Saturday, August 17, 2013

::savoring the now::

Lilah Grace has helped me, more than any other book, sermon, podcast, or TED talk...to stay in the moment. Every SINGLE night, I realize that this is one less night I have to rock and nurse her to sleep, because she will inevitably grow up. The past and future become meaningless as I hold her and smell her, savoring the now.

Since Lilah has come along...

...I have been late to most occasions (other than work). ..
...I have had slower paced mornings...
...I enjoy the ride, rather than text in the car while driving (full disclosure, when she's not in the car, I still slip sometimes...)...
...I go on more walks...
...I notice things I haven't noticed before (because she does, and I follow her eyes)...
...I feel more connected to other moms (including animals...a return to vegetarianism MIGHT be in my future, but that thick cut bacon is just SO tasty...)...

...In short, I'm completely enamored. Mesmerized. Proud. Filled to the brim with love. Just overflowing with love, and that's why I'm gushing... 

In the past 3 months, I've learned that motherhood is about SO MUCH MORE than the birth story. I feel like I am responding to a calling I've had since I was a little girl. I feel more fulfilled in daily life than I ever have before. I've become MORE patient, MORE loving, MORE happy. MORE grateful, MORE considerate, and MORE laid back. I feel in such a flow with life. Without a doubt, this babe has been my biggest blessing, ever. I can't imagine a life more sweet. 

I have her to thank for these life lessons, and my husband to thank for helping me with this gorgeous creation...in the words of his little brother, "it takes two to make a baby, and two to raise one." I'm very thankful to my husband for his love and support in this journey. He still makes my heart flutter, and still talks to me like the 17 year old girl he courted. 

 I also am so grateful to my "village," because YES, IT TAKES A VILLAGE. And my TRIBE undoubtedly made my transition to motherhood as smooth as possible. My mommy, daddy, and sissy. I'll forever remember the summer of 2013, when we were all under the same roof again. When Lilah Grace came to this planet, and Aunt Roo got engaged! With nights at the community pool, and binges on United States of Tara and Orange is the New Black

We will be moving into our new home (YAY!) this week, and I am just so excited to start this NEXT new chapter! But I KNOW I couldn't do it without the help I've had up to this point. And honestly, moving back home was one of the BEST things we've ever done. I've had an amazing summer.

I'll be posting pictures of our many new projects up on the blog! And some fun DIY projects as I get around to them! I'm excited to make this house a home.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Lilah Grace's Social Media Debut

I made it 3 months...

...without sharing Lilah Grace's beautiful face on social media. 
Sure, sneak peaks here and there (because I post so much of my life online, and so much of my life now is consumed with caring for this baby)...but no full-out photos of our daughter, until now...

I can't really explain why I didn't want her online. It was more of a feeling than a specific reason. I still feel reluctant, even typing this, and a little anxious. Once I post this, even if I change my mind and delete it, they will ALWAYS be online. And since this wasn't even an option for generations before, I feel like I should wait it out to make sure it's okay that she is up online.

But in 2014, Lilah Grace will be a flower girl TWICE! Such a popular little babe, this one! And I don't want to be "that weird mom" who asks a BRIDE to edit her WEDDING PHOTOS prior to putting them online. We definitely had to go out of our way letting people know NOT to post pictures, everywhere we went these past 3 months. And I think it's time I eased up a little.

I don't want pictures of Lilah bombarding my friends' mini feeds on Facebook, so for now, I am dipping my toe in the water with the blog. I figure, if people are disinterested in seeing baby pics, they don't have to click on the link to see all of these BABY PICS

Also, I don't want photos to be subjected to "likes." Something feels weird about putting my daughter out there on social media, and getting notifications that people "like" it, when she doesn't even know she's online. It's kind of creepy if you think about it... or maybe that's just me being a weird mom again.

I also wanted Lilah Grace to be the first one to decide when/if she had pictures of herself online. But I don't think the world will wait. She'll have friends and family members uploading group photos, and while some of my closest friends have been sweet enough to add stickers to hide her face (thank you Erin and Monica + Jessica!!!), I know they jumped through hoops to accommodate this protective mama.

Before I told everybody, "sure, she can go online now," I wanted to make a debut of some of my favorite pictures from the past 3 months.  All of the photos were taken just to have for ourselves...for her baby book, and for the people in the photo...not for the rest of the world, online. But now I'm opening the floodgates, and trying to go with the flow. So a big thank you to everybody (ESPECIALLY my mom, because I know she's been wanting to put up pictures to show her friends since day one) for respecting our decision to wait. 

I kept these offline in an effort to be protective and private. I still want to protect my daughter and respect her privacy. But in the meantime, I think sharing these photos won't hurt her, and over the next few weeks, I hope to evolve. Instead of seeing her face online and feeling anxious, I want to share photos of her through an artistic medium. When taken with a certain amount of taste, photos capture beautiful (and everyday!) life moments, and often times, memories are only retained through photography. We are lucky to have technology and I should be grateful I will have many memories documented for our daughter.

Our first family picture...after a 22 hour labor and an emergent cesarean. 

Our precious firstborn. Only about a few minutes old.
I do think she resembles George the most, but when I look at my baby pictures, I think she looks like me!
(I'm on the left, LG on the right)

Since I couldn't hold our precious baby for 15 hours, George was the first to feed her and change her diaper. Here is a picture of them, bonding from the beginning. 
We had SO many friends and family members come and visit. Even more than the pictures, because I (surprisingly) didn't always remember to take photos! 


Riding home from the hospital. Precious outfit compliments of Binky.

Her first staged photos...about 2 weeks old.

We took Lilah Grace to Bartlesville for the Indian Dances when she was about 6 weeks old. This was her first time to meet her great-grandparents on the Tinker side, as well as some cousins. 

LG with Grandma T

LG with Grandpa T

LG receiving an Eagle Feather blessing from our cousin, Philip Henry.

Lilah and I both really love the Sakura Bloom sling.

One of my favorite pics of our darling daughter, about 7 weeks old.

Living at home as been such a blessing. Seeing the bond develop between LG and her grandparents + aunt has really warmed my heart.
Enjoying time in the kitchen with "Binky" and "Aunt Roo," making chippers.

My dad, LG's "Papa John," greeting her on a weekday morning. #livingwithmyparentsaintsobad

My mother-in-law has been providing "Play Wisely" lessons for Lilah. These 30 minute sessions are intended to help with brain development.
Joe and George, the two papas of their household, on {George's 1st} Father's Day.  LG is about 6 weeks old here.
Aunt Emma came over to meet our sweet Lilah Grace while she was in town, and even wrote a beautiful poem for our little babe.

On my co-workers' last day (and a non-working day for me), I brought Lilah Grace up to say goodbye. Sharee (left) and her husband, Blake (scrubbed in on the right), were the first to know that Lilah was coming! They are kind, helpful, and TRULY missed. Angela (right) is thankfully not leaving me at work!!! She came and visited us in the hospital. Angela is a great friend and a great mom. I'm grateful to have co-workers that are like family members. 
Uncle Cade dropped by while he was in town to meet our sweet angel! 

There have been countless moments like this. My new favorite place in the world...wherever she is. My new favorite thing in the world...rockin' my baby to sleep.

I never knew I could love so much. I love my husband more than I thought imaginable, and my heart flutters as I watch him love on our daughter when he is home, and as I watch him leave for work early each morning, providing the life I only dreamed of having. Our daughter has been such a catalyst for so much good in our lives. She is the biggest blessing we've ever received, and I am constantly in a state of gratitude for her coming to us and helping us evolve into better versions of ourselves.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

In the Flow.

I am so excited to begin reading "The Untethered Soul" by Michael Singer. It's been a while since I have been intrigued with a spiritually enlightening book, in part because I have been so preoccupied with all that is going on in my life. I have had the most transformative year of my life, morphing from a newlywed into a pregnant woman, and now into a mother. These experience have brought me closer to God and to Life, and I have had many insights and thoughts related to my spirituality that have stemmed from within. But I remember looking outward a few years ago for spiritual inspiration, and finding it in different selections, like "A New Earth," and "Discover the Power Within."

I coincidentally found "Super Soul Sunday" on the OWN network today while channel surfing/nursing my daughter. I LOVE me some Oprah, but haven't tuned in to her station. I feel lighter and compelled to begin reading another one of her recommendations, "The Untethered Soul," after she had a great conversation with the author, Michael Singer. This book is all about realizing the voice within is NOT our identity. The part of us that is aware of these thoughts is our true identity. Our identity is the observer, the see-er.

One poignant excerpt from the book that Oprah shared was a story about the Angel of Death appearing before someone about to die. The person's response was, "Give me one more week! I needed some notice that you were coming!!" and the angel replied, "I gave you 52 weeks just in this past year! I gave you a lifetime." I am admittedly terrified of the concept of death when it relates to those closest to me. I blogged about this back in February when I was pregnant:

"....I'm scared of how much I love people. Because when they leave this dimension, I don't know if I'll be able to cope without them....I can't think about losing my parents, not even for a second...because I've NEVER KNOWN LIFE without them....And my heart breaks for those who have lost their parents, and have to know this pain everyday. Then I think about losing George, and how much of a void I will feel daily, and it makes me so anxious I have to consciously tell myself to stop. And tonight, when I thought about the love I have already for my daughter, and how that love will grow...and how it is not only love, but also RESPONSIBILITY...well, I think I'm already getting a taste of what it's like to be a worrywart mother."

I know that as my faith in God grows, my acceptance of death will also. I also cognitively know that death is inevitable, but I spend most of my time in denial whenever it crosses my mind, because I can't think about it without extreme discomfort. That's not to say that my goal is to get to where thinking of losing my family members will become a comfortable thing! But I think realizing that life is temporary, for ALL of us, and that death is the one common denominator of humanity...might help me live my life to the fullest, and make each day really count.

I want to be a vessel in which God's love can flow. Through me, to those closest to me. I know that I am a spiritual being. What's that expression? We don't HAVE souls...we ARE souls, we HAVE bodies. I believe that. I get choked up when I nurse and rock Lilah Grace to various lullabies, and the Billy Joel lullaby ends with, "Someday we'll all be gone, but lullabies go on and on, they never die, that's how you and I will be." Being a mother, I have felt more fulfilled in my life's purpose. I want to leave a legacy. I want to instill immortal values in my daughter so that long after we are both gone, we left a mark. 

Life has been really smooth lately. George is thriving in his new job. He is the breadwinner. And while I wave my feminist flag with pride, I have realized that gender roles DO work best for our family. I am Lilah's complete source for nutrition at this point. She survives off of me, just like she did in utero. I am proud to say I have the "magic touch" and can calm this little babe when nobody else can. I LOVE BEING A MOMMY! So while I've scaled back at work, I have discovered a new "job" of being a parent, and I love it more than any work I've ever done. It feels so natural. I hate to boast, but I kinda think I'm killin' it at bein' a mom. I've grown so much more patient, and have really calmed down. I love the simple pleasures, because she REMINDS me to stare at the trees and smile. Because she does. And she doesn't even have language to limit her! She's amazing. Also, I have been spending time nesting, deciding how to make our new HOUSE (yay!) more "us." I also think I have a knack for this. And I LOVE IT. I really feel like for a while, George and I were both paddling upstream. And now, we are sailing. We both feel this way...and it might not always be this way...but for now, I'm really enjoying being in the flow.

I'm looking outward for more spiritual inspiration, because I do think the purpose of life is taking off the layers that wrap up our souls. And as I discover more, I will be sure to share! Spirituality and politics are my two favorite topics! Can't get enough! :)