motherhood // as a family of five

a little glimpse into our lives at home as family as five...

with full hearts and tired eyes, we go to bed beyond thankful each evening, counting our blessings one by one.  thank you sweet kaley for taking these photos, we'll cherish them forever and ever. xx


motherhood // from one mother to another

it's hard to believe seven months ago i was sicker than i'd ever been, emotionally and physically drained, in and out of the hospital while growing this little guy.  now in the haze of newborn joy where everything smells like mamas milk and tiny diapers are scattered about, i can hardly recall just how sick i was.  i know it happened and that it strained our family, but like a summer rain storm, it has moved on and filled that squall with a rainbow.  and now here we are, one day after alfie's due date and happily far beyond that a small but arduous chapter of our big, beautiful story.  

despite the fuzziness of my first and second trimesters, i distinctly remember lying in in my bed, hooked up to an IV, feeling like forty weeks would never arrive.  my close friends kept telling me to try and look beyond the fog and see each trial as a blessing from god.  because that's easy, right?  but truthfully and most importantly, i was growing a very healthy babe, and even though my body was tired and weak, it would soon again regain strength, my arms holding enfolding the newest family member snug on my chest.  my woman warriors, my persistent and present and lovely mama friends, told me that this time of my life (yes all hard ten months of it) would sink into the foundation of my being and make me stronger and better and more grateful.  i would hardly remember it, they said.  although unable to really see through the muck of sickness and fully believe them at the time, were they ever right.  i don't know what i would have done without their constant showering of hope from one mother to another. 

so i say, now in the thick of happiness at home with my little clan, to any mamas having a rough go right now, whether sick and pregnant, trying to conceive, or simply in simply in a difficult phase of life and motherhood that seems to be digging you a rather immense hole, keep hope and faith.  cling to it with all your might and know there's sunshine waiting for you.  life is one giant cycle and sometimes we are up, and other times down.  your time will come.  a big rainbow is waiting to fill up your sky.

and if you're in a bright place in your life, a place where your biggest concern is lack of sleep or having piles of laundry to do, now is the time to be that light for others.  to change roles from patient to nurse and give back.  i am learning that life will always be messy and busy and hard, whether you have one baby or three.  i am trying to always remember that, and meanwhile, grace, grace, grace.  

i see this as my calling now in this current season: to offer those i know are suffering or in a difficult place the support and encouragement to wake up and do life, no matter how hard, and be thankful for it.  to be a mama warrior alongside them.  to bring them a giant iced coffee and pretty smelling lotion.  to swing by with dinner or just warm hug.  to be present, just as i needed those closest to me to be, to help my fellow mama friends see beyond the ominous clouds in their life and let them know that they are not alone.  this pregnancy has taught me so much, my community has taught me countless lessons, and although things are a bit hectic figuring out our family's new rhythm, we are all heathy, full of joy, and ready to be a source of optimism for others.  to those who helped me, thank you a thousand times over.  


welcome, baby alfie francis!

just one week ago today, we welcomed our darling little alfie francis into world.  at three fourteen in the afternoon, and after a long however surprisingly relaxing labor, our doctor carefully handed us our sweet boy, gently passing all six pounds and eleven ounces of his over to me.  there on my chest he rested and snuggled and nursed for well over an hour, his beautiful eyes locking with mine every now and again.  i cannot really describe the depth of this moment, other than i fell in love so hard, becoming completely vulnerable again as a new mother of three and one big ol' pile of mama mush.  as i laid there, andrew pressing into my bedside, we listened to the sweet symphony of alfie.  those little grunts, small bouts of crying, and his short first breaths filled the room as we sunk further and further into a place of calm and joy.  the entire experience of meeting our babe was a dream.  a moment so pure and peaceful, frozen in time, and one i'll recount often thanking god and counting my blessings.  oh, how we love you so alfie boy.


motherhood // and so we wait and surrender

“life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or hatch” e.b. white from charlotte’s web 

for the past few weeks since we hit full term, i feel as though i can hear the earth's clock ticking.  each profound second, a thick, dull thud, slowly yet steadily creeping round the bend until yet another full minute has gone by.  it's how funny life works.  how patience works.  how ridiculously emotional one can be.  how one week you can be praying for more time, for things to stretch out and linger, and in the subsequent one, wishing life to fly by and land on one precise dot, that future moment you've been dreaming about for months.  how silly we are to wish for things to hurry up, then slow down, and then hurry up again and just happen already.  i am guilty of such silliness.  in taking a step back i see just how wise god truly is, always keeping us in a place of need and on our toes...gently suggesting through our trials and sufferings that we bend our knees and offer our worries and woes up to him, helping us see that the answer lies in surrendering and inching away from the illusion that we are in control of his plan. 

as our family anticipates the arrival of our little one (who is due to arrive any day now) we are met with every emotion.  we are already three weeks past when we delivered our other babies (three whole weeks!) meaning that we will not be delivering a preemie.  interestingly enough, i did not go on progesterone with this pregnancy, however i did get steroids just in case our sweetie needed lung support if early like his/her brother and sister.  all of this being said, we are overjoyed to have made it to this point.  but now that i have reached that full-term mark, i am finding that i am feeling rather ready to get labor going.  seriously, amanda, settle down already.  enough with the wanting!  but if i am being honest here, i have grown tired of the scores upon scores of contractions that that have taken over by tightening and paining my now very sore body.  as i lay on the couch or bed, i'll feel one coming on and so i'll start the timer on my phone, only to find out an hour later that they were false.  and so it goes.  but with each twinge and long pause, my hands gripping the corner of a pillow, i know that they are not in vain.  my body is smart and strong and is getting ready by testing my weary self, preparing me for an impending time when things will indeed be real and i will have needed all that prep work in my back pocket.

as for other things i am learning on this journey, let's throw "embracing the now" into the mix.  as the shadow of my belly outstretches over my red painted toes, i am learning how important it is to be present.  to stop thinking that happiness lies in something based in the future, no matter how badly i want it.  to soak up the richness of all that is right now, albeit quite plodding and pokey, and enjoy these final moments as a family of four.  to relish in our weekends of waking up slowing and reading the paper and chasing the kids around the yard.  to having no plans and keeping it that way.  i love that when i need a good nudge out of my anxiousness, andrew is right there to remind me, "let's take one day at a time, honey." and he's right.  one day, one hour...to allow this slow drip commence and consume us, not in a way that ushers in impatience, but one that fosters gratitude for the gift we've been given to grow a healthy baby.  thank god for that.  

lately i'll catch myself thinking back to that newborn smell, the one of softness and sweetness, the smell that envelopes a mama heart right after they've been born.  i'll reminisce, longing to breathe it in.  i'll think about that and the whole experience of delivery, taking a deep breath, aware that in a matter of a few weeks (or more realistically mere days) i will get to experience this all over again, but with time most likely no nicu.  i dream of our doctor placing our tiny babe in my arms, rather than being whisked away only to be hooked up to tiny wires and tubes.  these thoughts, among other things such as sticking to routine and immersing myself in simple tasks such as baking banana bread and reading to the kids before nap time, are helping me stay calm.  each chore accomplished and each fading sunset reminding me that we are getting closer to meeting our baby.  however, i would be amiss if i did not tell you that there are indeed other times, more fast paced ones, when growing this baby and nearing the finish line feels more like i am running full speed down a steep hill, making me give into the momentum that is carrying me.  this momentum, however scary and powerful, is giving me grace and forcing me to let go.  to again surrender, and know that god, not me, has this.  in the thick of this imbalance where calm and crazy meet, letting go is what wins.  it's what gives me permission to go about life peacefully, presently, laced with a glowing lining of thankfulness. 

so as the hours tick on and we wait for our precious baby, we will be keeping to the rhythm of our everyday.  a load of laundry in the morning, followed by coffee and something sweet.  painting and drawing before nap time, followed by lunch on the porch, even if it's raining outside.  our later afternoons filled with puzzles and playing with tractors.  a simple supper prepared, nothing too fancy, flavored with herbs from our garden.  and before bedtime, few books, bubble baths, and maybe a movie.  and so we wait.  


snippets // as spring turned into summer

1. stella in her favorite dress on her birthday after we had a mama/daughter taco date.
2. andrew and theodore, just melting my heart on our big swing.
3. a special lunch for the ladies, jammies required.
4. daddy found theo's blankie!
5. the night he took his first swing.
6. just a little selfie for ya.
7. he spotted his blankie on the line and that was that.
8. theo being theo in the mud.
9. relaxing at mama and looking up at the trees.
10. stella and daddy on a weekend ride.
11. every morning, he sits next to andrew and watched his put on his shoes.
12. at our favorite nursery on mother's day.
13. playing with her new birthday stickers.
14. saturday pool hangs in the backyard.
15. we were craving a cake.
16. the face of concentration with a touch of sass.
17. enjoying a nice lunch by myself as the littles napped.
18. reading sister's book upside-down.
19. stella's last day of ballet.
20. lunch made with herbs from our garden.
21. being a turkey and rather determined to touch those birdies in our bassinet.
22. looking so peaceful during an afternoon nap.
23. taco night and a little game of let's run around the island!
24. playing with his yellow car as i folded laundry nearby.
25. all the summer veggie cravings right now.