Tomorrow she will turn five.

by
tomorrow she will be five

Tonight I rubbed my four year old’s back and tucked her into bed. I read her On The Night You Were Born. I fought back tears.

Tomorrow she will turn five.

Right at this moment, half a decade ago, I was being admitted to the birthing center. I was in a daze, overwhelmed with emotions. I couldn’t believe my pregnancy was about to end, even more so, I couldn’t believe motherhood was about to begin.

Ten hours later I held the most perfect little girl in my arms. I was her momma, she was my daughter. My husband and I had made a family.

Tomorrow my sweet girl will be five years old.

What an amazing five years it has been. I am not sure who has grown and learned more, her or I. The progression of newborn to infant to toddler to now has been amazing to watch.

There has been so much laughter and some tears. There have been ups and the unfortunate downs. There have been moments that have taken my breath away and moments that I have held my breath. Joy and sorrow, good and the necessary evil.

I still remember driving home after her birth. I was gazing at her tiny beautiful face when it hit me. She was ours. There had been no recruitment, no background checks. Just a few forms to fill out for a birth certificate and we were on our way with this brand new little person.

She has been my favorite adventure.

When we wake tomorrow morning, she will be five. Her round toddler face is being replaced by one more delicate. Her clumsy chubby limbs have become willowy and graceful. She is growing and tomorrow she will be five. She will wake us up with the sunrise and jump on our bed proclaiming that it is her birthday. She will eat her birthday cupcake for breakfast and she will be five.

Tomorrow my sweet girl will be five years old.

tomorrow she will be five

_____

This post was part of the Use Your Words writing challenge facilitated by Karen at Baking In A Tornado. Each blogger who participates submits 5-7 words. We are each assigned a set of words, no one knowing who received ours, until now. Please join me in reading the rest of the posts for this challenge!

Use Your Words

Baking In A Tornado

Spatulas on Parade

The Momisodes

The Bergham’s Life Chronicles

Stacy Sews and Schools

Southern Belle Charm

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

Someone Else’s Genius

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Confessions of a part-time working mom

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver 

Searching for Sanity

Climaxed

Cluttered Genius

The Angrivated Mom

 

And then, she was five.

by
Elsa-one-week

My dearest Elsa,

 

My sweet girl, in a week you will be five years old. I can’t believe it was five years ago that I last felt your tiny foot pushing out from under my ribcage.

 

These days your feet are busy running and dancing and exploring. They have come a long way since they pushed against my hand as your daddy and I watched and rubbed my belly as it moved over you.

 

The day you were born was a beautiful one. I still remember seeing your face for the first time. You took my breath away. I gasped for air as I said hi to you and welcomed you to the world. If I close my eyes I can still feel your tiny hand reach up and touch my face, like you had been waiting forever to be able to.

 

I remember the feeling of having you in my arms. I remember how warm you were and how it felt to have your weight on my chest and not in my belly. I remember breathing you in wanting to pause time for a while.

 

But time flew forward. Before I knew it we were driving home as a family of three. Daddy and I alone were responsible for you. I remember whispering to you a promise to always do my very best and to take good care of you. I hope I have done a good job so far. If how amazing you are is any indication, I know I am doing just fine.

 

I could have spent forever lying with you next to me continuing our rhythm of eat, sleep, snuggle. I remember your tiny baby noises and how they evolved into the most beautiful babbling we had ever heard.

 

And your smile. Little lady, your smile melts me and lights up the entire world. The first time you smiled at me was right after you had just filled your belly with my milk. You were starting to drift off, your tiny head resting on my breast, when you looked up and smiled. I cried. It was everything.

 

You grew fast. So fast. Before I could catch my breath your infant days were over and you were heading straight for toddlerville. I didn’t have time to be sad about not having a tiny baby anymore because you had found your footing and were running everywhere.

 

I loved following you on your adventures. Seeing things through your eyes, for the very first time, made me realize how amazing this world is. Thank you for reminding me that we live in a pretty incredible place and are surrounded by pretty incredible things.

 

You would take my hand and off we would go. When your little legs got tired, I would pick you up and wrap you on my back. I would carry you and we would talk about what we saw until you would eventually fall asleep, snuggled into the crook of my neck.

 

So much has changed in the 60 months since you made your debut. You have learned so much and taught me even more. You can express yourself in a million ways and do so with great enthusiasm. You have become so much more adventurous and are one of the most outgoing and friendly people I know.

 

It is even more amazing, though, how much you are still the same. Your smile still lights up the world and melts my heart. You love bigger than I ever though anyone could. You still grab my hand and lead me on the most amazing adventures. You still reach up when you are sleepy and touch my face.

 

In a few short days, my sweet girl, you will be five. I am not sure you are able to understand the incredible honor I feel to be your mom. I don’t know if I have words to describe my love and adoration for you.

 

You made me a mom. No one else in the entire world can say that. Only you.

 

Here are to a hundred more years of Elsa Mae Day. The world is a much much more beautiful, kind, and awesome place because of you.

 

XOXO

Momma

 

Elsa-one-week

Still, here

by
PuddleFeet

I have been on a self inflicted hiatus of sorts. I have had the hardest time writing and was struggling with my voice, my identity, and my direction.

So, I stopped. I stopped writing for myself, I stopped posting to social media, I just stopped. I let myself, for the first time in a long while, be still.

I listened to the sounds of my children playing. I absorbed their laughter and did not document it on my Facebook page. I went camping with my family and did not worry about having cell service or about what I should post. I stopped going through my day searching for little vignettes of my life to share, looking for the most entertaining sound bite.

I just observed and enjoyed. I let myself be me. I let go.

It. Was. Amazing.

Transformative.

I am back now, but with a firmer grasp on who I am. Who I have always been, really. I am going to allow my thoughts to flow organically onto paper and if something worth sharing comes out, I will do so. If not, so be it.

This week I have been teaching the writing half of a writing-photo intensive at the photo project where my husband works. I have been working with a group of 8 girls ranging in age from 10 to 18. I am trying to help them find their voices. I am trying to show them the tools they already possess and how to use them to be heard. I am helping them to tell their stories. It is an amazing experience and I am humbled by their kindness and beauty and immense talent. It is a privilege to work with them.

During today’s writing time I finally broke through my own block and wrote my first poem since last year. I posted it on my other blog, the one no one knows about, Still, here. It is my blog for me. A place for my mind to be still.

I have no idea what the future holds for the Juicebox Confession blog. I will never stop writing, that I am certain of. I just feel a disconnect to the “brand” that rose out of JbC. I will always love it but don’t know if I want it to be a part of my identity.

Either way, I am, as always, so grateful for you all who read my words. I don’t know if I would have continued any of this without your encouragement.

 

XOXO

PuddleFeet

Poe Wovens: Spangled Glory

by
JbO-poespangled

Hi all! As part of my plan to refresh and change up my blog I have decided to create a new feature: Juicebox Obsessions. I will share and review some of my most favorite of things for you all.

poewovenslogo

I figured the very best place to start is with one of my absolute favorite companies, Poe Wovens. Poe is owned and run by a U.S. Marine Corps veteran/mother of five/kickass woman from my home state of Vermont. From start to finish their wraps are all made in the USA with sustainable fibers while being socially responsible and effortlessly beautiful.

I got to play host to a brand new design a few months ago. Spangled is an Americana themed, red, white, and blue wrap. Woven with a 100% cotton warp and a TENCEL weft this wrap is beyond soft. (It puts marshmallows to shame, I SWEAR.)

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To be honest, I wasn’t super excited for a USA flag inspired wrap. I have nothing against Old Glory, I just prefer not to wear it. The first photos I saw made me rethink my stance. The moment Spangled arrived at my door, my mind was completely changed. This wrap was cushy and soft as a dream in loom state. The colors were bold and the contrast striking. After it’s first wash and dry, the colors bled ever so slightly and the contrast faded slightly. This made the wrap look beautifully worn in, rustic, and subtle.

A quick front wrap cross carry with this cushy beauty and I was hooked. Wearing this wrap felt like slipping into my favorite jeans and tee. It molded to every curve. It was supportive and soft. It made my baby feel weightless and cozy. This wrap is amazing. The baby fell asleep before I could finish wrapping her.

Needless to say, when pre-order for Spangled was announced I jumped at the chance to own one. I am now patiently awaiting it’s arrival. You KNOW I will be rocking this wrap all summer long. I already have it booked solid for the 4th of July. (I mean. C’MON! How am I NOT going to wear this at the parade and fireworks?)

Nancy and her team at Poe Wovens really hit it out of the park with this wrap. I could not be more excited or happier for my fluff mail to arrive. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Interested in finding out about new designs and promotions before everyone else? Join the Facebook Group: Poe Precinct.

JbO-poespangled**In the interest of full disclosure I am a Poe Wovens brand ambassador. HOWEVER, I was not paid or otherwise reimbursed for this review. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and my own alone. I am a brand ambassador because of how amazing this company is.**

MAYbe Funny

by
Funny Friday  150 X 150

Today’s post is this month’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Spatulas on Parade.

ff-May

I fully intended on writing my 5 captions and heading to bed. However, as I was prepping (ie; trying to get my husband to give me some good, funny lines) a much funnier conversation happened. So, in true Michelle fashion, I am going to toss the rules out the window and do my own thing. Our conversation went as follows:

Michelle: Ok, Give me something good to write. Something funny about this photo.

Zach: You should write something about Jesus and that poem. The, “and then I carried you” one. Except add something about Jesus losing a flip flop.

M: How do I make sure I don’t sound offensive?

Z: *laugh*

M: It is a fine line between funny and offensive. Plus, I need 4-5 funny lines or captions.

Z: About the flip flop in the sand?!

M: Yup. What about if I said something about it being like a sea turtle? Like she is having little baby flip flops in the sand.

Z: *blank stare*

M: You know, something about catching a glimpse of the elusive momma flip flop coming out of the sea to bury her baby flip flop eggs in the sand?

Z: I don’t think that’s funny.

M: I don’t care.

Z&M: *laugh*

Z: Maybe you should just use this conversation instead.

M: *starts typing*

 

Follow the links below and let some other (rule following) bloggers make you smile:

Someone Else’s Genius (http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com)

Confessions of a part-time working mom (http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/)

The Momisodes (http://themomisodes.com)

Sanity Waiting to Happen (http://www.angelaweight.com)

Spatulas on Parade  (http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/)

Stacy Sews and Schools (http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com)

People Don’t Eat Enough Fudge (http://peopledonteatenoughfudge.blogspot.co.uk)

The Bergham’s Life Chronicles (http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/)

Follow me home  (http://followmehome.shellybean.com)

Measurements of Merriment (http://measurementsofmerriment.blogspot.com)

Southern Belle Charm (http://www.southernbellecharm.com)

Silence of the Mom ( http://www.silenceofthemom.blogspot.com)

Baking In A Tornado (http://www.BakingInATornado.com)

Funny Friday  150 X 150

Flies, Light Savers, and Snuggles

by
flies-light savers-snuggles

Recently I have been having a hard time writing. I feel like I once had a very strong voice and now it feels thin, quiet. It isn’t a bad feeling, just new. Like something is changing.

There is definitely a lot of changes happening right now. We are slowly but surly finding ourselves in the warmer season. Winter was brutal in so many ways. But the days are getting warmer and longer. We are spending most of our free time wandering and exploring outside. Taking photos and sharing stories. It is what we do.

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____

The baby is growing so much. She is sitting now. She almost always has a huge smile on her face. She can light up the darkest of days with her gummy grin and her laugh. Oh that laugh!

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____

Elsa is no longer a baby. Or a toddler. She is a little kid with an enormous heart. She wants to learn about everything and asks the very best questions. She is like a sponge and is absorbing the world around her.

She adds to her “Elsa-isms” almost daily. Her newest is “light saver.” It is what she calls her small plastic toy lightsaber. I corrected her once then realized that “light saver” was amazing and stopped myself from doing it again.

IMG_9733

____

I am studying to become a peer counselor with Breastfeeding USA. It is something I am very passionate about. It became incredibly clear that Elsa shares my enthusiasm today while at a breastfeeding support meeting.

We were going around introducing ourselves and our babies. When it was our turn I let my very articulate child introduce herself.

“Hi, I am Elsa and I am four-and-a-half years old. This is my sister Aria, she is zero years old. This is my baby [a doll], Mittens. She is breastfed but is just learning how to latch. I was pumping for her and feeding her with a bottle because she had a tongue tie. But, we fixed it so now she is learning.”

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____

Have I mentioned that the baby has also learned how to snuggle? So far I am mainly the primary recipient of the hugs and I couldn’t be more elated. This tiny girl gives giant hugs.

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____

Although the calendar year began months ago, this time of year always feels like it should be the beginning. I have taken this changing of the seasons to do a lot of introspection. I am trying to really become my most authentic self. To either embrace my flaws or change them. I am doing some serious work on me. I have had to let go of relationships that didn’t feel supportive or healthy and really work on the ones that nourish and enrich my life and my soul. I am building a community of people who make me want to do and be better. I am surrounding myself with some beautiful people. I am building my tribe. I am trying to live a life I love with the people I love the most.

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____

This post was part of the Fly On The Wall writing challenge brought to you by the creative genius that is Baking In A Tornado. Every month a group of bloggers all write posts consisting of small snippets that, on their own, are not enough to write an entire post. They end up being as if you were a fly on the walls of our lives.

Fill your voyeuristic oats by checking out the rest of the bloggers.

http://www.BakingInATornado.com                          Baking In A Tornado

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                          Spatulas on Parade

http://followmehome.shellybean.com                          Follow me home

http://www.menopausalmom.com/                          Menopausal Mother

http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                        Stacy Sews and Schools

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                                   Battered Hope

http://www.justalittlenutty.com/                                  Just A Little Nutty

http://themomisodes.com                                        The Momisodes

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                            Someone Else’s Genius

http://gndisney.wordpress.com                                Disneyland in Kentucky

http://dinoheromommy.com/                                  Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

http://eileensperpetuallybusy.blogspot.com/                    Eileen’s Perpetually Busy

http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com                       Searching for Sanity

http://www.southernbellecharm.com                          Southern Belle Charm

http://www.angelaweight.com                                   Sanity Waiting to Happen

http://peopledonteatenoughfudge.blogspot.co.uk        People Don’t Eat Enough Fudge

Fly on the Wallflies-light savers-snuggles

April Funny Friday

by
Funny Friday  150 X 150

Today’s post is this month’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.
Funny Friday  150 X 150

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by he Bergham’s Life Chronicles     http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/

ff-April

1. “I AM NOT FAT, I AM BIG BONED!!!”

2. Being the giant pumpkin amongst all the petite gourds left him feeling quite deflated.

3. Octomom: Pumpkin edition.

4. I spy with my little eye something that was genetically modified.

5. Anyone got an air pumpkin? I’ve got a flat.

 

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

 

 

Baking In A Tornado (http://www.BakingInATornado.com)

Someone Else’s Genius (http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com)

Confessions of a part-time working mom (http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/)

The Momisodes (http://themomisodes.com)

Sanity Waiting to Happen (http://www.angelaweight.com)

Spatulas on Parade  (http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/)

Stacy Sews and Schools (http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com)

People Don’t Eat Enough Fudge (http://peopledonteatenoughfudge.blogspot.co.uk)

The Bergham’s Life Chronicles (http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/)

Follow me home  (http://followmehome.shellybean.com)

Measurements of Merriment (http://measurementsofmerriment.blogspot.com)

 

Barn Fly

by
Barn Fly

Spring is here. Like, REALLY here. The temperatures are rising and the sun is shining. We spent a day at our favorite farm. Being outside after months of being cooped up felt amazing. It was exactly what my family needed.

Here is our day, in photos.

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The sugar house smelled amazing. A sweet and smoky mix of heaven.

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This was drawn out of the evaporator minutes before i sipped it. It was still warm. If you have never done this, go do it. Now.

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This is Joy. She is 3 1/2 months old. Her name is perfect.

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She was telling the cows a story. I think she would have stood there visiting and chatting all day.

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Joy again. She loved Zach. And his hat. And his face. We have that in common.

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Goats. What is better than goats?

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The baby spent most of the time nursing and napping. Girl knows how to spend a warm Sunday afternoon.

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I took a picture of Zach taking my picture. Why? WHY NOT!

she touched the earth-1

The baby got to touch grass for the first time. It was magic.

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When we came home I uncovered my herb garden. There is tiny signs of life sprouting in it. I am so happy.

 

__________

This post was part of the Fly On The Wall writing challenge. A group of bloggers all write and post on the same day, sharing snippets of their lives for you to read, as though you were a fly on our wall. Please do check out the other writers. They are an amazing group of bloggers.

Fly on the Wall

http://www.BakingInATornado.com                          Baking In A Tornado

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                          Spatulas on Parade

http://followmehome.shellybean.com                          Follow me home

http://www.menopausalmom.com/                          Menopausal Mother

http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                        Stacy Sews and Schools

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                                   Battered Hope

http://www.justalittlenutty.com/                                  Just A Little Nutty

http://themomisodes.com                                        The Momisodes

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                            Someone Else’s Genius

http://gndisney.wordpress.com                                Disneyland in Kentucky

http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com                    Searching for Sanity

http://www.angelaweight.com                                Sanity Waiting to Happen

http://thesadderbutwisergirl.com                             The Sadder But Wiser Girl

http://dinoheromommy.com/                                   Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

 

Barn Fly

 

 

I See You Beautiful Momma

by
I See You Beautiful Momma

I have a circle of friends. They are beautiful women. Strong women. They are mothers. Every single one of them has given birth in the past year, some for the second time. We are wading through the postpartum experience together.

 

These women come from all walks of life. Our backgrounds are varied, our interests wide. We learn from each other, and lean on each other. We find commonality in our diversity. We celebrate the things that make us unique and embrace the things we have in common.

 

Recently I found myself in the midst of a discussion about our postpartum bodies. There was a general consensus that no one felt “right”. We all had parts of us that had changed, weight that we carry now that wasn’t there before. The lamenting was not unfamiliar; I had heard similar complaints amongst other groups of women.

 

As I listened I got to thinking, why did these beautiful women feel less-than? Why did they crave their pre-baby bodies so badly? Why did I see gorgeous mommas and they saw shadows of the women they used to be?

 

As women, we are told that there is a certain ideal of beauty. Generally it is tall and thin and unattainable for 99% of the female population. Yet, we strive for it. We watch what we eat and we wear impossibly high heels. We deny ourselves cravings and we turn to surgical options when all else fails. We are bombarded with images of taller and thinner women. We are told we are not good enough, that we do not measure up.

 

As a pregnant woman, we are given a little bit of slack. We are expected to gain weight, just not too much. Not too little either, you don’t want to look like a complete narcissist. And, as soon as that baby is born, we need to look just like we did nine months prior. We are to pull up our pre-pregnancy jeans and walk out of the hospital glowing, baby in our arms.

 

Rarely is the reality of a woman’s postpartum body ever shown. Celebrities are shown on the cover of glossy magazines looking better than they did before the baby. What we do not see is the team of stylists and makeup artists. We are not shown the Photoshop masters who manipulate reality into something that’ll bring a profit.

 

The reality of a postpartum body is nothing like those magazines. Bellies stay round, weight clings to new curves. Breasts swell with milk and stretch marks line our bodies. The reality is nothing like the magazine cover.

 

It is better.

 

The reality is that our bellies stay round for a while because it takes time for our wombs to shrink back down. It takes time for the space where our children grew and formed to retreat into our pelvises. Our bodies hold onto extra weight that clings to our new momma curves. It stays there to insure that those newly engorged breasts will always have the resources they need to produce milk for our growing babies. The lines that form from our overstretched skin are a reminder of the utterly amazing feat we have accomplished.

 

We created life.

 

It is true; our bodies are not the same as they were before the baby. Pregnancy changed it. It changed us. We grew life with this new body of ours. We kept our little ones safe and nourished. We gave birth to them. This body. This new, different, changed body. Maybe we will never look the same, maybe we will hold onto these new curves and lines forever. But that is ok. That is beautiful. No Photoshop is needed when our children run to us for comfort. No stylist or makeup artist is needed when they look to us for love.

 

I see you gorgeous mommas. I see your curves and your round belly. I see you tugging at your shirt, unsure of your new body. I see beauty and strength. I see a mom and I see courage. I see love and I see the future.

 

I see you beautiful mommas and I hope that one day soon, you see you too.

 

I See You Beautiful Momma

Mothering Through The Darkness

by
mothering through the darkness cover

I remember getting the email that the HerStories Project was doing an open call for submissions. Their next book was to be about the postpartum experience. As someone who struggled, hard, with postpartum depression and anxiety I just knew I had to submit something.

I had a short essay I had written on the topic. Over the next couple of weeks I tweaked it and rewrote it until it was three times the size it started as and nearly unrecognizable. As I read it aloud to my husband to see what he thought, I choked up. This could be one of my best essays ever.

I submitted it just hours before deadline. I held my breath. Weeks passed. The response to the open call was overwhelming. Stephanie and Jessica had an enormous and nearly impossible task.

Then, one day last week an email arrived.

Congratulations!

Dear Author,

Thank you for your patience during this lengthy submission process for Mothering Through the Darkness: Women Open Up About the Postpartum Experience. We received nearly 220 submissions, and had to narrow the selections down to just 35 essays. We are delighted to inform you that your essay has been selected for publication! Congratulations, and welcome to the project!

 

I reread that email several times thinking that there was no way they could be congratulating me.

But they were.

I am going to be published.

It sounds trite but this is a dream come true. My words, in  book, for others to read.

I am in amazing company. The co-authors of this anthology are incredible. To see the entire gang and read the official announcement, please click HERE.

mothering through the darkness cover