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Happy New Year!

A bit of radio silence for the past few weeks.  In the short span of 3 weeks, the following was accomplished:

  • finished post projects related to The Dating Divas blog and the Jessica Sprague community.
  • planned Olivia’s first birthday and completed over 10 handmade projects to complement her theme.
  • hosted 11 people at our house and cooked for 14 over the course of a week!
  • transformed our kitchen mess into a beautiful and practical space.
  • cleaned the entire house.
  • endured and recovered from the stomach flu!

I’m starting to feel tired even reading this list… phew!  I’m really glad the month of December is behind us.  It was filled to the brim with amazing memories…. and enough stress to power a small city.  It was a fitting end to an incredibly intense year.  Adios, 2013- you were filled with the brightest highs and the darkest lows.  I am so looking forward to exploring a new season of calm and clarity.  I finally picked my word for this year- Light.  More to come on what this word means to me and how I hope to embracing it’s multiple meanings.

OLW2014

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I Trust…

Lately, I’ve been stressed…

Life continues to move so quickly- our days have been filled with a chaotic mess of meeting deadlines, adjusting to Olivia’s new level of mobility (she is crawling everywhere!), and traveling more weeks than not.  I’ve been digging my way out of an overflowing inbox over the past couple of days and came across a writing prompt from Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map for Life.  She posed a simple challenge to her readers: create an “I trust” list.  I loved this prompt because it forced me to slow down and really think about what matters instead of getting swept away in the ongoing details and stresses of daily life.

What-I-trustI choose to trust that:

  • brighter days are ahead.
  • James loves me and we have a strong bond.
  • divine inspiration is available.
  • Lexi will always manage to make me smile no matter what kind of day I’ve had.
  • nature’s beauty is abundant.
  • I am embracing the present moment.
  • we will figure it out.
  • love is never late.

And, 2 more that are particularly close to my heart:

I trust that Olivia’s enzyme levels are growing and she enjoys perfect health.  I pray each day that her metabolic challenge tests in December give us reassurance that all her systems are functioning optimally.

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Reaching…

Motherhood-Reaching

It’s the end of September and this lovely clematis plant is still blooming.  It survived a grueling pruning in July and rewinding of its delicate stems.  Currently, one of its purple blossom gracefully swoops out underneath the mailbox and waits patiently for its daily dose of afternoon sun.  As I was pulling into the driveway a couple of days ago, the thought hit me that the vine is literally reaching for what it needs.

I keep noticing this little plant and thinking about the concept of reaching.  This past year has been full of so many “reaches” for me.

Reaching for patience.  Reaching for normalcy.  Reaching for grace.  Reaching for inspiration.  Reaching out for help from pediatric specialists.  Reaching for information.  Reaching for answers.  Reaching for certainty.  Reaching for strength.  Reaching for joy.

At the beginning of December of last year, I had full plans of following along with Ali Edwards’ project One Little Word for 2013.  And, then Olivia came early.  Our hearts overflowed with love for our precious new baby while our brains raced to manage the myriad of challenges that are associated with prematurity.  Scrapbooking plans in the early months obviously flew out the window.  But, I knew what word I would have chosen for 2013 immediately and without hesitation: GROW.  James and I were expected to grow up, grow stronger, grow faster than we ever thought possible.

Today, we are still reaching.  But, with a little more grace, humor, and wisdom along the way.

When I see that gorgeous clematis bloom, I smile.  Yes, it’s reaching.  But, from another vantage point, its graceful stretch serves to welcome me home, a beautiful reminder that I’m returning to my incredible family.

There’s beauty in the reach.

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Thoughts on Motherhood

Motherhood-Thoughts

Photo Credit: Karen Hendrix

While we were in Washington DC, my sister-in-law shared some words of wisdom from her mother.  I’m going to remember these words:

“The troubles are little when they’re little.”

Such a simple little statement packed with a powerful punch.  Now, neither she or I are trying to downplay some of the very critical issues that newborns might face.  James and I are all too familiar with the endless amounts of worry that can accompany any NICU stay.  (Read a Preemie Primer HERE.)

That said…

As a new parent, I’ve noticed my tendency to OVERTHINK just about everything.  Each decision related to her care feels monumental and I am constantly asking myself, “should we have done such and such instead.”  Are we using the right diapers?  Is she getting enough tummy time?  What developmental toys will help her brain grow?  Is that toy made of organic and nontoxic fibers?  And so on…

I love the statement above because it is a gentle reminder to just stop, breathe, and be present.  As long as they are healthy and feel loved, everything else really doesn’t really matter (or matter as much as we think it might sometimes).

What a perspective changer.

(Definitely going to be thinking of this the next time Olivia is up at 3 am!)

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Thanking Our NICU Nurses

Preemie-Nurses-Gift

This saying is SO true.  Having to leave Olivia in the hospital was one of the absolute hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  It is so incredibly humbling to be put into a situation where strangers know more about your baby’s needs than you do.  A team of dedicated nurses became intimately familiar with Olivia’s breathing rates, feeding schedules, unique hand movements, and overall daily progress.

Two nurses in particular, Lisa and Renee, stand out in my mind when I reflect back on our girl’s stay at our local Special Care Unit.  I relied on their reassurance, updates, and moral support as Olivia’s progress often took 1 giant step forward followed by 2 steps back.  I’ll never forget the day that our preemie was moved from her incubator to an open air crib.  The nurses greeted me at the door with huge smiles.  I wasn’t sure what was going on as I walked past them toward Olivia’s area at the back of the room… and then, I finally saw the cause for celebration!  My sweet babe no longer needed to be separated from the outside world as she was able to successfully regulate her own temperature!  I was beyond thrilled… and so were they.  We exchanged hugs and I learned they were waiting to see my reaction since the decision to move her was made very early in the morning and after our usual late evening check-in.

I can’t ever repay our NICU nurses for being sweet caretakers of my dear Olivia.  When she was discharged, I brought her nursing team a bag of filled with goodies: chocolates, chips/salsa, granola bites… and a fun lifesaver note for each of my angels.

So, on this National Neonatal Nurse Appreciation Day (September 15th), I say thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

**Read this inspiring tribute to NICU nurses.

 

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Stratejoy Pinterest Contest

Several days ago, Molly Mahar posted a challenge to turn one of her inspiring quotes into a memorable Pinterest graphic… I couldn’t resist putting my spin on these two favorites:

Molly-Mahar-quote

Love the message on this beauty… Always keep creating.  Always keep believing. The positive possibilities in our life are endless.  I snapped this photo while watching the sunrise at Haleakala in Maui, Hawaii.

Molly-Mahar-quote2

I remember this gorgeous cluster of bougainvillea from our trip to Aruba like it was yesterday.  I really needed to hear this powerful reminder today.  Crafting joy in the present moment can be oh so difficult when the baby is teething and tired, the laundry has piled up, and the sink is full of dishes from about 2 days ago.  But, that’s the secret… practicing gratitude and cultivating a life of beauty amid all the chaos.

Thanks, Molly for the inspiring words!

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Life’s a Fortune

FortuneLoving these.  Yes, please!

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