Dear Wren (2)

Dear Wren,

One month. You are one month old. It has gone by so quickly, the blink of an eye. It’s all a bit of a blur and I’m not sure what has happened in the past month. At the same time, it’s hard to remember what life was like without you. You belong here, with us, and your presence is so natural. You made us a family.

You’re noisy. We’re constantly giggling at the various sounds you make. You grunt and wail and snort and cry and sneeze. I can’t wait to hear you laugh. Your dad was making funny noises for you the other night, and I would swear that you wanted to smile at him. Soon enough.

You’re the best little snuggler. You love nothing more than to be snuggled close to me or your dad – except maybe eating. You like that too. You make really great faces and I could just sit and watch them all day long.

You have so much hair. I got you some new bows in lots of different colors. We wash your hair almost every day, but thankfully you seem to enjoy the experience. You get calm and quiet and close your eyes like you’re getting a spa treatment. You like bath time, but not getting out of the tub. Your dad always tells me my showers are ridiculously long, so I can understand that.

I can’t believe how much I love you. People told me that, but it’s hard to understand until you experience it for yourself. It scares me a little. The enormity of it. It feels raw and vulnerable and huge and engulfing. It’s a part of me that didn’t exist before you. I miss you when you’re asleep.

I thought I was prepared for having a newborn. I wasn’t. I don’t know if there’s anything that can really prepare you for it. It’s really different being the one that is ultimately responsible for the well-being of a very small human. You’re vulnerable and utterly dependent and have so many needs. It’s both the hardest thing and most life-giving thing I’ve ever done to meet them. I delight in caring for you, even in my sleep-deprived state. It requires me to die to myself over and over again, and I know this is just the beginning of this journey called motherhood. I never knew before how much life is to be found in that kind of death.

I’m trying to soak in every moment. I know so soon I will look at you and wonder what happened to my squishy, floppy baby. You’re changing and growing every day and I don’t want to miss or wish away a second of it. Happy one month of life, little one.

Love,

your mama

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Books of the Month: April 2019

  • Ember Falls, SD Smith, children’s fantasy ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is the second book in the Green Ember trilogy. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had not just finished The Wingfeather Saga. They’re fairly similar, and I think The Wingfeather Saga is much better. I do enjoy the characters in these books, although I started to lose track of some of them.

  • Chocolate Cream Pie Murder, Joanne Fluke, mystery ⭐️⭐️⭐️

These books are so bad but for some reason I keep reading them. This is the latest Hannah Swensen book. It was mildly entertaining and I would like to try some of the recipes that were included.

  • Ember Rising, SD Smith, children’s fantasy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is the last book in the series, and in my opinion, by far the best. I read it in about 24 hours because I was enjoying it so much. Then I got to the ending that is not really an ending, which is even more frustrating after just experiencing that with The Wingfeather Saga. I need to go find a book to read with an acceptable amount of closure now.

  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, Matthew Desmond, nonfiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book follows several different families living in Milwaukee and the effects eviction has on them. The stories are true and heartbreaking. It opened my eyes to a reality that I don’t know much about, and reveals yet another broken system. It jumps around from story to story and there is quite a large cast of characters, so that made it difficult for me to be invested in any particular story.

Dear Wren

Dear Wren,

I answered a phone call the other day and the person on the other end asked, “Is this Wren’s mom?” I paused in surprise for a second, and then joyfully answered yes. I’ve never been anyone’s mom before, and now I’m yours.

You’re here. You’re eight days (and five minutes) old. I keep looking at you in amazement and it’s still hard to believe that you’re real. It was you wiggling and kicking me all those months, growing inside me and listening to your dad play the guitar. I can’t believe we get to keep you.

That last week, we were so ready for you to be here. We couldn’t wait to snuggle you and see your face. We talked about having an induction on your due date so my doctor could be there, but I decided I didn’t want to rush you if you weren’t ready. We pushed the date back and continued waiting (im)patiently. I told my doctor when we left the last appointment that I would do my best to see her on Thursday anyway.

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My last picture of you on the inside.

Wednesday night, the night before your due date, we were supposed to get a terrible hailstorm. The start time kept getting pushed back. I left work early because of it, but then your grandma and I went to get our nails done because the storm still hadn’t hit. We went to the grocery store and then came home to relax, waiting for the storm and waiting for you.

The first peal of thunder came around 11:30. With it came the first signs that you were ready to make your appearance. Your dad was still up, so I walked out to the living room. He looked at me and knew. Everything moved pretty quickly after that. I wanted to take a shower before we left, but your dad and grandma were so worried that you were going to come fast that they wouldn’t let me blow dry my hair afterward. We drove to the hospital in the midst of a torrential downpour, so it’s probably good that I didn’t dry my hair anyway.

You were born the next day, April 18, at 11:58 am. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, and certainly the best. It is baptism by fire, becoming a mother, and it’s not for the faint of heart. New life is not cheap – it comes only with great sacrifice. My body for yours. You were brought to new life, and so were we as your parents. The birth of a child and the birth of a family. I’ve never been anyone’s mom before, and now I’m yours.

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One of the most beautiful aspects of this whole experience is seeing how your dad loves you. You’re sleeping in his arms right now, breathing at the same time he does. I knew he would be a great dad, but I don’t have words for how well he is caring for me and for you. You like hearing his voice. I hope you will listen to it for all of your life.

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I think the best word for how I feel right now is overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with joy, gratitude, exhaustion, responsibility, love. I love you more than I can even comprehend. I want you to be healthy and safe and there are so many things I don’t know how to do. We’ll learn together.

Thanks be to God for the good gift that he has given us in you, Wren Elizabeth.

Love,

your mama

Dear Rosabelle (7)

Dear Rosabelle,

You will be here sometime in the next two weeks. It’s surreal. This whole process has gone by in the blink of an eye, and yet it’s hard for me to remember what life was like without someone else sharing my body. I can’t really remember what it’s like to look down and see my feet rather than just my belly. You’re waking up as I type this. I’m feeling you stretch and wiggle and watching my own body stretch in response. It’s hard to believe these days are numbered.

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I have loved every second of carrying you, even the seconds full of puffy feet and painful kicks in my ribs. All of them have been signs of your life and there is so much joy in that. As strange as it sounds to say, I already miss this. It has been the most beautiful thing I have ever done to nurture your life with my own and I’m so thankful for all of it. Soon, you’ll sleep across the room from me. You’ll start to spend days and nights apart from me. I’ll blink and you’ll be in kindergarten. All of that is good and right and beautiful, and watching you grow up will be a whole different kind of joy. It won’t ever be like this again.

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People keep asking me if I’m ready to be done being pregnant. The answer is both yes and no. Yes because I can’t wait to see your face. I’m so excited to hold you in my arms and for your daddy to rock you to sleep and to hear your voice. No because it has all been God’s grace to me. I will miss feeling you move as I go about my day and the constant reminder that I am not my own. The God we serve is a good Father who gives good gifts, and this has been the best one I have ever known.

We’re ready whenever you are, little girl. I’ll see you soon.

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Love,

Me

Books of the Month: March 2019

This was a really slow reading month for me because it was mostly get-ready-to-have-a-baby month. We’ll see if I accomplish anything the rest of the year. 🙂

  • North! Or Be Eaten, Andrew Peterson, children’s fantasy ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This author came to visit our school last year and I have heard so much about this series. This book is the second of four in The Wingfeather Saga. I have honestly been surprised at how much I like it because fantasy is usually not my thing. I really liked the first book. For most of this one, I felt kind of annoyed at the constant escape from perilous situations. It felt like the same thing over and over again. However, the developments at the end were enough to make me really glad I read this one and ready to move on to the next book.

  • The Monster in the Hollows, Andrew Peterson, children’s fantasy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is the third book in The Wingfeather Saga and definitely my favorite so far. I loved the developments in this book and found myself close to tears several times. It is so easy to relate to Janner as a firstborn, with all the responsibility that comes along with that. I can’t wait to get into the fourth book!

  • The Warden and the Wolf King, Andrew Peterson, children’s fantasy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was my favorite of the four books. I loved it and there are so many beautiful things about it. I am, however, very frustrated with the ending and wish there was another book.

  • Persuasion, Jane Austen, classic literature ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I started out trying to listen to this on audiobook and found it difficult to keep all the characters straight. It was much easier with a paper copy. This book has been sitting on my bedside table waiting for me for weeks, and I finally picked it back up and read almost the whole book in a day. I didn’t love it as much as Pride and Prejudice or Emma, but it was still wonderful and I’m so glad I read it. There were several times I laughed out loud or read funny passages aloud to David. Anne wasn’t my favorite of Austen’s heroines but I was invested in her story anyway.

Dear Rosabelle (6)

Dear Rosabelle,

Your due date is five weeks from today. I feel like it was just yesterday that we found out you existed, and now we’re so close to seeing your little face for the first time. According to my apps, you’re the size of a mini-lop rabbit this week. Or maybe a pineapple. How is it possible that my body has expanded to fit a whole pineapple? When we found out about you, you were a poppy seed. You’ve done quite a bit of growing since then.

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We talk about you all the time. I feel like I know you already and I have some ideas about what your personality will be like. I have good news for you: your name is still not actually Rosabelle, and we have a pretty good idea of what it’s going to be. I want to see you before we decide definitively. Kaelyn is still insisting that Rosabelle is the best name, so you may have a cousin with that name someday.

Things are getting real. Your dad and I put your crib together last night. It’s all set up, right next to our bed because that’s the only place it fits. It was actually an easier process than I expected. I hope I still feel the same way after we install your car seat and build a couple more pieces of furniture.

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I thought this week, my last break from school before you arrive, was going to be so productive. I had grand plans of what I would accomplish before the week was out. Yesterday I felt pretty overwhelmed by the to-do list that seems to only be getting longer, not shorter.  It’s probably really good for me to get used to things not happening on my timeline. I know it will always feel like there is so much that needs to be done and not enough time to do it. I also know that you aren’t going to care what the decor looks like on the walls when you get here, or if your clothes are all organized by size and season. You just need us to be ready to love you and take care of you, and we are so ready for that.

Love,

Me

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Books of the Month: February 2019

  • My Man Jeeves, PG Wodehouse, short stories ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was another book I got from Book Girl. It is a collection of short stories, mainly about English aristocrat Bertie Wooster and his manservant Jeeves, but there were a few about Reggie Pepper too. This collection was originally published about a hundred years ago so there is some pretty funny British slang. The stories are all just silly and fun. Jeeves manages to get Bertie out of quite a lot of scrapes and also helps him with fashion advice. I think this would be a good one for kids to listen to on road trips because you can just do one short story at a time and they will keep you entertained.

  • The Green Ember, S.D. Smith, children’s book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The author of this series is coming to my school to speak this week, so I read this in preparation. The main characters are Heather and Picket, a rabbit sibling duo. They learn pretty early on in the book that there is more to the world they live in than they realize, and then they go on to have lots of adventures. Honestly a lot of the elements of the plot seemed pretty similar to The Wingfeather Saga to me, but there are some major differences too. I liked it enough to buy the rest of the series.

  • Rich People Problems, Kevin Kwan, fiction ⭐️⭐️1/2

This was the last book in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. I think I liked each book in the series progressively less. There are too many characters and too many parallel storylines, and I got bored with almost all of them. It felt like it ended pretty abruptly and so many of the stories were underdeveloped.

  • The Black Star of Kingston, S.D. Smith, children’s novella ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is a world-building novella that is part of The Green Ember series, and is recommended to be read after the first book. It’s a quick read and I enjoyed the extra history.

  • An Anonymous Girl, Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen, thriller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is the second book I have read from this author duo. I really loved the first one I read, The Wife Between Us. I enjoyed this one too and it was a good change of pace from what I’ve been reading. The narrator switches between Jessica, a girl who gets involved in a morality study, and Dr. Shields, the person running the study. It brings up a lot of interesting moral quandaries and the story was intriguing. It kept me interested the whole way through.

  • Raspberry Danish Murder, Joanne Fluke, mystery ⭐️⭐️⭐️

These books are so silly, but I love them. This is part of the Hannah Swensen series. Hannah is a Minnesota resident and cookie bakery owner, and pretty much everyone in her town gets murdered at some point in the series. She always solves the cases while baking a lot along the way. They are super light-hearted despite each one being centered around a murder, and there are lots of delicious cookie recipes between chapters.

  • Christmas Caramel Murder, Joanne Fluke, mystery ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is the same series as the previous book – just a shorter, Christmas-themed one.

  • Christmas Cake Murder, Joanne Fluke, mystery ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Okay, with this book I caught up with the series. It was also a shorter one and Christmas-themed. It was kind of a prequel and told the story of how Hannah started her bakery. It’s the only one in the series that doesn’t center around her solving a murder.

  • Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens, classic literature ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Charles Dickens and I have heretofore not had a good relationship. It all started with reading (not reading) Great Expectations freshman year of high school. I still think it was a grave mistake to have curriculum jumping from The Giver in the previous year to Dickens. Don’t get me wrong, The Giver is great, but you are not ready for Great Expectations when that’s what you’re used to reading for school. Attempting to read that before I was ready for it left a bad taste in my mouth that stayed with me for close to fifteen years. I just did that math a couple times to be sure. It’s a little hard for me to believe I’m that far removed from freshman-in-high-school-Kendalyn. Since I recently tried again with Jane Austen and was delighted with my experience, I thought it might be time to try again with Charles. My previous familiarity with Oliver Twist was limited to a vague memory of the Wishbone episode about it and the quote, “Please, sir, I want some more.” This is the first time I was really able to appreciate the mastery of Charles Dickens. I listened to it on audiobook and there were several times I found myself pausing it to marvel at his command of the English language after hearing a phrase that caught my fancy. I loved the character of Oliver and wanted to take him home with me and give him a proper meal and take care of him. This is probably also the first time I actually understood what was happening while trying to read something by Dickens, so I’m sure that helped with my enjoyment of the experience. I’m a little sad this one is over.