Friday, July 28, 2017

Year One in Retrospect

My little girl is one! (A few days shy of 13 months to be exact).  Sawyer and I have BOTH learned so much this year, it's amazing. I don't even know where to begin or what to say. I've done terribly keeping up here with memories and thoughts from the year, but I also didn't want to pressure myself into "forcing" that and allow myself to live in the moment (I know, cliche alert!) and just BE. All the struggle to get here required so much brain power, thought, growing, just mental energy. Just being is a gift and it was so good to "just be" for such a long while.

Now it's time to begin again, to start growing again, thinking again, learning again. I know I've done a lot of that this year but to get down with words always helps solidify the experiences in my mind. We've got the first year under our belts it's time to look ahead to the future and enjoy TODDLERHOOD! But first, I'll try to find my words about the journey that was the first year of getting to be with our little Sawyer Bear.

I can say now that I am 100 times more confident at being Sawyer's mom. The beginning was so hard and scary even though I didn't truly realize or admit that to myself at the time. It's such a strange thing to go from being an expectant parent to an actual parent. It's hard, but amazing. Everyone says that. Everyone rolls their eyes at it because EVERYONE says it. And you feel like they're talking down to you, and maybe some of them are. Some are just being honest but they all say it's GOOD even though it's hard and that is the truth! One important thing I've learned over the last year is being a mom requires an equal amount of rigidity and flexibility, a delicate dance and balance. 

In the beginning it's so crazy because even though newborns can't move or talk they sure are DEMANDING. The hardest part was making sure she was eating every couple hours, because baby just wanted to SLEEP DURING THE DAY and had such a hard time waking up to eat. I felt like I couldn't go anywhere with this tight schedule much less shower, cook, clean, eat, go to the bathroom. You picture this peaceful life with a cuddly newborn (she was cuddly! she loved napping on me!) but it's highly demanding even though from the outside you think "awwwwwwww". But it's really good. The natural order does break parents in slowly and somewhat gently. Like a frog slowly getting boiled, LOL. They're demanding but you can watching tv, talk, and not worry about certain things. Your life is run on a tight 90 minute cycle of eat play sleep and I remember not even feeling like days mattered, just those 90 minute cycles. That slowly got she's old enough she basically just has a schedule like a normal person but includes a nap and sometimes two. Which is crazy to think about!!! My main takeaway from the newborn season is that you can survive--it's only for a season. Tell yourself it gets better and enjoy the parts that make that stage so amazing. All the firsts, this is a new person to the world and you get the privilege of being their guide! Of acclimating them to the world. It's huge and it's awesome. It's mundane and it's hard. I remember feeling like I just couldn't even put her down for even a minute. And it was claustrophobic at the time, but now she's walking and it's hard to get much snuggle time (unless we're watching Daniel Tiger!) It happened really fast even though at the moment I couldn't possibly fathom it.

Then there were the days where I'd set up her play quit and lay out toys for her to explore. We would listen to music. Ted worked later hours and that was so hard for me. I know he worked the same amount of hours (had Wednesdays off) but the long days really got to me. But Sawyer and I enjoyed listening to music, (The Sound of Music Soundtrack!) playing, and being together. We would try to go on walks and do little things here or there like run to Target or the park.

I think the hardest milestone for her to achieve was rolling over. She would do so well rolling from back to belly, but she had a HECK of a time rolling back to her back! It seemed like once she mastered that (after lots and lots of frustration) she was suddenly crawling, then standing, then walking all within a really quick timeframe! OH man I couldn't believe one day after work Ted and I were playing with her in the living room and she just stood up and took a step towards him. She was only 10 months old. We were both so proud and felt so thankful to both be there to see it unfold!

Sawyer has been great with bottles from day one. Breastfeeding was hard, and looking back I'm really not sure I'd ever consider trying that again. Sorry mom world! She drinks down her bottles fast and furious and is like clockwork expecting them. She even sees her bottle and she immediately can't go on with life until she has it, lol! Currently I'm knowing I need to transition her to a sippy cup but I'm not in as big of a hurry as everyone else is about it. Oh well! We'll get there.

When she started crawling and walking there were a few rough weeks before we got any baby gates. We are not handy and installing things is...well...challenging lol. Currently we need lots more baby proofing but after a frustrating morning with me and the power drill and getting nothing accomplished I decided we're hiring a handy man. Which of course, I need to get on.

The things I'm most proud of and little big memories;

Sawyer being a happy and fun little girl who likes to explore and play.

Sawyer learning how to sleep in her own bed! Sleep training was hard. She slept in our room in the pack and play for 6 months and has learned to love her own little room and bed.

Keeping her fed, three meals a day (plus snacks LOL). Somehow. Somewhat healthy!

Just keeping up the general maintenance of it all, house, cleaning, cooking, bathing, eating. It's work even though it can be humdrum but keeping up (a lose term of course, lol) is quite a FEAT OF ENDURANCE! And to pray each day asking the Lord to help you do it all with joy. I gotta remember to keep that up. I really want to teach Sawyer to go about the tasks at hand with joy--even when it's hard and mundane. (Because, oh my gosh sometimes I just want to not worry about the house and what's to eat. Said every woman everywhere through out all of time and space!!!!!).

That Sawyer likes to feed herself and is learning how to use her spoon!

Showing her off at story time and church---so proud she spent the last Sunday in the nursery both sundayschool AND church!

Learning to stick to my guns with her schedule. But also to be flexible about it. When it suits me or is something good for her. If not, nope sorry it's naptime. Oh wait, go out for mexican food? Well forget naptime/bedtime! Story time? We can skip nap for that too sometimes.  

That she loves giving smoochies! And will often smooch things she likes, toys and pictures in books included. Especially books with little children or Daniel Tiger. (Yes, Daniel is her favorite).

How she points to our family picture and grins her toothy grin!

The time I got her up from nap and she pointed to me and said "mama!" for the first time

The time I was mad at her for not going down for nap and she pulled herself up to stand for the first time with a big proud of herself grin!

The time I saw her push herself into sitting up from laying down with one arm, such a swift motion like she'd been doing it all along.

I'm so proud that she is really just her own little person and always has been and we get to be here to help guide her and witness it.

I'm proud of her that she doesn't let obstacles STOP her from doing things. She's never afraid to let us know what she wants. She doesn't "pussy foot" around and hem and haw. If she wants cuddles, food, playtime, a toy, someone to read to her...she just goes for it. I need to be more like that. Communicate clearly and don't be embarrassed about asking for what you need. I'm learning so much from her. I'm thankful she feels so comfortable and secure with us she isn't afraid to let us know what she needs.

(I guess my next post needs to be "things I've learned from Sawyer". Ok I think that is a good post to do!)

I love when she was brand new and her favorite thing was to stare at the birds on the wall behind our bed.

I love when she was just a little older than newborn and after her morning bottle she would want to stare and pat my face, with her head cocked to the side just taking me in not ever being deterred from face patting even when i'd try to get her to stop lol.

I love the way she butt shimmies to music she likes, especially the Daniel Tiger theme song.

I love her husky little mischievous laugh.

I love how she walks, toddle/waddle, hands sometimes out like Frankenstein, sometimes out for balance.

I love how she chases Scout around shrieking with delight, and how he won't fully runaway but looks at us sad that he's being chased. (This is also a source of great frustration, haha).

I love how sometimes we hear you giggling in your carseat while we drive, playing with some toys and just having your own inside joke

and I love the way you wave bye bye to me when I put you down or nap and how you sweetly clap when I come back to get you!

As I've seen others say about their children, I'm writing you on my heart, Sawyer. I love you so much!

I can't believe I've been a parent for one whole year. We have survived and hopefully thrived as well. I'm so glad we have this year under our belts are looking forward to more stories and lessons together, as a family! Which is something I've yearned to have for so long!

the interwebs, adult friendships, retrospection, and looking ahead

I'm big into looking back, examining my life, using what's happened to try to learn and grow. But it just hit me specifically to what's been "ennui-ing me" over the internet the last year or so. (When I say internet I mean instagram and blogs I used to read where people move on, as is normal in life). Everything is for a season. I think my attention span is longer than the average bear about certain things so when other people get the unspoken rule it's time to move on to snapchat and instagram live or whatever they're even doing these days (SIGHHHHHH) I'm still in the mode of enjoying hearing people's stories with words and pictures and the big little day to day things that make up our lives.  The internet at large is ALWAYS pushing for next next next. In January everyone is freaking out about spring. After the 4th of July everyone is freaking out about fall. I feel like I have these same complaints over the internet but as a mom of a young little person sometimes you depend on it (TOO much I'm realizing writing this all out) for communication with the outside world.

I am seeing now I need to step back from the DEPENDENCY in feeling those connections and work harder at connecting in more real ways. This is scary for me. Friendships are hard, especially adult friendships. I am so anxious about friendships sometimes.  It's easier to feel "bonded" to strangers on the internet because there is no commitment and you can hide when and if you choose to. I have a few close friends but I know in my day to day life I need to do more in regards to getting Sawyer and I "out there" with activities and relationships. I don't want her to be a hermit unless she wants to be one, lol.

I have days where I don't feel the need to grab my phone. Other days it's like distracting me from my day and I'm wasting so much time. I know it's not ALL wasted because there are people I genuinely enjoy catching up with through social media but I need to practice a little more discipline. I'm trying to figure out joining a mom's group (I know, what is my life even a mom's group sounds so annoying!) but it's through Facebook which I quit long ago and I made up a new and secret one just for this mom's thing and now i can't remember the password even or figure out how to log in. I feel so OLD and IRRELEVANT reading this!!! What is happening to me, lol.

I guess my slow processing speed is getting in my own way, too. I'm still like "oh wow, I'm a mom! I can't believe it! This is all so new!" And everyone else has like their next two years planned and is all "Your a mom we get it you've been a mom for a whole year thats like 50 years in internet time". I think it's good to have a balance of retrospection and making plans, and living in the moment. (um, ok that's quite the balancing act!) I think I've got a lot of nervous energy pent up with being at home a lot and not making writing and creative outlets a priority. So yeah, time to do that. This a quick post to get that whole internet thing off my chest and move on to an actual post. Hah!

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Surreal Life

The word of the year for 2016 has officially been pronounced by Merriam Webster and that word is "surreal".

Surreal; very strange or unusual. Having the quality of a dream. Marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream, unbelievable. Fantastic.

Well, I don't think I could have chosen a more accurate word to describe this last trip around the sun. So many people have kicked 2016 to the curb and relish posting sassy memes about how terrible it was. I know so many "surreal" things have happened this year in world news--and it's not that I want to gloss over that. But for me--this year personally has been the best ever!

This year after many many years of ambiguity, struggle, spiritual warfare, inner turmoil, waiting, and loss of hope (and other words and phrases I could continue on with) we were able to become victorious in our battle to become parents! I wish me from five or seven years....(even eight or nine) could read that last line. I know it was not 40 years in the wilderness but to me it was.

This past year I had the privilege to carry and give birth to person. A person made in Gods own image. She was made by the Creator of all things and I get to be a main cast in the story of her life. And the beginning of that is and was awesome and SURREAL!  It's not that it has been easy or perfect (because what is) but it has been amazing and wonderful and the best experience of my life to date!!! Sometimes I just stare at Sawyer and repeat to myself "you're a mom! You're a mom!" And pray it sinks in one day 😉.  And I have God and 2016 to thank. So many amazing memories packed into 12 months. And now I'm looking forward to what's to come. It's so nice (a luxury really) to not feel weighed down and to be excited for the future!!