derek for loaning us your beautiful home!)