then I loved my mother more

I have always loved my mother. Of course we had our moments where we fought like sisters and Dad would have to tell us to each go to our rooms – hello, high school – but I have always loved my mom. Respected her. Thanked God for her because I knew she was something special. I grew up, got married, and she became my best friend.

Then I got pregnant.

Then I was in labor for hours and hours and pushed for what felt like eternity.

Then I brought our baby girl home and struggled through the ups and downs of those first few weeks with a tiny human to care for around the clock.

Then I loved my mother more.

I related to her in a new way – through the lens of a tired, joyful, overwhelmed young mama who for the first time appreciated the woman who years ago had prayed for God to allow her to keep this baby after so much loss. My mother – who was told by doctors her baby would be born with too may birth defects and should be aborted. Who, along with her husband, prayed feverishly in secret for the remainder of her pregnancy for a healthy baby girl with all of her fingers and toes. A woman who was in labor for hours and hours and cried happy tears when her baby was laid on her chest, perfectly healthy.

When I was in labor, my sweet husband stood beside me and my mom often came to my other side to check on me. To cheer me on. Once our baby girl arrived and family was allowed in the room she came right to my side, checking on me first before delicately holding our baby tightly in her arms. Beaming from ear to ear. Of all the major life moments we had shared, this was the most profound. She had birthed me, and now helped me to give birth to my own baby girl. Different years, different hospital rooms, same love.

After we came home from the hospital, Mom stayed with us for a week, easily one of the most special times in my life. I cried the afternoon she drove away, thinking of her in a new light. How she was once a brand new mom with a brand new baby that she had prayed for and fought for. How she once woke up with me on the hour every hour to nurse me back to sleep and then watched me to make sure I was still breathing. How she leaned on her husband, my dad, for support and encouragement when the mom thing was new and scary and exciting. I thought of my mom, now a Nana, and for the first time I started to understand the gravity and intricate joy, and pain, of motherhood.

How could I love her more?, I thought. But somehow, I did.

I’ll love you forever, Mom.

sometimes you can’t have both

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I’m not sure when I became a neat freak. I remember the days when Mom had to practically bribe me to pick up the clothes strewn across my room but oh man sometime between middle school and marriage I changed. I like the house to be clean. Tidy. No mess in the kitchen and no clothes on the floor. My husband called me Monica Geller the other day because I told him I couldn’t rest until I at least took care of the dirty dishes in the sink. Yep, being an adult is weird sometimes.

Beds made and floors cleaned – I’m a happy girl.

No one told me I couldn’t have that and a child too, but it wasn’t long before I realized I would stress myself into a heart attack if I continued in my neat freak ways. Annie is only five months old but she is a messy little princess. She drools, knocks things over, poops on EVERYTHING and grabs everything in her reach – and she’s not even crawling yet. Her latest obsession is laughing at herself in the mirror and then kissing herself, and whoever is holding her, by kissing the mirror. I cannot express to you how much joy she gets out of doing this and how magical it is to be apart of.

The other day Annie was playing in the living room with Taylor so I was busy trying to fold the massive mound of laundry on the twin bed in her nursery. I was furiously folding tiny onesies and towels, noting the next item I would tackle on my tidy to-do list before she needed to eat again when I noticed the mirror. It’s an antique mirror that hangs above the rocker and her favorite to laugh at and kiss while I’m holding her. We start most every day singing songs and giving kisses in the mirror and I noticed every square inch was smudged. Smudged with the remnants of sweet, drooly baby kisses.

That’s when I realized that maybe I can’t have both right now. I can either spend time doing laundry and making sure all the mirrors are sparkling or I dance around the kitchen like a lunatic to make my baby girl belly laugh. I can either embrace the mess or miss this sweet season that goes by too fast.

I choose drooly kisses and smudgy mirrors.

Everything else can wait.

xo

 

Friday Faves

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[ the sweetest gift for Baby Annie from a dear friend ]

The sun is shining and it’s going to be a beautiful weekend! If you’re lucky enough to be able to spend some time with your Mom this weekend love on her and hold her tight! Have a good one, lovelies. xo

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[ progress at the new house ]

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[ 23 weeks and it’s getting real ]

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[ playtime with these loves ]

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[ ladies who lunch ]

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[ I love her lots and lots ]

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[ always so much fun with this girl ]

All the Things My Mom Got Right

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I love my mother dearly, this is true, but of course there were those super fun teenage years where I didn’t always like her so much. She didn’t know anything. She used to say to me all the time,”I hope I live to see you with your own daughter.” That is exactly why I felt a itty bitty flicker of panic when it finally set in I’ll have a daughter of my own soon. Now yes, I was young and eventually grew up enough to realize my mom does know everything. She always has. She’s the most important woman in my life. I love her and I like her and I’m so thankful to have her in my life in such a major way. As I think about how I’ll have my own baby girl come September my mind wanders to all the ways Mom got it right. From the big moments to the smallest gestures she shaped me into me through just being her, and I want to be that shining light to Annie. I want to get it right. I could list far more but here are my top fifteen:

She was my stage mom with a level head

She taught me how to love the Lord above all else

She didn’t allow me to pierce my ears until age 12 (and then walked around the mall with me for a solid 20 minutes since I was so nervous I almost threw up)

She let me be myself

She showed me what a loving wife looks like

She taught me you’re never full dressed without mascara and a little lip color

She let me cry it out when I needed to and pushed me to get over it when I needed to

She laughed a lot and taught us to not take ourselves too seriously

She picked her battles and didn’t disown me after I ruined her antique coffee table with nail polish remover

She never allowed me to disrespect her

She never missed a practice, game, school presentation, show or event

She showed me how to be a real preacher’s wife

She never allowed me to quit anything

She spoke the truth even when it hurt

She sacrificed for me and loved me unconditionally

Monthly Pregnancy Update: 20 Weeks

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You can’t see me right now but I’m doing a major happy dance! Maybe it was the Coke I treated myself to at lunch OR maybe it was hearing our sweet doctor say “she’s perfect” after our anatomy scan this morning. I started crying and Taylor cheered and it was incredible. We were understandably a bit anxious for our big appointment this morning but it was the most beautiful 50 minutes of watching our sweet baby girl wave, kick her legs, change positions ten times and dance around. I am continuously in awe of how awesome our God is!

Baby’s size: A banana

I’m feeling: Great! My energy is back and I’ve been capitalizing on that by hitting the gym a few times a week and trying out some new recipes in the kitchen. I’m also a little in shock that I’m already halfway through this pregnancy – how did that happen?

Foods I could eat forever: Cheese, eggs, broccoli, french fries and anything sweet.

Foods I cannot imagine eating: Scallops (yikes) and anything Mexican (still).

Currently wearing: Yoga pants, flowy tops and I’m officially in maternity jeans.

Pros of April: Feeling the first real kick and seeing our sweet girl today!

Cons of April: Lots of gas. All the time. Poor Taylor.

Looking forward to: Some fun date nights with Taylor and starting renovations on our new house!

Favorite scripture at the moment: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” [ Psalm 139:13-14 ]

Be Still & Know: A Lesson Learned From Locking Myself Out of the House

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Yep, I definitely locked myself out of our house today. After I finished work for the day I decided to take Buddy for a walk to meet Taylor, who was finishing up at the office, and for whatever reason I didn’t bring my phone or keys. The church is right down from our house and Taylor would have keys, I thought. Well long story short he was upstairs and couldn’t hear me banging on all the doors so I walked back home and did the only thing I could do: sit on the back deck and wait.

If you know me at all you know that unless I am sleeping I am rarely still or quiet. I like to go go go and tonight I had “a million things to do” so I was annoyed that I was resigned to sit in silence. At first I thought about all the things I needed to be doing – laundry, start dinner, write that thank you note, send that email about that thing I forgot about earlier, etc. I was mad at myself for forgetting my phone because at least if I had brought that I could call Taylor or text friends or check my email/Instagram/all the things.

Then after ten minutes or so a magical thing happen – I stopped thinking about my to-do list and looked up. I noticed all the massive trees in our back yard are starting to fill up with the greenest leaves.  I soaked in the sunshine and sprawled my legs out. I watched Buddy’s ears flop with each big breeze and I listened as a bird sang the prettiest little tune.

Once I stopped fretting about how “busy” I was I allowed myself to see God everywhere. In everything.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” [ Psalm 46:10 ]

You see I’ve always loved that psalm but I’ve never been too good at applying it in my every day life. We’re all so busy with all the things – family, friends, church, work – and God wants us to be still? Sometimes, most of the time, it just doesn’t seem possible but it’s in those rare moments where we are still that we reconnect with our Creator.

We live such fast-paced, frantic lives so its no surprise that being still doesn’t come naturally for most of us. But by seeking stillness we are basically saying, “Nothing else is as important to me as You in this moment, Lord.” God wants to be #1 in our life because He loves us so much – we can make time for quiet time with Him despite our schedules. Tonight on the back porch without all the distractions I was able to simply be still and remind myself what’s most important…and suddenly everything on my to-do list didn’t seem so pressing. xo

5 Lessons Learned While House Hunting

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Let me start by admitting proclaiming that I am a devoted HGTV viewer, borderline junkie. I blame my parents really, who have embraced the channel for as long as I can remember and almost always have it on in the house. With the exception of Fixer Upper, House Hunters has always been my favorite because what’s not to love? You get to help a nice couple choose the perfect house that fits their lifestyle and dog best from three very different options. Rarely are there major issues and you don’t have to sit through all the gritty details including finding a realtor, getting the loan approved, all the underwriting, actual moving, etc.

You can imagine my excitement when Taylor suggested we start looking at houses to buy a few months ago! Searching for our first house to buy together = MAJOR! Visions of the two of us touring gorgeous homes with perfect light while that upbeat HGTV background music played lightly was exactly what I saw in my head. Oh, how wrong I was! The entire ordeal was fun but at times incredibly frustrating, however Taylor and I got pretty lucky finding our place after only a couple weeks of searching – more on that later! We learned quite a bit on our roller coaster to finding our sweet house, including:

Location is King

You can find the house of your dreams but if it’s on the worst street in five blocks you have to say no thanks, no matter how pushy the seller is. We learned real quick that we needed a quiet street that’s ideal for walking with nice neighbors AND has strong resale value.

If there are no photos then the seller is more than likely trying to hid something

For us, on houses we visited that had missing photos of certain rooms it was because the rooms were so tiny. And I admit, if we had known how tiny the room was, we wouldn’t have visited. So they want to intrigue your curiosity and get you there so you can at least see the rest of the house.

What you want in the beginning may change as you go through the process

We found this incredible house on day one and were infatuated with its classic lines and charming white picket fence. After a couple tours of said house we realized we didn’t need that much space (hello, upkeep) so we shifted our focus. After touring many other houses we learned we loved a large backyard but not three acres and that an open floor plan was ideal for our growing family. What we wanted at the start evolved and changed into so much more at the end.

Your realtor isn’t the end all be all 

With this being our first house, we relied heavily on our realtor for the first week or so until we realized we needed to be proactive in the process, too. We spent extra time researching homes in the area, best practices for first-time home buyers, and asked our parents a million questions. Knowledge is power and we learned so much from not just giving the reins to our realtor.

Go with your gut

Real talk: I said more than once “Who would live here?” and “Who would put a master bedroom off the kitchen?” Some houses were just not good and didn’t feel welcoming in the slightest. When we walked into the house we will Lord willing own by Monday afternoon, it felt right. I could see our furniture fitting perfectly and future dinner parties in the open dining room laughing with our friends and family. I could see it all and Taylor could too – we put in an offer that week and the rest is history! xo