Thursday, July 13, 2017

Parenthood: Year One

We're now the proud parents of a one-year-old, and if the first year is indication of how the rest of them will go: 

Fasten your seat belts, folks, 
and keep all limbs inside the vehicle.
This ride is fast

Wow - year one went quickly. 

Mostly because this is how we spent the first twelve months:

Month One
Month one was mostly spent learning how to function on church lady meals (amazing), three-minute showers and way too much daytime television. It was spent trying to come to terms with the fact that I would likely never sleep again. Month one was mostly spent with Caroline and I crying a lot, Cody wondering what the heck happened to his bride and me washing baby clothes so big, I never thought she'd grow into them. Month one was spent wrapping her in a blue light blanket and praying for a good outcome. Month one was spent losing the same cup of coffee multiple times. It was spent counting my blessings until I fell asleep. Month one was my favorite month. 

Month Two
Month two was mostly spent wondering if Caroline was getting enough to eat. And googling stomach sizes of infants and researching ways to increase milk production and calling the pediatric center daily. Month two was spent tapping containers on the counter top to get just one more drop into the bottle. It was spent pulling the car over to the side of the road to get in the back seat to check if she was still breathing because she had miraculously quit crying. Month two was spent warming the same cup of coffee in the microwave three times before finishing it. It was spent counting my blessings until I fell asleep. Month two was my favorite month. 

Month Three
Month three was mostly spent and washing, folding and sorting the baby clothes (that I thought she'd never grow into) so they could be moved to storage because she had outgrown them. Month three was spent trying to get into a really solid routine so that month four wouldn't hurt so badly. It was spent crossing state lines in an airplane and learning how to travel with an infant - nearly perfectly. It was spent packing and unpacking suitcases and realizing you can never pack too many burp cloths. Month three was about getting out and going. Even though, on one trip to my Grandma's I pulled over at these locations to check her, as her neck appeared weird in the backseat mirror: 
  1. Abandoned Copper Kettle restaurant gravel lot (100 yards from our driveway)
  2. Economy fruit stand
  3. Closed down Williamsburg general store
  4. Stuckey's at Centerville Road and I-70
  5. Centerville Christian Church
  6. Abington Fire Station
  7. Aunt Debbie's driveway
  8. Empty parking lot in Boston
Then I drove way too fast, four more miles to Grandma's. The 40-minute trip took well over an hour. We both napped upon arrival, and Great-Grandma found us boring. Month three was my favorite month. 

Month Four
Month four was mostly spent crying on the way to work and exceeding the speed limit on the way back to the daycare after work. It was spent not working a minute past 5:00 and being the first person out of the parking lot. Month four was spent calling the daycare every day to ensure Caroline was ok and to see if she'd asked about me. And scrolling through photos and video on my phone every time I needed a break from my career. Which was once an hour. At least. Month four was about finding joy in the 5:00 AM hour, waking before the rest of the world and holding someone so small, so tight, in such darkness, realizing how precious those moments are. Month four was my favorite month. 

Month Five
Month five was mostly spent sitting at the top of the creaky farm house steps on Saturdays, waiting on a baby to fall and stay asleep. It was spent judging breathing patterns from twelve feet away and trying to see a little chest move up and down. Month six was spent trying to figure out how I was going to get back down the extremely squeaky stairs without undoing everything I just did. Month five was about learning to let go and let sleep. Everyone. Month five was spent trying to quietly hide from an emerging, energetic personality. Month five was my favorite month. 

Month Six 
Month six was mostly spent packing for a Christmas adventure to Kansas then wondering if we'd ever survive it. It was sorting through weeks of clothes, for a 5-day trip and cramming diapers into every available space inside a Ford F-250. Month six was about learning how to travel via stock trailer, not airplane, while working around a baby and a few cow/calf pairs. Month six brought a whole new joy to the holidays. Month six was spent humming the same two songs over and over to get the baby to sleep: Silent Night and the theme song from Cheers. Month six was my favorite month. 

Month Seven
Month seven was mostly spent in Carhartts and insulated boots. It was spent zipping and unzipping many layers, feeding and checking cows in the dark 6:00 PM hour and being thankful the diesel growl of a Kubota puts a baby to sleep. It was mostly spent wondering who in the he** engineered the blue ball waterers that constantly freeze and if there is a warrant out for their arrest. It was spent begging a baby to try bananas and green beans. Then wiping bananas and green beans off the dining rooms walls. Month seven was my favorite month. 

Month Eight
Month eight was mostly spent traveling for work and taking a round-faced, brown-eyed baby with me. It was learning that no one sleeps well in a hotel room and no one can get out of Evansville, Indiana fast enough. Month six was spent chipping ice out of water tanks and  putting mittens on a baby who must suck her thumb. Month eight was a real humdinger. It was spent trying to make our way through 3 (more) teeth, 2 (more) ear infections and many more wipe-downs of the dining room walls. Month eight had all of us nearly tearing down the walls to reach fresh air outside. Month eight was my favorite month. 

Month Nine
Month nine was mostly spent wondering how you get a baby to sit still long enough to get her hair in a rubber band and out of her eyes. I was spent it wondering if it's too early to spritz some tail adhesive in the mess and call it done. Month nine was spent wondering how someone so small can find every lady bug in the house, after we had to spend an entire weekend at home because I couldn't find my car keys. Month nine was mostly spent on the living room floor clapping and singing and giggling and wishing bedtime wasn't so early but thanking God that rest was minutes away. Month nine was my favorite month. 

Month Ten
Month ten was mostly spent removing batteries out of remote controls and putting covers over all reachable outlets; then realizing she has really good reach. Month ten was spent outside studying trees and blooms and rain drops and baby calves. Month ten was spent touching everything and washing our hands a lot. It was spent learning that baby teeth are the sharpest teeth in the history of the world and their jaws can move quite quickly. Month ten was spent logging many hours swinging in the tree and dancing in the kitchen. Month ten was spent waiting for the gagging noise, then peeling a piece of the Angus Journal out of the roof of her mouth, againMonth ten was my favorite month. 

Month Eleven
Month eleven was mostly spent taking imaginary bites of soggy graham crackers when the baby wanted to share. It was spent hugging and kissing her dolly and teddy bear when she thought you should and helping her climb onto her rocking horse every morning and every night. Month eleven was spent picking white seeds out of seedless watermelons and squeezing her into a swimsuit two nights a week. Month eleven was spent folding clothes in the 11:00 PM hour and wiping your tears with footie pajamas that have grippers on the feet because you realize how fast life goes when you're living for something new. It was spent doing a "cheek check" after dinner and again before bed because you realize babies and chipmunks are both hoarders. Month eleven was learning that there is something incredibly intriguing about me stepping foot inside the bathroom. Month eleven was my favorite month. 

Month Twelve
Month twelve was mostly spent on my hands and knees, wiping spilled milk up of the kitchen floor and whispering "spill-proof my ass" before coming back up to where the baby could hear me. It was spent looking in the refrigerator and finding things that can be cut into tiny pieces that will - even after mopping the floor - end up stuck to the bottom of my bare foot as I walk to the bathroom at 2:57 AM. It was spent learning to not be surprised when the baby brings me things - such as little pieces of steak, that is now beef jerky - that I haven't served for two weeks. Month twelve is about wondering where toddlers hide food and if the house might have an ant problem. Month twelve is what we just got through, where we learned moreso everyday that children don't need stuff or over stimulation. They need hugs and experiences. Month twelve was my favorite month. 

I offer sincere thanks to each of you 
who have encouraged me through motherhood over the last year. 
I've wanted to be a mother since I met my own, 
but it wasn't until I became one 
that I realized just what motherhood entails. 

And we haven't even approached 
potty training, 
long division or 
wedding dress shopping. 

Prayers appreciated. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Making the Ordinary Come Alive

I heard the following three lines - or something much like them - several times over the last two months:
Big party planned for Caroline's first birthday?
What's the theme of her party?
You probably have a Pinterest Board completely dedicated to her first birthday bash. (<- That person obviously didn't know me well.)

And then Cody began asking what our plans were. I was quite honest with him right out of the gate: I don't want a party, I just want to enjoy the day. 
He was all in.

Caroline spent her first birthday having bananas and milk, and a graham cracker or two. 
She checked cows with her dad and watered the garden with me.
We read books we'd not yet cracked opened from her baby shower more than a year ago.
Her cousins came over and she had help opening pretty wrapped presents. 

We swam (splashed) in the kiddie pool for just a bit before an inch of rain came over the farm. By the way - we've had 10 inches of rain in the last 12 days. 

Then the cousins left and we took a tour of the yard and barn lot in the wagon (better known as a utility cart) that we got Caroline (or, me. Think of all the buckets that bad boy can hold!) for her first birthday. 

After a solid nap, we headed to Bowman Superior Genetics to celebrate with one set of grandparents.

And Midge. 

Lots of crawling - it's faster than walking right now

 I made cupcakes for the occasion 
and made enough to send 6 home with 
Mom and Dad's help, James. 

This is probably the same tissue paper 
I used when wrapping Mom's Christmas gift. 
I get it honest. 

Who loves who more?

This wasn't a gift, but it's sure fun to ride 
when we visit Grandpa and Grammie's. 

"You're going to blow out the fire stick 
before I have to eat that, right?"

She always lets us know when it's time to head home. 

We wrapped up the day checking cows again (this time with a graham cracker in hand) and one last wagon ride for the day. 

We didn't really think this part through. 

One day we'll splurge. 
And we'll go over the top. 
And we'll invite family and friends. 
And I will spend more than $4.17 on her party food (cupcakes and icing).
And I might even have a Pinterest board of ideas and must-dos. 
But I don't know when that will be. 
Perhaps her wedding?

For now, Cody and I are spending our time exploring life's ordinary with Caroline. 

No question that - for Caroline's first birthday -
we made the ordinary come alive.