Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Proudest Moments

I don't like saying that I am "proud" of what I am about to write... I tried to find another word for how I feel about what follows, but try as I might, I can only describe it as pride.

I know that pride goes before a fall... so I really DON'T want to say I am proud of the following... but anything else would be a lie.

I am in the full-swing of work this week, and we are so blessed that my parents are here as our full-time day-care and house-keepers for a few weeks.  I don't know what is ahead -- in that I don't know how motherhood will progress from here, if I will be able to stay home, in the future, or what life will look like post-maternity leave.

I want to remember some things from these past 12 weeks that have made me really proud.  I want to remember some aspects of these past 12 weeks that have made me so proud of the wife and mother I have been in these weeks -- the feeling that I have become the wife and mother I've always dreamed of being.  I still have SO many areas where God still wants me to improve... but I have been very proud of the following:

  • Giving birth to Tracey Ann without an epidural.  My love for her enabled me to be stronger than I ever thought possible, and my body naturally handled what it was created to handle.
  • Hubby and me making the necessary sacrifices for me to take an entire 11 weeks, nearly 12 weeks, off from work to stay home with our baby.  Financially, this is not easy for us, but keeping our baby home, out of daycare, and with her Mama is a tremendous priority for us, and we are making the necessary sacrifices.
  • Tracey Ann not only has been exclusively breast fed since she was born, but she has been exclusively BREAST fed.  She did not have her first bottle (of breast milk) until she was ten weeks old, and she is now twelve weeks old, and she has had a total of two bottles in her life.  The only reasons we have given her those bottles is to introduce her to breast milk via bottle before I am 100 miles away at work and her only option for food is a bottle.  Sticking with breast feeding and prioritizing breast feeding is not easy -- I can see why many women, who could breast feed, do not stick with it (I'm not talking about women who are unable to beast feed for a medical reason).  Being a baby's only source of nourishment is not easy, and I am so blessed that my body has been able to support my breast feeding, and I am so proud that I have made this a priority.
  • Tracey Ann is in cloth diapers for most of the day (in disposables at night), and I take such pride in dealing with the hassle of cloth diapers every day, and scrubbing, bleaching, and washing them each night.  I literally scrub her diapers in the sink before washing them in the washing machine to reduce stains, and I am so proud that I am taking the time to do this.  I am helping our family financially, I am working to keep the diapers in good shape so we can use them as long as possible, and I am working to make sure our daughter will remain clean and healthy.  This is the kind of mother I want to be... and this is the kind of mother I have been since Tracey Ann turned 2 months old.
  • Our daughter is our main focus these days... and has a newborn, her needs are our priority.  That being said, I have worked to prioritize the needs of my husband during these months that I've been home.  My full-time job has been to care for our daughter and home, which means, I want to support him in what he needs to do.  Even when I have been tired and discouraged, I have made an effort to put his needs ahead of mine (I am not perfect in this) in order to support him, love him, and display my love and appreciation for him.  I need to say, that my husband makes this very easy, because he often asks me how he can help me with Tracey Ann, so this is a frequent two-way street in our marriage.  I feel like a very good wife when I prioritize the needs and desires of my hubby.
  • The diaper bag has been my purse for these past weeks.  I tried to carry both a diaper bag and a purse out of the house once, and I don't even know if I made it to the car -- TOO MUCH TO CARRY.  My keys, wallet, chapstick, and more have been in the diaper bag, and I love it!  No purse necessary because a diaper bag has come with me everyone I've gone.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Her First Easter Dress

Easter Family Picture
Ever since it started to sink in that I have my very own baby girl, I thought about buying dresses for her.  I got pretty emotional when we took her newborn pictures because I hadn't bought her a special dress for the occasion -- I didn't know I was having a baby girl, and she was only four days at the time, so shopping was not high on my list of priorities at that time.

Even after I COULD have begun shopping for my beautiful baby girl, I held back and told myself that in January, February and March, she just needed warm sleepers, and she was going to outgrow clothes in no time.  Now was not the time to waste our money on cute little dresses.

There was a carrot, however.  There was a treat I was dangling out in front of myself -- the dress I WAS going to allow myself to buy:  Her Easter Dress!

Our happy baby in her Easter dress with her Easter basket

I am of the culture that a little girl gets a new Easter dress every year.  It then becomes her special Spring/Summer dress.  She wears it on Mother's Day, to graduation parties, weddings, and other special events, but it always makes its first appearance on Mother's Day.  Also, a family always takes a picture on Easter morning with everyone all dressed up in their Spring, Easter finest.

I was SOOOO excited to find this dress at Once Upon A Child (no point in buying a brand new dress, when I can buy a slightly-used-but-looks-brand-new dress for 1/10th the cost) for $5.50, and the moment I saw it I KNEW it was my baby girl's first Easter dress.

Her Heisman pose...
I cannot get over how beautiful this baby is!
Grammy and Papa were in town for Easter... and for three weeks to help as Mama heads back to work

Happy Easter from the Millers!
The Easter Bunny found us!

Happy Easter from our family to yours.

Great shot because of the position of the sun -- lousy shot because of the position of the sun!

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!


Happy Easter!

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

New Fave...

Here is my new favorite picture of Tracey Ann.

I think I just have to accept that I'm going to have a new favorite picture of her every few weeks from now until she's married...  With Easter Sunday tomorrow, I hope I'll have a new favorite in less than 24 hours.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Spinning Plates...

I returned to work this week... and it was an "easy" work week at that because the students in my farthest and most invovled school district were on spring break this week.  That meant the majority of my work week was spent on paperwork, emails, scheduling, catching-up, and seeing students nearby.

That being said, it was a really hard week.

I feel like life before Tracey Ann was born was like riding a bike.  I knew how to do it, I knew what to expect... sometimes terrain was more difficult, and sometimes my body was tired... but life and working was like riding a bike.  I rode a bike well.

Then Tracey Ann was born, and I spent the next 11 weeks learning how to spin plates.  Spinning plates on my head and with both hands... I have been slowly but surly learning how to spin plates.

Then, this week, I had to try to put them together.  I had to spin plates while riding a bike.  And suddenly I could no longer do either one well.  All of a sudden I could neither ride a bike nor spin plates well, and all my week consisted of was spills off of my bike, and broken plates.

I know things will get better, and my parents arrive this weekend to help... but this has been a hard week full of bicycle accidents and broken plates.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Love When...

I love when...
  • Tracey Ann stretches her little arms up in the air, stretches her back, arches her neck back, and sticks her little chin out
  • Tracey Ann is fussing in her bassinet, and I walk over to see her and she immediately smiles up at me -- she recognizes me and her whole face lights up
  • I hear my hubby make up songs, words, and notes while singing and talking to our daughter... some of his tones are notes I have never heard before
  • My baby falls asleep in my arms after nursing
  • My baby is fussing and I pick her up and she quiets down
  • Tracey Ann is screaming (more than fussing) and we play "Let It Go" from Frozen, and she inexplicably, but reliably stops crying
  • I'm nursing Tracey Ann, and Lexie jumps up onto the bed next to her, and sniffs her head... and then comes over to my free side so I can pet her
  • My baby smells like milk -- which is almost all the time
  • My husband and I get a few minutes to just delight in our daughter together
  • I nurse Tracey Ann laying down, and I feel her tiny little body right next to mine... it reminds me of when I was pregnant, and I felt her beautiful little body all the time
  • Tracey Ann watches FaceTime with either my parents or Chris' family, and her eyes get big and she smiles at the excited happy faces talking to her
  • Lloyd comes over to Tracey Ann, and she smiles up at him... and then he leans down and gently licks her

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