Saturday, April 7, 2018

| third trimester diaries. |



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It's the beginning of April, spring is announcing its arrival with a sweet mildness in the daily forecasts and an abundance of allergy-inducing pollen, and I'm thirty-four weeks pregnant. Surprisingly, I don't suffer from the majority of the negative third-trimester symptoms I've read about on the internet, and my pregnancy, other than very normal first-trimester nausea and a vast assortment of stretch marks, has been a fairly smooth ride. I guess I am pretty blessed. My body takes kindly to motherhood, and I will never take that for granted, though I am more than ready for my womb to hand over the task of carrying my daughter to my arms. 


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Pregnancy has been the best "first" I have ever experienced. There is an addicting joy that comes in watching your unborn offspring frolic within you, rocking your body back and forth and responding with kicks to your voice and touch. Despite the fact that she has grown to the point that her kicks and flips can be painful to me at times, I imagine that I'll miss them. I'll miss carrying her, literally, everywhere I go. I'll miss this fast-fleeting and precious proximity to her. There is nothing so amazing in the world as carrying your baby in your body and feeling her nestle beneath your heart. And I will miss that.

But I can't wait to introduce her to the world and watch her explore it. I can't wait to see her smile for the first time and discover what most prompts her happiness. I can't wait to watch her play outside as a toddler, even if she gets dirt in her mouth and her clothes and persuading her to come inside in the evenings for bath and bedtime is a battle. I can't wait to see her taste ice cream and hear her clamor for it in that irresistible baby accent, even if we have to learn and relearn the no-dessert-until-you-clean-your-plate rule. I can't wait to read her books over and over again, and I hope that she has a voracious appetite for them. I can't wait to see her play with puppies and stand on a chair to help bake cookies and rough-house with her dad on our living room floor. I can't wait to teach her to pray and hear her talk to God for the first time.

Maybe I give the impression of having a rose-tinted perspective of motherhood. I know there will be bruised knees, lots of them, and temper tantrums. I know there will be nights of exhaustion for me and days when my daughter and I aren't getting along. I know that I will change thousands of diapers and that the lacy little outfits we have collected will end up stained with pureed green beans and dirty diapers we didn't catch soon enough. I know I will probably smell like spit-up breast milk for weeks after she is born, that leisure time or a good night's sleep will become a distant memory, and that some of these stretch marks will never go away.

But it will be worth it. The fullness in my heart and my arms will make it more than worth it. Hearing "Mama" from the lips of the tiny person kicking away at my hips and back as I type this, will make it worth it.

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These are my thoughts of late. Thankful for pregnancy and what it has given me in the way of happiness, and looking forward to re-learning how to live life, with my little girl.


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God bless,










Friday, January 19, 2018

| preview of a new year and epilogue to an old one. |




December 23rd, 2017. Preparing for our first Christmas as husband and wife, and as a family of  . . . three.


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Our first year of married life, soon to be a past milestone. What still feels like a very mere number of weeks ago Trenton and I were dreaming about a future together, and now, a whole year later, thanks to Jesus and a vast quantity of prayer and patience having her perfect work, we're living it.
 Married life, unlike some other exaggerated experiences in life, deserves all of the claims made about it. Exhilarating, humorous, exhausting, frustrating, and eternally rewarding. These baby steps in our life together have not been without a generous share of awkwardness, but in a sort of glorious way. It's a constant classroom, and you know better than to hope for perfect grades, but learning beside your best friend is worth all of the bumps along the way.

We honeymooned in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, for one delightful week following our wedding. It was the honeymoon of all my teenaged dreams, and more. We went for some spectacular hikes in the Rockies, visited a secluded waterfall that completely soaked all bystanders within thirty feet with icy mist (memorable + freezing + perfect) and spent an entire day at the hot mineral springs, which I would recommend as one of the most incredible experiences obtainable on the continent. The springs were located beside a river swollen with melted snow from the mountain summits themselves, (suffice it to say that frozen yogurt could have easily floated down that river in a bowl without melting) and the temptation to dip in it was too strong for this hardy child of the far north. Not to be outdone by his brand-new wife, my husband followed suit, (though not for as long, HA) and the expression on his face when he submerged himself in that current was definitely one for the books.





Upon returning to New Mexico, we settled in the trailer we were renting and officially commenced married life, the real thing. Not even three weeks after our wedding day, we went to my brother and sister-in-law's home, and they let us borrow their Ranger to go for a ride. My husband grew up riding four-wheelers and all-terrain vehicles, but I did not, and despite the feeling that wisdom would suggest allowing him to drive without requesting a turn at the wheel, when he offered (with much hesitancy, I should add) to give me a turn, I accepted, of course. Five minutes into experimenting with this novelty, I managed (still not sure how) to run the vehicle into a stray pile of barbed wire and roll it, breaking my foot and puncturing it to the bone in the process.
 I expected Trent to lose his temper, rebuke me, or show some form of irritation, but he was nothing but instantly worried and sorry for me. I had to stay in the hospital for two nights, and he never left me for a minute, would have even slept next to me in a chair if the hospital staff would have allowed him. That weekend showed me what kind of a man I had married-- patient and compassionate, even in the throes of chaos I had created.

Thus began a rather violent (literally) plunge into marriage, but thus far the memories we've made since then have managed to be of a more peaceable variety. We went to El Paso in July for a "business trip" that was definitely more leisure and eating than business, saw the United States / Mexico border (which for some reason struck me as a big deal, wall or no wall) and we ate out once in a while, but more often found a movie at home and accompanied it with microwave popcorn, bought two adorable Siberian husky puppies that seem perpetually bent on preparing us for the alleged chaos of parenting, went shooting out in the desert while the sun was setting (our go-to when he has a day off) and he bought a pickup truck and let me drive it, which, considering aforementioned events, was a great demonstration of optimism and faith. We spent a weekend at Riodoso, in a perfect little cedar cabin that I desperately wanted to take home, and cooked burritos and tacos outside in a disco. I was introduced to matanzas, which are basically the Hispanic version of a pig roast and one of his family's favorite annual traditions. I won't even attempt the spelling of the various ways of cooking and serving the slaughtered pig, but they were delicious, nonetheless. And I got to "introduce" him to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which, despite being a native of New Mexico, he had never attended, while this transplant girl has already loved it for a long time.










Early in the fall, we bought our very first home together, complete with more than just one bedroom, because we had discovered that we were no longer merely a couple. A tiny daughter will be joining us this upcoming spring, and the round of completely new feelings that that knowledge has delivered can hardly be transcribed with mere letters on a screen. Ever since I was seventeen I have taken care of other women's babies, grown attached to them, and wondered if I would ever get to be the mom instead of the babysitter / daycare teacher / nanny who was obliged to return the adorable little child to her real parents at the end of the day. It's surreal to know that, in a little over three months, I will be the mom, and the baby will be mine - I won't have to give her up to anyone or refrain from forming too strong of an emotional attachment, or correct her when she calls me mama. I get to keep this baby. She's mine, finally mine to love without restraint. I get to be her mama. She's half me and half the man I love, and we will be her protection, her security, her right in a wrong kind of world.




Pregnancy has not been without its own unique kind of emotions. It's a fearful thing to be a parent, to realize the sudden measure of responsibility you have, and to only hope and pray that you honor it as it deserves, even before the child enters the world. It's humbling to be swamped in first-trimester sickness, to vomit in front of others because there was no time to locate a private place, and to look in the mirror and see that your former figure has vanished under a layer of weight and stretch marks.
 More humbling than that, however, is to realize the sacred trust that God has invested in us, two entirely imperfect humans, by lending us this seed to nurture and grow to maturity. I've never been a parent. I want to be a flawless one, to never make my little girl cry, or frustrate her, or fail to influence her for the good.
But I know I won't be a flawless one. I'll fail her. Many times. I'm a sinner, and that's what sinners do. They fail.

But, by God's grace, I want to be a sinner sanctified by Christ, and pour Christ's love into this tiny little person's life, for as long as I am a part of her life and able to do so. Regardless of how many things I mistakenly say, or do or don't do, I never want her to doubt that her mama loves her more than anything in the world. Because even now, having never seen her in person, I already know that I do. That when I look into her newborn eyes for the first time, I will never have seen anything quite as beautiful. That little has touched my heart as much as when my husband kneels, his face pressed against my belly, and talks to his baby girl so that she'll already know his voice when she meets him. That, in spite of having a much-compromised figure, I have never been so proud of my body as I am now, watching it accommodate itself to become a suitable habitat and safe nest for my precious unborn child.




2017 and newlywed-hood was awkward, exhilarating, undoubtedly scary, and ultimately glorious, with far more than our deserved share of God's blessings. 2018 and parenthood, let's do this.











Friday, July 28, 2017

| wedding snaps. |


     





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At the time of my last writing, I had yet to see most of the professional photographs taken at our wedding. However, they arrived a couple weeks ago  (about a month ago, face-palm), and we had a blast browsing and re-browsing through them, getting sentimental about certain ones and laughing at others, because people like me us had no hopes of making it through a wedding without any number of awkward, terrifying or utterly hysterical moments. My husband, far and away the more cautious and prudent of us two, knew at the onslaught that he would have his hands full getting hitched to this wild child, and our marriage day presented more than one token of said fact.
Oh, but it's been good. So, so good. And I even think he'd say the same. Most days. *wink*

Back to the purpose of this post- I completed the necessary boy-meets-girl / courtship / love story blog post a number of weeks ago, but our pictures deserve a place on my virtual diary if anything does, so without further ado, here they are.


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From left to right: my baby sister, Esther Joy, who served as my junior bridesmaid, Kaily, Brit, Angie, Reagan, my new niece and very adorable flower girl, Salinn, me, my brand-new husband, his brother, Justin, his nephew, Jace and also our ring bearer, his brother Dylan, his brother Jonathan, his uncle Danny, and my own little brother, David, the junior groomsman. All of these had a role in making our day what it was, and supported us so much, both in open and behind the scenes.

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These two. *all the heart eyes*








I am not one to engage in sentimental rants, but my husband is amazing. I could look at him all day. God gave me exceedingly abundantly more than the man of my dreams.



My sis! Being eleven years my junior, I always wondered if she would be old enough to have a role in my wedding party. But, lo and behold, she did, and I was so thrilled to find a flower girl's dress that perfectly matched my bridesmaids dresses for her to wear as my junior bridesmaid. I was so happy to have her standing at the altar with me, even though she cried most of the day and all I wanted to do was pull her aside the whole day and tell her that it was okay and suggest that we go and snitch from the cake while no one was looking. Update: she has since adjusted, and she loves to tease both Trent and I about our various quirks.



















 













One of the most memorable/ petrifying moments included, this being no word of a lie, the dropping of my husband's ring as my maid of honor passed it to me. And it had better be believed that I have never heard anything so loud in my life as that ring hitting the floor. However, I picked it up and managed to put it on his hand without succumbing to any displays of emotion, and we proceeded.

That particular ring was destined to be a failure, as we lost it in our front yard a few weeks later and never recovered it.






























The guys in the back were instructed to jump off the ledge for the shot, which resulted in a mixture of awkward / perilous / hilarious.


These girls. Wow. The encouragement, support, and comic relief they pitched in to provide me with was beyond anything I expected. I love them all.





This was so, so worth waiting for. Saving my first hug, my first kiss, all of my firsts for my husband was the best choice I ever made. And while I am already in a sappy frame of mind, let it be known that kissing your brand-new husband's face is rivaled by nothing.



Reason why Kaily and I are close and think alike: see far left.



Our mischievous bridal party had no problem obliging for this picture.







































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I am beyond blessed. To think that the Lord had planned all of this for me, and everything that has followed it, all of the years that I prayed and planned for my presumptive one-day role as a wife and the keeper of my husband's home, is incredible.




God is so good.