Dear Emerson

Dear Emerson,

You’re funny, daring, silly, caring, and oh, so darn cute!

You even get me to giggle when you exclaim, “Oh, Emmie toot!”

I love the way you try to negotiate

to increase the pee to jellybean rate.

Or how you count, “Won, two, REE!”

It always gets a smile from me –

But heaven forbid you ever utter “four.”

since it’s your favorite number to ignore.

emmie-poem

You can bust a move to any song

and when you’re laughing you can do no wrong-

except for hitting, that behavior is new

Daddy and I aren’t sure what to do.

You never want to apologize

even though tears stream from your eyes.

You’ll tell us, after, hitting made you feel sad

but never what it was that made you so mad.

We’re really hoping it’s just a phase

and that you’ll soon be back to performing your ballets.

emmie-poem-2

Some days you’re helpful: loading dishes or folding socks –

while other days you’d prefer to play outside and collect rocks.

You love playing keep-a-way with Oliver’s doggy bones

and always demand the “cow game” when you see Daddy’s phone.

dsc_3165

You love the library and each week when we go,

it’s so much fun for me to see how you’ve grown.

When we started you just sat there- so quiet,

and now you’ll sing & dance. Yup,  it’s a riot!

emmie-poem-3

A little quirk that I find so funny,

anytime you find a penny you say, “Here Mom, MONEY!”

Another oddity that you’ve begun

is requesting random songs to be sung;

a “turkey song,” a “silly belly song,” and “Daddy comes home” are just a few.

Oh Emmie, I do hope you know just how much I love you.

emmie-poem-5

 

Being your mother is such a treat,

but watching you get older is bittersweet.

While you test your limits and boundaries for sure,

the love you exude is just so pure.

emmie-poem-4

You’re special to me in ways you’ll never know

And every single day my love for you grows.

Yes, my love for you knows no bounds-

Emma Claire, you make my world go round.

Love, Mom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

10 Surefire Ways of Getting More Much-Needed Sleep in Pregnancy.

Having trouble sleeping in pregnancy? Try these 10 easy ways to get more sleep during pregnancy.

I’ve hit that stage in pregnancy where sleep has become oh so elusive. You better believe I’m implementing every strategy I know to get more sleep! If you’re having trouble getting enough sleep during pregnancy try out some of these fail-safe ways get more sleep:

1. Body pillows: As you progress in pregnancy you’re no longer supposed to sleep on your back. You can’t sleep on your stomach, because, well, you’re pregnant. And they recommend you favor your left side. You can use body pillows to support your belly while also supporting your knees. Having a second body pillow can give your backside some support as well. Basically make yourself into a body pillow sandwich.

2. Sleep by yourself. Pregnancy is a time when rolling over takes a momentous amount of strength. Sharing a bed makes this even harder. Space is limited and your partner’s movements could keep you awake. If you’re really struggling, kick out your significant other. You’re growing a human, it’s hard work and you need sleep. You might find you sleep so much better solo.

3. Essential oils: A soothing scent can help relieve stress and help you drift off easier. Lavender is known for it’s calming effects. Not a lavender fan? Try a mix of orange, clove and lemongrass.

4. Hypnosis apps: If you don’t have an issue falling asleep at the beginning of the night, but anxiety or restlessness keeps you up after those early morning wakings, try a hypnosis app. Having a soothing guiding mediation can help keep your mind off whatever it is that’s keeping your brain awake. It’ll help you focus – just enough– to relax back into sleep. Don’t want to wake your partner? Try these Cozyphones.

5. Limit hydration at night: Curb those nighttime wakings for frequent bathroom trips by limiting drinks in the evening. Stop drinking a couple hours before bed.

6. Exercise: Keeping up a regular exercise routine can help you get a more restful night. Short on time? Even something as simple as a quick walk or a gentle 10 minutes of yoga before bed can help you fall asleep easier.

7. Use white noise: Tune out those background night noises with a white noise machine.

8. Keep a cool room: Your blood volume increases by 1/3 during pregnancy so you might find yourself running warmer than usual. Keep the bedroom cool and comfortable for sleeping. A bedside fan could be just the thing you need for a more restful night.

9. Receive a massage: Have your partner give you a quick rub down. Even something as simple as a 5 minute back massage can help release any tension your body may be carrying that would prevent easily falling asleep.

10. Have a bedtime routine: by creating a simple bedtime routine, and sticking with it, you set your body up with these cues that help signal it’s bedtime. This can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

11. Take a nap: Sometimes you just can’t log enough ZZZ’s during the night. Make time during the day to catch up. A power nap has been proven time and time again to increase concentration, focus, and productivity.

12. Skip the caffeine: If you can, cut out caffeine completely. If you can’t live without your morning coffee, make sure you cut off your caffeine supply no later than 2pm. This also includes things like chocolate!

Continue Reading

Tea for Two: A New Baby is Due

Tea2Bfor2BTwo2B12BwordsTEa2Bfor2Btwo2B32Bwords2B2 tea2Bfor2Btwo2B42Bwords2B3 Tea2Bfor2Btwo2B72Bwords2B4Tea2Bfor2Btwo2B62Bwords2B5 Tea2Bfor2Btwo2B82Bwords2B6 tea2Bfor2Btwo2B132Bwords2B7That’s right! We’re expecting baby girl #2 in early February. We’re very excited to add a new addition to our family. I’m currently 18 weeks along and finally feeling good. I struggled a lot more with morning sickness this pregnancy and lost a bit of weight, which for someone with Cystic Fibrosis is the worst! I’ve finally managed to gain it back so we’re headed in the right direction. I was so thankful during the first trimester that Emerson is still a great napper because first trimester exhaustion was a struggle! Beth2B2BKyle2B3Beth2B3
All in all, we’re all very excited and looking forward to baby girl’s arrival in the new year. I hope you’ll follow along as we continue on our new journey as a soon-to-be family of 4!
PS: We had a blast taking these pictures for our announcement. Emmie thought our tea party was the most amazing thing of her life.
Continue Reading

Emerson Claire: Interview With A 2 Year Old

My Dearest Emerson,

You are now 2 years old! You love to dance, you love being tickled, and you absolutely love when I share my Orgain with you. You and Oliver are still best buds. You constantly pat Ollie’s back and tell him,”good boy!” even if he’s trying to steal your chicken nugget straight from your hand. You are still pretty reserved when it comes to meeting new people and you’re still very attached to me. You get pretty upset whenever I leave. We’ve been working on this though, by going to the gym! While I workout you play/cry in the playroom. Every day gets better. 

You love jumping on your “pam pam pampoline” and get very excited to “pay” in Chic-fil-A’s play room. You’re still very much a sweet girl. You love to dole out kisses and seek out random body parts to smother, such as elbows and knees. You can pull on tutu’s and put your sandals on all by yourself. You’re really starting to communicate with words instead of grunts and sounds. You have even decided to start potty training yourself. Some days you go pee on the potty all day long, even when we’re out running errands. Other days, you couldn’t be bothered.

I decided to try to interview you so I could capture just how cute you are at this age. I’m not even sure this video does you justice. I will love you forever, you silly girl.

Love,
Momma

Continue Reading

Mother’s Day

Motherhood starts way before you ever hold your babe in your arms. It even starts before you carry that little babe in your belly. Eating right and working out. Prenatal vitamins, tracking temperatures and reading countless fertility books. Little purchases forgone so you could squirrel away the money knowing one day you’d have the tinniest socks to buy. Hopes and dreams and sacrifices.

Then you grow your baby, surrendering your coffees, your drinks, your productivity and ankles. You start counting your time in weeks, then days, then hours and minutes. Finally, a little voice is brought into the world and you continue on your journey with hopes and dreams and sacrifices.

Rocking, shushing, snuggling, swaddling, feeding, wiping away tears and wiping bums. Choking back tears to soothe a terrified face at the doctors. A heart so full it might burst. Late night cries and early morning giggles. The terrifying doubts of being enough.  Long days turning into short weeks, and snug clothes packed away. Your heart aches with hopes and dreams and sacrifices.

Being a mother is all consuming. It engulfs you in an endless see of love,  doubt,  anxiety and joy. You ride so high, and fall so low. It seeps it’s way into your personality. You’re Mom: warrior princess, doctor supreme, head chef, and monster-trapper. You’re a blanket, a song, a smile, a kiss. You are the arms of comfort and the hand of authority.  You are hopes and dreams and sacrifices.

So cheers to you Moms, may you feel the love of your little one where ever they may be. May you find courage and strength to continue on, for without you we are nothing. 

Continue Reading

On Love and Loss

I found out around the time of our Christmas vacation that I was pregnant again. Hence the long absence of blogging around the new year. I blame pregnancy exhaustion and hormones. So many hormones! This pregnancy turned out to be the complete opposite of my first. I didn’t feel an immediate connection to this baby, in fact there were days I forgot completely that I was creating another human. For that I blamed the other human I had already created; she kept me so busy I didn’t have time to dwell on the good news.
But at the first appointment we found that the fetus had no heartbeat and displayed no movement. And while I was supposed to be 10 weeks along, baby only measured at 7 weeks and 1 day. I had what they called – a “silent miscarriage.”
Part of me had expected this outcome. On the day I clutched my positive pregnancy test, I also had a very high, hard to break fever.  Such a high fever can cause neural defects. When my OB broke the news I found myself silently nodding my head in agreement. It made sense. The crazy surge of hormonal meltdowns last week, the skin breakouts and the extreme bloating. All my body’s way of giving one last try at saving the baby. No such luck; it just wasn’t meant to be. So imagine my cool-headed, hard logic surprise when at the mention of a D&C tears started leaking from my eyes.
I wasn’t prepared for this. I knew it was a possibility but I was certainly not prepared. We settled on a second confirmation ultrasound before scheduling the D&C. It was driving home that I realized what I was dreading the most; telling the man I love that our future was changing again. That my body somehow failed me us and the visions of two kids running around had suddenly vanished.

For a long time, I just wanted to get back to normal. I felt relieved at first. I continually told myself I was happier that I was no longer pregnant and that we really “dodged a bullet.” I was annoyed when my friends, my family… the people I care so deeply about kept checking in with me to see if I was okay. I was dressed and put together, I wasn’t sobbing in the evenings, I was moving on and felt like they were holding me back.
In reality, I was holding myself back. I was smack dab in the first few stages of grieving. Denial, anger, bargaining… you know the rest. I turned to wine to self soothe my hidden regrets and buried anger. If I wasn’t going to be pregnant I could at least drink. I tried to drown my “what-if’s”  in bottles of Chardonnay. And then one day it finally happened; the tears came.
I was laying on the floor playing with Emerson. I was voicing nonsensical thoughts while she rummaged around in the masses of toys spewed across the living room rug. Emmie was quiet, as is her way, but lately she’s been dabbling in speaking more. When she looked up from what she was doing and quietly stated, “baby.” I propped myself up on my elbows.
“A baby? Did you hear a baby crying? Is one of your baby dolls tired? Where is this baby you speak of?”
Then time stood still. She smiled a big grin and scooted over to me, lifted my shirt exposing my pale stomach and laid her ear on my belly. “Baby,” she said again using her little cold hand to pat my soft tummy.
I felt it. The icy shatter of my heart breaking. It hit me like a wave of winter air, a chill that steals the breathe right from your lungs.
“Mommy doesn’t have a  baby in her belly anymore, honey.” I heard the whisper leave my lips before I realized that I was speaking.  I held my breathe as I watched her face mimic the maze of emotions I was lost in. First, confusion with little furrowed brows and a slight tilt of her head, and then as she processed the words a sad little pout sprouted from her lips and the tiniest quiver danced across her chin.
“Does it make you sad that mommy doesn’t have a baby in her belly anymore?” I asked,  my voice still barely audible. The world fell silent around us. Another chin quiver and wide, sad eyes locked onto mine and Emerson solemnly nodded yes. Yes, it made her sad.
I didn’t bother to wipe away the hot tears now streaming down my face. “It makes me sad too darling. It makes me very sad too.” I scooped her little body in my arms and breathed her in. There we sat tangled up in each other’s arms and each other’s sadness. But most importantly we sat there huddled together engulfed in love.
In time my broken heart will fully heal. Until then, I’ll drink up every moment with Emerson. The smirks and laughs. The way she gleefully runs down the street doing her best to keep up with the big kids. Or how she throws her arms around my neck and squeezes so tightly I can do nothing to hold my laughter in. I’ll study how the light bounces off her golden hair and listen to her breathe when she snuggles close.  I’ll dry her tears when she scraps her knee again and hold her hand to keep her safe. And in time, perhaps, there will be a moment where I can watch Emmie’s face light up when we tell her she’ll be a big sister.

Continue Reading

Balancing Motherhood & Illness

Life has a certain ebb and flow when you live with a chronic illness. Good health is something not taken for granted. For most fighting a chronic illness, healthiness is something we are always acutely aware of. When we’re healthy we relish how easy it is to breathe deep to laugh, the luxury of simply taking the stairs or how playing outside today won’t cause hurt tomorrow. Under this magnification of appreciation you also become gravely aware of the first sign that you’re slipping. You might notice the extra pause you take when lugging in groceries, the slight resistance of the joints in your hands when you go to make your morning coffee or the weight of your chest when having an impromptu dance party. 
It’s in these small signs that we know our health is fleeting. Where we were once happily gazing out into the future on our hill of health, our bodies have sent us small warnings that we’re slipping. We’re no longer standing on top of the hill but sliding downwards.  We can use these signs to fortify our defenses & up our effort of putting our health first so we can fight to get back on top of our hill.
Yet sometimes, that’s just not what happens. Sometimes, despite all your effort, despite how hard you push, you keep sliding backwards. The peak of your hill gets smaller as you get further and further away. You grapple at anything on your way down; you dig your heels in, your hands snatching at roots, finger nails digging into the dirt and praying you can just hold on. But when gravity gets ahold of you halfway down that hill, you know you’re out of luck and out of options. There is just no way you’re making it back to the top of that hill without someone to help you get there.
That’s what living with CF is like: a constant battle to stay atop your favorite hill.  The hill where, at its peak, your baby girl sits patiently waiting for you to get back.

Emerson’s young now, so she doesn’t realize the subtleties of my illness. For now she thinks that all Mommies need nebulizers. I keep a jar of enzymes on the counter so I can reach in and grab a few before I eat… to her that jar is normal, my pills, are normal. The bright blue vest I strap to my chest to shake for half hour increments? Normal. Maybe she thinks that all mothers use these things. Maybe she thinks that one day she’ll need these things too.
Yes, Emerson is young now and she doesn’t understand why some days I can play, and others I can’t. She doesn’t understand the aggravation of not being able to meet her demands, because my body already had too many. She can’t comprehend that I sometimes have to put myself first, out of love for her. And when she cries because she doesn’t want me to do my vest any longer, when she signs “all done” as I bring out my morning nebulizer, or when I simply don’t have the energy to go outside and she cries at the door… she doesn’t realize that it’s heartbreaking for me. That I too, don’t want to stay inside to do my meds, but I must and so I do.
Balancing motherhood with my disease is hard- tremendously, terrifyingly, and staggeringly hard. Maybe one day Emmie will understand, that we’re all just navigating life the best we can with what we were given. Maybe one day she’ll look back and recognize all the sacrifices I make as a mother with CF so that I could have one more day to hold her, one more day to tell her I love her, one more day of being her mother. For now, that’s all I can hope, and it’s that hope that keeps me fighting day after day to get back to the top of that hill. 

Continue Reading

Reminders

Sometimes motherhood feels overwhelming. You become bogged down with all the worries, anxieties, and fears of not being enough. Not providing enough love, enough creativity, enough activities. You worry about singing enough songs, reading enough books, painting enough pictures. You worry about being present but encouraging independence. You worry that you’re just not enough.

And then, it all fades away in an instant.

I was getting Emerson dressed for the day. We were layering since there was still a bitter winter chill in the air and we were headed to the park. Tights, then leggings. A blue long sleeve bodysuit. I pulled out a faded Wonder Woman tee to throw over as an easy layer. Wonder Woman with her wild – yet glamorously tamed- hair, her bold bodysuit and fearless pose swooping in to save the day.

Emerson peaked over at the shirt and her face lit up. Pointing to the woman on the shirt, she gasp, “Mama!” And just like that, all those silly fears of not being enough faded into nothingness. According to my daughter, I was Wonder Woman.

I laughed and said, “You think that’s me?” Emerson’s classic ‘yes’ nod followed. Deliberate and slow: up, down. Yes. She pointed again, “Mama! Mama!” I laughed again, but this time, I nodded in agreement. Sure, kiddo, if you want to think I’m Wonder Woman go right ahead. And in that moment in time I knew; I am enough.

Continue Reading