Review For All Maternity!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hey gang!

I need your help!  As you know, I recently had my first book published (eek! Still pinching myself!)  It's been a roller coaster getting the word out, signing books, holding giveaways (more coming soon!) and now... I need REVIEWS!!!!

Now that the book has been out for a short spell, I'd LOVE your help in telling others what it's about and what YOU think about it.

The good news is, Amazon makes this super easy.

Follow the link above and click WRITE A CUSTOMER REVIEW to post your opinion of For All Maternity.


Baby "Must Haves" & Have Nots

Friday, June 19, 2015

Hi.  My name is Emily, and I'm addicted to "Pinterest Baby Must Have" lists.

Okay, addicted is too strong of a term.  But, let me tell you, gone are the days of looking up a simple newborn checklist to find what you need to prepare for a baby's arrival.  A slight peek at a Pinterest board or Google search, and you will be bombarded with list upon list of what everyone and their best friend think you GOTTA GET before your water breaks.

This is to say - one can drive oneself absolutely bonkers trying to perfectly prep for a new bundle of joy.  If you're expecting and on the verge of hyperventilating when you see these "baby must have" lists - never fear!  I am pretty sure if you have a car seat, diapers, and boobs...your baby will survive.

But, did you know baby comes with a "must have" list too???  FOR YOU???

Oh yes.  That little peanut might not be shuffling through Pinterest boards inside the womb, but believe me, baby's come with expectations of what you "must have" in order to step up to the plate of motherhood - ready or not!

Here's the list you won't find on Pinterest, and maybe the only one you really ever need (don't they all say that?)
The 10 Things Your Baby Will Provide You
Upon Arrival, Ready or Not
10. Patience. You will wait on this baby.  You will wait for labor, wait for delivery, wait for the nurse to come back and tell you everything is fine.  You will wait for test results, wait for the car to come pick you up, wait for visitors, wait for dinner, wait for a chance to sleep, wait for the baby to stop crying, wait for that first smirk and coo, wait wait wait.  It will all come in good time.  Get used to waiting. 
9. Super-Hearing.  You will suddenly have the super-power of hearing every tiny little thing remotely related to your baby.  You will hear the baby take a deep sigh rooms away.  You will hear a diaper explosion upon impact when no one else notices.  You will hear ANY slight disturbance that might have the potential to wake the baby from a much-needed slumber (and you will slay that disturbance instantaneously).
8. Time-Travel.  Just throw away your clocks.  Burn your calendars.  They are now useless in your fight against schedules.  You now live on milk o'clock and half-past poopy diaper.  Your baby will change faster than your mind can comprehend, and no amount of Instagramming can capture how much you want to hit the pause button.  Soak it up, cry it out, and allow yourself to keep moving forward in the moments as they come without the guilt of being unable to stop it.  
7. Digestive Fortitude.  You will see gross things, my friend.  Super-disgusting, nasty things you will take to your grave. Both you and your baby will give you witness to vile functions that you've only read are "natural" and "wondrous".  I'm gonna just tell you now, it's okay to cringe at you and your foul baby.  Your bodily fluids will betray you.  You will go days without a shower and forget to wash your hands after you change a poopy diaper (because for heaven's sake it's 4am and no one cares).  You will find yourself praying about things like constipation and milk ducts and be amazed at your new stomach of steel when your baby vomits all over your bare chest for the first time.  Motherhood is messy.  Welcome. 
6. Tolerance.  The rest of the world will swim around you in your baby bubble.  You will tolerate visitors who overstay (hey, if they bring food they can stay a little longer), you will tolerate advice from every source possible, you will tolerate people's "help" that comes off as criticism and stories upon stories of other mother's birth/labor/delivery/nursing experience.  You will tolerate it all because they've come to love on your new baby and suddenly that excuses just about any untactful comment possible. 
5. Narcolepsy.  You can now fall asleep anytime, at any moment, anywhere.  Good luck finding those times and places, but hey - when you do - lights out, mama!  Zzzzzz. 
4. Fear.  A whole new world of worries has just intruded your mind.  Things you never thought possible to worry about before will now plague your dreams.  Anywhere but your arms feels like a potential death-trap to  your baby.  Doubts about when to feed and how much will make you wonder if child services will knock on your door any minute.  You've become an irrational crazy person who will continue to question your skills and abilities as a caretaker from now until eternity.  This is motherhood, friend.  If you're worried, you're probably doing it right.  
3. Music.  Nevermind that you've never written a song in your life.  Don't worry if you can't carry a tune or play an instrument.  Baby's insist upon music, and like it or not, you'll be crooning jams about your Diaper Genie in no time.  You'll catch yourself in the middle of a sing-song and wonder who you've turned into.  You'll uncover new talents as you parody Curious George narratives to Taylor Swift tunes.  No one thinks it will happen to them, but it always happens.  You will sing.  Oh, you will sing.
2. Courage.  Now and forevermore, you can end a sentence with "...because I gave birth." and it suddenly empowers you to take on anything with new Chutzpah.  I know I can do extraordinary things, my body can accomplish whatever it needs to, and super powers are not beyond my reach...because I gave birth.  Hang on to this new courage to tackle the un-tackle-able.  It will serve you well in the face of parenthood.
1. Selflessness.  Your heart grew three sizes that day, whether you were the Grinch or not.  Motherhood ushers in a whole new perspective that grants you the capacity to lay down your agenda for the sake of a helpless, stinky, loudmouth, bundle of snuggles.  It makes no sense, and it never will.  And it's the closest we will ever get to experiencing Christ's love for us.  Goodbye self-centered world.  Hello baby.
This list is certainly not limited to these 10 things!  You'll have your own moments of guts and glory that will show up when you least expect it.  Babies ring in a whole new era, whether it's your first birth or last.  As you make your lists and prep for that new chapter to come, take heart!  The most important things you need to care for that little one are already inside you.

Welcome to motherhood, ready or not.

Home Sweet Home Stretch

Monday, June 8, 2015

There's something bittersweet about the third trimester of pregnancy.  While the kicks and jolts in my belly trigger joy at the thought of a miracle literally moving within me, the aches and pains that weigh down my physique make me long for the day she is on the outside.  I don't want to fast-forward through the final weeks, but I'm not looking for the pause button either.

I guess this is a good balance, considering she will be my (as far as I can predict) last baby.

The realities of a new life coming have started to invade the home on a regular basis.  The crib is built, the curtains are hung, and pink little onesies are filling the drawers in the nursery.  Ten (or so) more weeks of growing, about a thousand loads of Dreft laundry, and we'll be all set for the coos and cries of a newborn to echo through the house.  (Well, there's a few more details than that, but you catch my drift!)
Growing...growing...not quite gone yet!
It's hard to imagine that my home is more quiet now than it will be in a few months.  It's exciting and terrifying, as I often have to plug my ears to keep from going insane from the squeals and screams of my 5-year-old and 3-year-old daughters.  No doubt this little one will have severe competition for attention the moment she enters the world.  Quiet is a rare virtue in our home (and often a prelude to either a giant mess being made/discovered or the calm before a storm of tears for whatever reason).

At the same time, I'm finishing up my Master's degree in Marriage & Family Therapy, with only 8 more weeks of school and internship to wrap up the two years of insanity I've put myself and my family through.  It is indeed, the home stretch on a huge chapter in our lives.  Life will look very different come mid-August, and it's difficult for me to wrap my brain around what's pending.

As crazy as it's been for the last two years, there is comfort in the known craziness.  As many sleepless nights, busy schedules, and constant to-dos as there have been, I'll admit there are parts of me worried and sad about saying good-bye to this temporary and tender season of our lives.  (Don't get me wrong, I'm ready to say "Sayonara" to homework forever!)

A new normal, a new chaos, a new crazy is just around the corner.  It's this unknown wilderness that awaits that easily stirs anxiety in my soul.  As I feel my baby hiccup in my belly as I type this, I'm reminded that no matter what, God's got us.  All of us.  (Yes, you too!)  He's never surprised at what's around the bend or who's in need of what or how long something seems to take.  He's never thrown off schedule, overwhelmed by tasks, or anxious about how it will all turn out.  He's got these next 10-ish weeks just like He's had the last zillion years and the zillion more yet to come.

Between two kids, deadlines, and baby kicks, I don't want to give you the illusion that I rest well at night just because I have a deep trust in God's provision and plan for us.  Life is HARD and loud and messy.  I laugh at the chaos as much as I worry and I weep with the best of you.

But, peace can be found among the sleepless.  Hope can be found among the restless.  Joy can be found among the fearful.  How?  Because it's the struggle and privilege of my heart, as weary and worn as it may be, to remain fixated on His steady faithfulness to me, and to keep finding humor and gratitude in the world around me.

Whew.  Guys.  This summer is gonna be FULL of crazy.  No doubt there are reasons to complain and throw in the towel each and every day.  But, in these final weeks of transition from a family of four to a family of five...of a family surviving grad school to a family sending one off to Kindergarten...I hope you'll see a family honestly determined to find moments of sweetness and blessing within the mess of it all.

What transitions are you or your family going through this summer?  What helps keep you focused on the joys of life and the goodness of God?
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