Some Days Will Break You…

…and last week was some of those days. 

Do you ever feel that way?? Totally defeated? A failure? The absolute worst?

I’m reading a Motherhood Devotional that my Mother-in-law gave me and stumbled upon these words;

“There are a million ways to be good enough, the first of which is to keep trying.”

That. Right there. 

I love my daughter. I love my husband. I love my home. 

But there are days that the house legitimately looks like it’s been robbed (my blog name is no joke). There are days that I honestly don’t know if I hugged my husband. There are days where no less than five times a day my daughter screams at me while kicking and pushing because she’s so tired but also teething three monster teeth. 


And I’m a perfectionist who’s never perfect, so I’m already losing right out of the gate.

I so often forget that A. I’m human. B. No one but me is expecting perfection. C. I can’t possibly be the only mother to cry into my coffee after the third night of teething horror. 

The perfectionist in me needs to let go of what I expect Motherhood to look like. Because it will never look like that. I need to acknowledge in myself that being the perfect mother means taking a deep breath and trying again. 

The beauty of this vocation isn’t in the Instagram-worthy moments. It’s in the blessing that I am always challenged to better myself and realize my own limitations.

ANNNND since I’ve been gone forever and a day….here’s a photo dump of all our Holidays! Happy Thanksgiving/Merry Christmas/Happy New Year from the Pearson’s!



Advertisements

World Adoption Day!!

In our family, adoption has always always always been close to our hearts. It’s no secret we’re pro-life (every life!), but it’s so much more personal than that. It gave us the ability to BE a family (and while we definitely hope to someday adopt, that’s not how).

Our family IS a family because on April 13th, 1992, a birth mother in Hong Hong chose life (…and before you say “Wait! I thought he’s Filipino?!”…he is. Just like I’m Irish. The end). We’re also ABLE to be a family because in the fall of that same year, my Mother-in-law and Father-in-law saw a picture of that little boy in a Hong Kong orphanage and said “That’s our son.”


Adoption was (and is) a loving, sacrificial choice that created a family.

His birth mother could have so easily felt like she had no options for life. My in-laws could have just as easily chosen another little boy’s picture. But I thank God daily that they all chose adoption .

I’m grateful that the birth-grandmother of my daughter chose adoption. I’m equally grateful that my baby’s grandparents brought their son to the States and raised him to be the man, husband, and father he is.


Adoption is certainly not without pain. I can’t comprehend what a birth-mother feels, or parents of a failed adoption, but it’s certainly a pain that is accompanied by the greatest, most vulnerable, Christlike form of love. 

There’s an Oil for That…

I’ve officially entered the Essential Oil using world. 

I’m mildly obsessed.

I never ever used Oils. Looking back that seems really surprising. Never? And yet practically every friend of mine seems to swear by them?? Clearly I wasn’t having the right conversations.

I was finally introduced to essential oils through a fellow UDer, the lovely Catherine of The Simple Essential Life. She gave me a sample of lavender because when she asked me what I needed help with, I said SLEEP. It’s the truest thing. Sleep is what I think about most of my waking hours. So, I was super psyched to try anything at all that might help!

My daughter is beautiful. Funny. Sweet. Loving. But she has always become a gremlin when it came to bedtime. I’m talking screaming and kicking. I read all the things. Maybe she was going down too early? Nope. Maybe too late? Nope. Solid bedtime routine? We were just getting better at that…but every time we got to laying down she freaked out again. 

The irony is she’s usually a champion sleeper (when cosleeping. But that’s a completely different story). 

So I tried the lavender.

Omg.

That first night, I mixed it with coconut oil and used it instead of lotion for her massage. Awesome. Then the tricky part…

I dabbed a couple spots on the bed where we sleep. I laid down with her and was instantly taken back to my best friend’s house at a sleep over (weird right? Wrong. Apparently her mom used essential oils religiously. Go figure!). She relaxed and fell asleep nursing within 5 minutes (duh! You nursed her to sleep. Easy out. Not my child. My child is the most restless nurser ever.).

I was hooked. 

Now we’re in love with Peppermint. Looooooove. I don’t react well to coffee…but a couple drops of peppermint in a glass of water = feeling more awake than I’ve felt since pre-pregnancy! And as Maria is currently trying to pull down our entire stack of dvds…feeling awake is my friend. 

I’m excited!! I can’t wait to share all the awesome smelly goods, scientific facts, and practical uses!! 

Now… I’m on a quest to protect my terrified dog from a grabby crawler. Pray for me.

When a Man Becomes a Daddy

Parenthood is not for the faint of heart (nor is the TV show…so. many. TEARS!). It can make you into a comPLETEly different person. It forces you to confront the good, the bad, and the ugly (those 12am, 3am feedings, man. I feel like you shouldn’t be culpable for what’s said in those wee hours).

And it can also transform the man you love into a daddy braver than the bravest knight.

I loved my husband the moment I met him (as I always told my students, our story is my FAVORITE story…). And from that moment he already would’ve taken a bullet for me. 

But his little girl. 

It’s just the most beautiful thing in the world to watch them love each other. 

(Did they get each other right of the bat?? Nooooo…but newborns are tricky, and this is our guinea pig child. So learning must happen.)

I think something starts to click in a man the minute they see those two lines. Maybe guys are faced with all their insecurities, or they watch their freedom flash before their eyes…I can’t pretend to know. I DO know that I watched Mark become a Daddy physically and mentally the moment I came gasping out of that bathroom. In the moment he knew teeny cells had formed a new person, he was emphatically in love.

I’m the worst at being taken care of sometimes. My poor husband wants to protect me from any and all dangers, and I just run around in bare feet, climbing all the things. Pregnant even. So we had many a talk about staying safe, keeping babe safe, and not living THAT close to the edge. And when you have a man who cares for the two of you that deeply that it hurts him to see either of you in danger…you swallow your silly, independent, stubborn pride, and ask someone else to climb on that counter (except at school…where I gave my students heart attacks by climbing on top of desks 9 months pregnant…)

 After dealing with my reckless self, Mark takes no risks with his little girl. It drives the poor guy crazy when I let her sit knowing she’ll bonk her head and cry (babies’ heads bonk occasionally…I swear she’s fine). I think her cries hurt him more than me. That goober man would do absolutely anything to make her smile.


But the bestest way he protects her is not something physical at all. It’s himself. It’s awe inspiring how hard he works to improve himself and how much he sacrifices to be the man for her. The man she can look up to and depend on. A model for how her future husband should act. 

He is our St. Joseph. A man who isn’t perfect. But a man who moves mountains (or climbs them) to protect his family.

 He’s not perfect. But he constantly chooses to try.

(You get us, Anne)

7 Quick Takes

We learned our lesson. Never move without a Grandma or host of big kids to entertain baby! (Moving while teething is no picnic either) That said…we did it! It’s a mess…our lives are swamped by cardboard boxes…but we moved.

And I’m linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes for the first time because my thoughts are as random as our current living quarters.

~1~

Making an Apartment a Home Takes Some Doing.
…but a classmate of mine wrote an awesome post about why it matters. And I think it’s inspired. So…one room at a time, I’m working at this home making thing (when Maria let’s me. Because clearly she’s the boss). I might share the finished products as they come…and I might not (mainly because I might be too embarrassed by how many millions of years it’ll take me).

But I WILL do it. Slowly.

 ~2~

We’ve Entered the Land of Giggles and Smiles!

After what felt like issue after issue, Maria has FI-NA-LLY taken a detour from the Constant Grumps Highway. Now it’s all sunshine and sparkles (Ha. No. She’s a baby. Tears and screeches are still rampant.) But it IS wonderful. She smiles and laughs, and she seems to ACTUALLY enjoy us. 6 months. I didn’t believe it when people told me that was the turning point. People…for us it’s a thing.

How long it’ll be a thing?? Probably just about 3 weeks…then something else will happen. It always does. But for now? Wow.

~3~

What Even IS This Election??

I mean…seriously.


    

~4~

Fall Has ARRIVED!!!!!!

And rain and cozy blankets and hot coffee and soup and jackets and…

… probably by next week it’ll be hell hot again here in Texas. But for now it’s wonderful. Having grown up in CT and Upstate NY, I really took Fall for granted. Then I moved to Texas, and now I savor every orange/red/golden leaf I see.

 ~5~

Shining Light Dolls Are THE Best!

If you’re in the market for baby toys…one that’s the right size to not get choked on, but just right for gnawing on …this is it. We got ours as a gift from the uncle and aunt who spoil us so, and it’s LITERALLY the only thing Maria wants lately.


~6~

Essential Oils…Where Have You Been All My Life??

But for real. Lavender EO… I honestly think it saved bedtime. And nap time (Have I mentioned Maria was the WORST at sleeping?? Staying asleep is still a work in progress…but falling asleep is FINALLY peaceful!!). I’m hooked. If you’re looking to try some and support two AWESOME women…go here or here. I am. Cuz have I mentioned I’m hooked??

~7~

 12 Weeks Till Christmas…

…too soon?? Alrighty then….

8 Weeks till Thanksgiving!!!

Enjoy the Fall-ish Weather!!

Sometimes Beauty Sucks

In a previous post, I mentioned that beginning nursing was really difficult. But let’s be real. It sucked. And to be honest, sometimes it still sucks (yeah, teething, I’m looking at you…)

I know so many mothers who LOVE nursing. They found it beautiful. They bonded. They looked lovingly into their baby’s eyes. Then they cried when baby started to wean.

I will NOT cry (well, actually I probably will…but I cry about everything baby related. Just ask my husband…) because my nursing reality looks more like an MMA fight than a beautiful, bonding experience (unless you consider kicking, scratching, and screaming a bonding experience…)

My grievances thus far:

  • Sucky sucky latch for the first two months (ha! Get it? Sucky? Cuz she didn’t?….but seriously. A Nipple Shield saved us)
  • Short/inverted nipples (real breastfeeding talk y’all)
  • PAIN-FUL LATCH (for months!)
  • Slow letdown/under-supply (and baby screams at you because it’s just. too. slow.)
  • The inability to nurse in public (Seriously…my daughter gets MAJOR stage fright when people are around)
  • Forceful letdown/OVERsupply (it sounds great after dealing with a low supply right?? Wrong. Say goodbye to comfort nursing and nursing to sleep…and hello gagging every. time. she eats)
  • STRONG left-side preference (I can’t look at myself in the mirror without laughing)
  • Months of needing to bounce to nurse…
  • Followed by months of needing to lay down to nurse (while infinitely better than bouncing, it makes nursing in public suuuuuper tricksy, as if it wasn’t already)
  • Teething (those sore little gums want nothing to do with sucking…)
  •  D-MER (literally the worst. It’s a hormone-induced panic attack every time I have a letdown) 

Ha. It sure looks like a lot. But just you ask any nursing mom if she’s dealt with these. I’m pretty sure the list might be longer. (Like that beast, Mastitis. Shudder.)

      So…why am I still nursing if it sucks so much? 

      And also because I’m lucky I can. Regardless of what people say, breastfeeding isn’t always natural  (maybe if you birthed a 4 month old it would be). Sometimes it doesn’t work. And sometimes babies go to heaven too soon after birth. And sometimes baby gets carried up before birth. No amount of breastfeeding struggles can compare to that. 

      I’m beyond blessed to have a healthy (chunky!) baby girl, and regardless of how much it sucks, it’s actually nourishing her. And I DO think it’s beautiful…just very hard sometimes. So I’ll keep at it for however long she wants it. And I’m already praying that next time around it won’t be like this. 

      But for real. It better be smooth sailing.

      Maria’s Grand Entrance

      I’m in love with birth stories. To be fair I only discovered blog birth stories after my own little one’s birth. I think there’s something spiritual during a birth that unites all mommies together. So, if you’re a lover of birth stories like I am…enjoy. If not, you’ve been warned.

      At 39 weeks, I was des-pe-rate to not be pregnant anymore. Despite an awful first/second trimester (yay puke....), my last trimester had actually been great (my DI team had even won 5th place at the regional tournament!). Still…unless you’ve experienced the need to pee every. two. minutes, you don’t understand how BADLY I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. 

      So of course we walked, ate spicy foods, bounced on the birthing ball …and I couldn’t sneeze without thinking it was time.


      Literally the longest week of my life.

      After a day of fasting for Good Friday (thank you husband for doing the actual fasting!), my husband and I finally admitted to ourselves that baby must not be ready. So after a week of painful Braxton Hicks, we decided to let go and let God.

      Saturday, Holy Saturday, 6am, I woke up to baby knocking on my cervix.

      I’d read that if you really want a natural birth at a hospital, you should take your time getting there. So against the wishes of a concerned husband and mom (who consequently was flying from NY to TX at the time), I took my sweet time. I showered , did my hair, packed last minute things…and leaned over the sink/bed/husband because I was contracting every three minutes. But I knew I wasn’t working yet, so no worries.

      When my husband FINALLY got me out the door… I was working. Smiles were gone. Deep, slow breaths and silence was how we drove the whole 30 minutes to the hospital. It was perfect. It was part of our plan.

      The moment they checked me, I was 3 measly cm. I started panicking; how on EARTH was I gonna make it without pain meds if I was just 3cm? After an hour and a half of walking the hospital, I jumped from 3cm to 7cm. Just hearing 7cm gave me the courage to push through.

      We labored for what felt like both minutes and days at the same time (in reality, from 6am to pushing, it was more like 7hrs). Mark totally earned his stripes as a Birthing Coach. After fasting the day before, and heading straight to the hospital that morning, he had zero food…but was calm, comforting, and spoke confidence into me through every. awful. contraction. What a man. Obviously I never acknowledged it at the time…but I couldn’t have made it without him. 

      The entire labor was a blur of pain and breathing. But I felt in control. We had a system to working through the contractions, our nurses were amazing and never got in the way, and we were mostly pain med free (I was taking an occasional sniff of the laughing  gas, but it made me nauseous…soooo no). I was working with the contractions just like we’d planned.

      I felt that primitive urge to push it OUT, and about half an hour later, everyone started shouting “Look at all that hair!”

      But then her head came out and the delivery room changed instantly. The cord was around her neck and constricting the farther she came. God bless my awesome doctor…she was clamped, cut, and I was pushing out her shoulders in seconds. But it was silent.

      They put her on my chest, but only long enough for me to see a blue, silent, not-breathing baby. I started asking no one in particular what was wrong, was she ok, why couldn’t I hear her. A billion doctors came into my little room, and I prayed. I begged her to cry. 


      Then a tiny meow came from across the room. With lots of effort, she was giving me her darnedest. People were telling me about fluid in the lungs and precautionary x-rays. I just wanted her safe and with me. But I accepted just safe, so long as Daddy was with her. They let me give her a quick kiss and my husband followed a team of doctors out of the room. 

      I waited. Alone. Aside from the doctor who was stitching me up. None of this was part of the birth plan. We were going to do delayed cord clamping. I was supposed to hold her to my chest before they could even clean her. They were going to leave her on me during my entire hour-long recovery, then wheel us together to our own private room.

      Instead I was clinging to my phone while the doctor quietly went about his work. Knowing Daddy was watching her was comforting…but I was supposed to be her first cuddle. She should have been in my arms, smelling my smell. I spent the next hour alone and waiting. While my precious little one, who I’d held in my belly for 9 Months but saw for a half second, went through needles and scans without Momma’s comfort. 

      The worst hour of my life.

      I was finally wheeled up to the NICU to see her, and…sweet babe that she is…she wailed me in. She has SOME pipes. But she was beautiful and healthy and LOUD! Ever since she’s been making up for not crying right out of the gate. 

      Looking around that NICU, with my chunky, observant, boisterous baby, Mark and I were almost embarrassed by how lucky we were. All around us were babies smaller than a hand. Parents were anxious. Exhausted. Scared. I had one hour of panic. They’d had days, weeks, months…and they weren’t getting their roly baby in just a few hours.

      After four more hours, we got Maria back for good (you couldn’t pry her away from me with a crowbar…just ask my mother!…sorry mom…). I cuddled, squeezed, kissed (experienced the horrors of first-time nursing! But that’s another story…), and I felt so incredibly grateful that she was alive and HEALTHY. Those first moments of our new family all alone in the hospital room, Mark and I kept thinking about the babies still in there. About the mommies and daddies not able to cuddle their babes. We almost felt guilty. But she was with us. And we were all together. And I prayed for all those  mommas still waiting.

      And then Mark ate for the first time in 24 hours. 

      Daydreaming Pitfalls 

      We’re moving! Into the same apartment complex!! (Bee-LIEVE me…moving from a 1 bedroom to a  2 bedroom is super exciting…yay for a washer/dryer!

      As thrilling as this move is…it’s gotten us daydreaming further down the road. To our dream house. Mark’s list of demands:

      • A roof
      • A kitchen 
      • Safe place to live 

      Ahem…my list of demands:

      • Porch
      • Porch swing 
      • Big yard
      • Big trees
      • NO STAIRS 
      • Open floor plan 
      • Bay window 
      • LOTS of windows 
      • Forever and ever amen

      Luckily, I’m pickier in my dreams than in reality. 

      There’s so many people our age in the same boat (or different boat, but  we’re at least in spitting distance of eachother). We yearn for that home, that stability, that forever feel. So we make plans, save every penny, and look towards the future.

      And that’s not wrong! (Hello…Melissa Pearson…current member of Daydreamers Anonymous)

      Making plans is beautiful! It drives us to better ourselves. It gives us something to work towards.


      However, personally…I sometimes notice it takes away the joys of right now. Believe you me…it’s not just apartment v. house either. First it was “Gah! I can’t wait till you’re old enough to JUST NURSE.” Now we’re teething, and I spend hours bouncing a screaming baby thinking, “I can’t wait till your teeth come out!!” And of course there’s the ever present, “When the next baby comes along…[insert baby dream here].”

      All legit dreams. 

      But my husband pointed out to me recently that sometimes I look at our daughter like a time bomb.

      And he’s not wrong


      As difficult as it is, I’m finding I need to take a step back and appreciate where I am for whatever it is. I can’t let God live in moments I never give Him (and there’ve been quite a few of those). Because honestly, my baby and my dog don’t care if we’re moving to our dream home. They do care that  I scratch bellies and kiss chubs (dog and baby respectively).


      So, I’m trying not to focus so much on the “Once I have…then I will”s, and more on the right here moments. Even when they’re messy. Because God is in those moments too.

      With that mindset as we move, I keep thinking I may not have my forever place…but this world isn’t meant for forevers…it’s meant for right nows. (And cuddles and giggles and screams etc etc)

      Charity Starts at Home

      Part of me thinks I should just not write on this topic…because I’d already written an entire post complete with pictures and links…then baby woke up. And somehow it vanished. Well…here I go again.

      My husband constantly reminds me that I have the most important job: raising our chub-muffin.


      I’m so grateful that he sees/helps me see my mothering vocation that way. Because I’m naturally a down-on-myselfer. I’m working on that.

      I’m sure I’m not the only one who does that (even though when you’re in the trenches, it sure feels like it). It’s just so easy to think there’s no merit to what you do. 

      But every human was put on this earth for a reason. It’s up to each of us to live up to it.

      I’m not a missionary, doctor, or Saint (aim for heaven, fall in purgatory…or something like that). I certainly don’t feel like I’m changing the world while I change my squirmy worm for the millionth time amidst banshee screams. 


      That’s where I’m a thousand percent wrong. (And also if you don’t know what a banshee is, go watch this movie. You’re welcome. Now back to charity…)

      There’s a reason people hate eachother. There’s also a reason people help eachother.

      And it starts at home. 

      Every time I sing a lullaby to a baby who wants nothing to do with me. Every time I spend a couple minutes talking to a stranger I could’ve just walked by (come on, we’ve ALL done that, right? I’m sorry to say, once I walked right by a UDer crying in the chapel. Even though the Spirit was screaming at me to comfort her… I listened to my pride and ignored her. See me? Don’t be like me…). And hardest yet, every time I swallow some snarky comeback towards my husband after a long day (in marriage…snarkiness can be such a slippery slope).


      Every time I choose love over pride, I let God work through me. And little eyes (and big eyes) see that.

      My vocation is to constantly empty myself for love of others,and ultimately God (easier said than done, amirite?? #askmehowiknow). The beauty of that vocation is little ones are natural born imitators. What they see me do, they’ll do. So when I talk smack about people…my daughter will see that. And when I defend someone who’s not in the room…she’ll see that too. (Gossip…it’s the candy of sin. So hard to give up, but SO bad for you)

      My job is to see and love people around me. To be Christ for someone. Someone somewhere said, “you may be the only God they see all day.” What an important opportunity we have to constantly “let go, and let God” around the people we see every. day.

      Just as my favorite said, 

      “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”

      That’s the beauty of this world. Every one of us is capable of love. That doesn’t mean agreeing with everyone on everything. It means really truly SEEING them. And not being blinded by my own reflection (or the reflection of my iPhone). 

      So, like Mother Teresa said, start by really, truly seeing your family. Most likely you’ll inspire someone else to do the same.

       Living the Mommy Life

      Hello blogging world! I just started to fall in love with the wonderful world of blogging, and, as I’m constantly pinned under a nursing or napping baby, I wanted in (if for no other reason than to feel productive…Shoutout to my grumpy angel!).

      If you asked my husband, he’d admit that tidying and housekeeping is not my forte. But, great guy that he is, it doesn’t bother him…because he graciously accepts that my wife/mother talents are in other areas. Because I would 1000 times prefer to snuggle and kiss my roly poly baby, and spend quality time with my hard working husband, than worry about my ever growing mountain of laundry.


      I also don’t have a washer/dryer. So there’s that.

      My mom, awesome, crazy, loving woman that she is, always taught me by example that people come first (She did teach me to keep house too…but clearly it didn’t stick). In my whole nearly two years in the teaching world, my classroom was messy, but students were always loved and heard. My dorm in college…yes friends did say I nested (in a your-room-is-a-collection-of-junk way….not in a sweet prepping-mommy-to-be way), but I had great adventures with great friends. 


      I guess you could say I lean towards being a Mary, but could definitely do with some more Martha instincts (thanks Mom!…not that it’s your fault I don’t care about messes…but… I mean…a little bit it is, in the best way possible 🙂 ). I really, truly hope to accomplish both: live in the moment like Mary, but do what needs doing like Martha. I know young moms who’ve already got it in spades. But for right now, I’d much rather relish my little one’s perfect, LOOUUD, fleeting baby moments and not worry about the dishes always being put away.


      So that’s me. I’m a mess. But that’s ok because baby and husband are loved. 

      Seriously though…sometimes I clean…