Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Curious George

Pretty much my days have flown by lately...
Why do you ask? Because every second of it is exciting and filled with potenial danger.
My baby is crawling everywhere, discovering everything and...putting it in his mouth.
Today I pulled out of his mouth:
-a tiny MandM (from Chex Mix, under the couch)
-a ball of lint (I think he collected this from around the house)
-a necklace
-squished peas from hours before
and the list just goes on and on.
He is just so darn cute and I cannot get enough of him. I had to share some of the cuteness.

I hope this made your day:-) As much as he makes mine every day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Confusion of Me

I'm a pretty confusing person. I confuse myself.

My last post was one full of hope and change.

And now....I feel like I am just starting over. Like someone just handed me a newborn (a 19 pound newborn) and said, here you go.

I'm pretty much at a loss for what to do to make this child sleep through the night. Of course after my jubilant post, he woke up not just 4 times, but without going back to bed. Pretty much, I didn't get anything but 20 minute cat naps in. Three nights later...and here I am at 12:30 AM, dreading going to sleep for fear of being beckoned.

I gave up and it seemed to work, now I feel lost and very out of control. Surely SOME sort of schedule needs to be in place since I am not a hermit and I do intend to get out of the house some time. I do not have patience to sit home waiting for Barclay to get drowsy so I can put him down.

Seriously. What to do, what to do...

On the plus side, I must admit I am getting way more quality time with my sweet baby than most mothers get.

Today at nursery, the worker told me that Barclay's countenance blessed her. She said he is the cutest baby ever and I would have to agree. Seriously, I can't even wait till the last song to run to the church nursery to pick him up.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Letting go

"Letting Go..."
This seems to be my theme for the week in several ways.

First of all, after more than 7 months of trying to schedule Barclay and do Babywise...I've given up. I've let it go. And what do you child has slept for 10 hours straight for three nights. He also doesn't cry all the time and he has take consistently 2 naps! What?!
Seriously, I've let go all my expectations (well most of them at least;-) I've decided that every day, my goal is just going to be to enjoy and play with my baby...and if ever he decides to nap, I will try to accomplish some work.
This has worked marvelously these past few days. I've enjoyed myself, enjoyed Barclay, I've met with friends and exercised a whole lot more. Poor baby was probably bored to tears playing with the same toys and doing the same things while I tried to work.
Thankfully, work has really slowed down and I am able to get what I need to with a few short hours of hard work. Instead of stretching it over a very frustrating day.
This schedule thing has really changed my life. After a few friends recommending the book, Health Sleep Habits, Happy Child, I ordered it and even though I've just read the first two chapters, I felt like the author had reached into my heart and knew exactly my fears, reservations, worries were. From the two chapters that I've read, the basic gist I've gotten is:
1.Healthy sleep is vital to every single part of your baby's life.
2.The key is to put them to sleep at the exact right time. (When they aren't NOT sleepy, and not when they are TOO sleepy).
Since I haven't read too much into it, I don't exactly know how to figure that out. But I felt such a sense of relieve and decided that I was just going to let Barclay tell me when he wanted to sleep, and if it was no napping till 5, or 3 naps, at least I would have to listen to his scream in his bed for hours.

This book has also brought forth a big issue with me: "When a child isn't sleeping, people blame the parents for doing something wrong."
It's so true! Of course I welcome any advice or theories in my search for sleep, but so many people say it in a way that makes me feel like I've been causing it.

The book also goes on to say that it isn't whether you breastfeed/bottle feed, or co sleep or crib sleep, or feed on demand of schedule, those aren't the answers. I've been looking frantically for that one fix all, deciding factor that will magically change everything. Maybe it was something I missed...maybe it was my ignorance about an issue, but no, I just had to clear my head of all that I had filled it up with ("cures") and start over and let my baby let me know what he needed.

Since I've started this "experiment", I have noticed that he doesn't like to take a morning nap at all. He likes to explore and DO stuff. I have then noticed the sign of sleepiness from him (not the fussy and fidgeting, but more of a heavy eye), I put him down and less than a minute later...silence.
That just goes to show you how every baby is different. Here I was for months and months, trying to do the "right thing" for him by scheduling him and being in control of when he sleeps. And it resulted in very little sleep and LOTS of crying and frustration. Basically, I went crazy.
So any young mothers out there, who are trying to just do everything right, just listen and filter. Not every thing works for every baby.

Also, since I've been enjoying him to the fullest these past few days, I've watched him crawl so fast it's scary, climb into our DVD player shelf, and pull up on several boxes. This child has to be watched at all times! I'm also feeling this huge feeling that I really need to "let go" a little bit of Barclay.

I'm so scared because I don't want to loose him. I feel the second I stop breastfeeding is the second he realizes (and other people too) that he doesn't need me anymore. It scares me that one day, I'll leave him for the night with a grandparent, or that once a week, my mom can take care of him for a few hours.
I've really realized how healthy it is to let go, and that no matter what, Barclay is a Mama's boy and we'll always have a very special indescribable connection. But, to have time to do things like, be myself, makes all the difference. Things like swimming at the YMCA, or having time to plan and cook dinner. It makes all the difference.

So I'm letting go, and reaping the blessings.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I'm taking a break from all the negative things about being a mothering right now (crying!)
And I want to just write out what it feels like to nestle with Barclay.

If there is one thing I've learned from being a mother, it is not to judge anyone! I had my ideas of what I wanted to do as a mother, how I wanted to schedule Barclay, what I wanted him to do and not do, eat and not eat...etc. After about 2 weeks, I decided that I needed just to survive and do whatever it took to.

One of the things I talked very much against was co-sleeping. I told all my non-mother friends, how awful it was and how I was never going to do it. How it affected both parents and baby's sleep, how you could roll over on your baby. How it created a habit that would be hard to break later on...

Let me tell you, after 3 months of literally not sleeping, I discovered something that would change my life...and save my life. Nursing while laying down. It was then that I discovered the joy of nestling.

I pretty much got addicted and for 2 months, I slept in the guest room with Barclay. I slept longer, deeper, and so did my husband. But after the haze started to settle, I knew that this was no good for my marriage, so back to the bedroom I went.

Just this past week, nighttime has returned to being awful and long. I've played musical beds so many times I can't remember where I am when I wake up. But I do have to say, no matter how tired I am, no matter how frustrated I am...those moments when I am curled like a semi circle around my baby boy are precious. It's like I've stored up room in my heart to cherish these moments and everything about them.

I love hearing him sigh, and the way his tiny hand rests on my chest. I love the feeling of my body warming his. I love the smell of baby head as I just lay in the darkness. I love rubbing his bald head and stroking his soft cheeks. These moments in the midst of chaos and crying are the part of motherhood that makes me want to do it again and again and again. They are the parts that I know I will remember years and years from now.

I guess God is just giving me a good stock pile of them;-)

My Mother's Heart

Motherhood is tough. Waaaay tougher than I ever thought it was or could be. One of the most difficult thing for me has been making decisions about when is too much for my little guy. At 2 weeks old, Barclay started crying, wailing, screaming his lungs out for nearly 8 hours a day. It grated on my nerves, it tugged at my heart. It didn't really stop until the blessed 6 month mark. For some strange reason, I only got 1 month of blissful content and happy baby. Now it's been about 2 weeks of about 4 hours a day of the screaming , wailing, stuff. Seriously? How did I do it when it was more?
I have a really hard time knowing what to do. Everyone looks to me and my mother's heart to know the right answers to things. Like, do you think he's hungry? why do you think he's crying? I feel like I should be able to answer these with ease, and FIX THEM.

There are times that I can hear it in his cry. Or I can notice his body language. He's hungry, or tired.
But then there are those times. Those times when all needs have been met, where nothing...absolutely nothing consoles him.
This to me is the biggest test of my patience (which is not my best quality). Seriously, how do I know what to do?
My husband looks at me, while I'm frustratedly venting on him (with the background noise of a wild banshee being tortured). He says, "What does your heart tell you to do?"

My heart tells me, that I'm not cut out for this. I did not know that code deciphering was in the job description of a mom. What if I pick him up too soon and he realizes that when he cries, he gets what he wants? But he's still so young, does he really know what's going on. Is it too much to let him cry for hours? What if I can't stop it? What if what he needs is sleep and my picking him up every half hour prevents him from sleeping? What if it's something really wrong and I just am blind to it?

Oh if only they came with instructions and everything was clean and clear and simple.

I also feel a lot of guilt for my frustration.
I think I'm a good mom. But after hours of inconsolable crying, I start feeling...well like he's out to get me. Horrible I know. I have to remind myself that he's just 7 months, he doesn't know what he's doing. But sometimes I just want to scream, "What is wrong with you? Don't you know I'm doing my best?"

Several days ago, I was feeling alone, and beyond frustrated. After several hours, I called several people to see if they could take him off my hands for a few hours. I just felt helpless and like for the best interest for both of us, I needed to just get away to cool my head. Noah did that for me, and even though nothing that I wanted to do worked out, just simply sitting in my car and hearing...nothing, did wonders.

I keep telling myself...I am a good mother. I know I am. But then the guilt creeps in...the insecurities...and I just wonder if there is something wrong with me and my ability to calmly make decisions.

I truly believe that God gave me this job and he promises never to give more than we can handle. He has created me for this, and my whole life has been preparing me to be Barclay's mother.

I will say that the out of controlness of the situation has caused me be broken and to see my horrible sin and my need for a savior even more than ever before.

Also, the love I feel for that screaming little banshee, has shown me just a glimpse of God's love for me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

This is it...for now.

I've been thinking so much lately about where I want my life to go. I don't want to get comfortable...or do I?

It's lead me to these thoughts:
My whole life, I've had goals. Finish high school. It's expected. After 1st grade, you go to second...and so on, until you find yourself at your High School Graduation. It is there you learn you are expected to go to college. Everyone asks you, "Where are you going to college?" So for four years (or more) you have a goal of finishing college. Following that you need a job, then for most people, a husband or wife is next on the list. Once you get married, people start asking when you'll have babies... It just never ends. You always know what goal is next in life.

I find myself done with all of that at a very young age of 23 3/4. There are no expectations of where to go next. It's wide open. That is wonderful and terrible all at the same time. Where to even begin?

From the time you can remember, people ask you, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" For me, my answer was always, to be a mom.

Well here I am people. Everything has been checked off, I'm here in the stage of life where everyone works so hard to get to. And I'm lost. There is no next step planned (other than more children). It's weird, after almost 24 years of striving for what's next. I'm here.

This isn't to say that I don't have goals other than repopulating the earth. I'm not saying I've "made it". Or to say that those who haven't gotten married/had children haven't "made it". I'm just saying that today it hit me. All those times you think of, plan for, hope for, strive for...lead to here. This is my LIFE. I had better just stop worrying and enjoy it:-)

All Grown Up

I shave my legs
I've started my period
I wear a bra
I can wear dangling earrings
I can drive
I have my full license
I am married
I've had a baby

I'm all grown up. I cannot believe it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

There are two of me

There are two of me.

One of me wants to live in a bustling big city, with a tiny apartment. I want to walk everywhere, or take public transportation. I dream of walking to a market and gathering delicious food in my cloth bags. I want to wander downtown at night to hear live music and people watch. I want to breath culture and experience the latest in art.

The other of me wants to live in the woods. I want to wear only dresses. I want to grow all my own food, I want to milk cows, and gather eggs from chickens. I want to cook pies for my husband and read by the fire. I want to wear my hair in braids and constantly be sporting an apron covered in flower. I want life to be simple and pure.

In both lives, I'd want to have Barclay and Noah.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dear Mothers

Dear Mothers,
How do you do it? How do you stay sane? How do you keep your homes clean? Are you really on the verge of a break down like me? Are you just better at hiding it?
How come no one told me that it would be this difficult? Is my child the only one that fights sleep EVERY SINGLE time? Is my child the only one who has no consistent schedule, even though I put him down at the same times every day?
How do you know what to do? How do you maintain friendships? How do you reply to emails and letters? How do you find a clear moment in your head to fathom what you are going to cook for dinner? How do you find time or energy to exercise?
Do you cry multiple times a day because you just can't take the crying anymore? Is a vacation to you, an uninterrupted day to do laundry and dishes?
How do so many women do it? And I just can't seem to keep up. Full time job aside, motherhood is kickin my butt.
Desperately yours,
Helen Joy

Monday, September 7, 2009

He laughs at fans...

He laughs at fans
His tongue is always sticking out
He smiles to hard his eyes squint up
He has no teeth, which makes his smiles even better
He puts ever living tiny thing he can find in his mouth.
He can find anything on a "clean surface"
He belly laughs in bed with me
His eyes are brown
He can now crawl but prefers to scoot backwards
He doesn't like toys, but prefers water bottles
He has slept for 7 hours 2 nights in a row
He cannot get any cuter!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just because I haven't blogged about thrift stores...

...doesn't mean I haven't been going:-)
I'm been pretty enormously busy these past few months so I have accumulated a lot of treasure that I just feel the need to share with all you lovely readers:-)

I'm also going to try to actually put my projects up, or out as soon as I get them...otherwise... they sit around.


These pretty little topiaries were $2.50 each. I love yellow so much and these weren't in bad condition at all. I did take the wire baskets off...

Here they are in my china "cabinet"

This is usually where I keep my tea bags...very hard to get the ones you want and not so pretty to set out when guests are here.

So I used the wire baskets from the topiaries for the tea bags and they are perfect! I love them!

At the register I was sifting through a bunch of pins for 25 cents each. They were all horrific. Except I found two silver leaves. I love leaves and though that I would make a barrette out of them.

This one is my favorite.
But I will not be making a barrette out of them...because they're worth a lot of money!
These are worth between $100-400?! They are from an upscale costume jewelry store that is from the early 1900's. How do I know? I noticed a stamp on the back and googled it. Needless to say, I will be selling them for someone else to make a barrette out of;-)

I got this BEAUTIFUL frame for $5 at a yard sale. I nearly hit the roof when I saw it! I love it and it displays are newest family portraits beautifully! I also got that "bath" sign at a thrift store for 50 cents about a year ago.

I saw this box of old tiles at a yard sale and nearly died, they are so pretty! I got them all of $2. I'm going to glue them on old picture frames. I can't wait!

I used to work at Pier 1 several years ago and used to drool over this. It was nearly $30 though. I love wheat grass and since I kill everything plant related I come in contact with...I just wanted this. It came back into my life for $2! Yay!

It's brightening up my bathroom!

These are probably some of my favorite things to find lately. While with a friend in Louisville KY we visited a bargain basement at a church. These were $5. I have been needing/wanting bookends for a while so I bought them. Come to find out...they aren't bookends, they're shelf holders...but I changed them to bookends and love them!

They just totally make that shelf look awesome!

I bought this for $15 about 2 months ago and am just putting it in Barclay's closet to house his growing toy collection. Maybe not the best price ever...but it's durable and I needed it!

About 5 months ago, I visited some art galleries, one of them had these beautiful, simple paintings done on old windows. I've been on the lookout for old windows ever since.
This window was only $2. I nearly cried. The old lady who sold it to me probably thought...I cannot believe that girl bought this old window for $2...she didn't know how popular they are now:-)

Very old and weathered.

Finished. It looks a lot better in person and I'll definitely post a picture as soon as it's up on our dark brown walls.
I debated putting red flowers on it, but I like the clean look. I am so excited to get it up!...hint hint Noah!

Visit Rhoda for more Thrifty Finds!

Big Brown Eyes

If there is anything that I LOVE about my husband, it is his big brown eyes. I love them. I get lost in them. I was hoping that our children would have his eyes...but since birth, Barclay has been sporting my hazel eyes (not that I minded;-)
Yesterday morning, I was nursing him in the early morning sunlight. It's a really sweet time and I always love just gazing at him.
He all of a sudden stopped. Looked at me and smiled. His eyes are beautiful and deep brown. Just like his daddy's. They are just gorgeous.
One day, a girl will fall in love with those beautiful eyes...

and I will scare her off;-)

Greedy Little Fellow

After my last post, I decided to just stop work for the day and enjoy time with my baby. I wanted to go swimming, but since our creeks up here in NC are pretty cold, I opted for a fun bath. I went a little crazy with the bath toys:-)
I need to have a waterproof camera just to document these things!
Barclay just went nuts over all the toys. They would float by him and he was grabbing as many as he could. It was hillarious!
He would have his arms full of toys and see another one grab it and all his toys would fall out. He then stuck two in his mouth so he could grab more. I was laughing so hard!
It gets better. After getting as many toys as he could, he noticed...his food source in site. (I usually bath with him...since I tend to get wet anyways). He freaks out, lunges at me and latches on. All the while his little eyes were darting around watching the toys. He would then detach and grab a toy, then latch on. He was very intent and serious about it. I had a great laugh.

He has become the most delightful little boy. He smiles constantly, even when he's crying. He follows people around and just smiles and says "hey...." He totally has a personality and I just love it!
He's going to be one fun person to be related to;-)


I have been wrestling in my heart for the past month or so about two things.
Being a full time mom, and being a full time photographer.
Currently, I feel like I'm not doing a very good job at either.

My day is a constant battle of trying to get Barclay to be still, to be quiet, so I can actually do some work. I'm realizing that it's not healthy to have a still and quiet 7 month old! They need to interact and play and crawl and squeal.
My day is also full of apologizing to clients for being late on their pictures, or not responding to an email in a timely manner. I'm ending up making even more work for myself.

Today is the kind of day I'm just ready to throw in the towel and just be a full time Mommy. That way I could actually schedule, and have a routine. That way my days could be filled with playing with Barclay and enjoying the squeals and messes, instead of being constantly frustrated by them.

But...the occasional client comes along that is just perfect. They are easygoing, they let me do my thing, the images reflect both of us, there's no bumps, there's no gritting to make things work. They just do...
I've been blessed with a few of those clients lately and it makes me want to press onward! I want to capture pictures for people...without pressure, with out the business aspect, without the constantly going back and forth with schedules and going back and forth with what they don't like or like. I just want to take pictures. But that's unrealistic.

I'm so blessed that I can stay at home and work, but I have to admit, it is HARD WORK. There is never a break from either of them. I feel like I am filling every nook and every cranny with SOMETHING. As soon as I'm done editing, I have to nurse, and as soon as I'm done nursing, I have to make a phone call, as soon as I'm done with that, I have to play with Barclay...It's never ending. NEVER.

And the housework...don't even get me started. I've already shot down my pride, shot down my fears and decided that I HAVE to get some help in that department. It's just impossible.

I need to cut back on clients, and thankfully I'm at the point I can. I just wish I could tell which were going to be a pleasure to work with and who is going to be difficult. Should I have a questionnaire?

"Do you have unrealistic expectations?"
"Are my photos of how the day actually looked and went going to cause all your dreams to come crashing down?"
"Are you high maintanence?"

Well, then maybe you should go find someone else.

"Do you just love moments caught in a photo?"
"Do you want someone to naturally portray you?"
"Do you want artistic images that just scream you?"
"Are you willing to give up control and let me do my thing?"

Then we are a perfect match.

Something has got to change. I sit here, I've eaten a lot of chocolate, and some baby food for a snack. (Gross!) I've cried 3 times already. I'm frustrated. My house is disgusting! I've slept on the sheetless guest bed the past two nights. I have emails pouring in all the time of people I have let down. Barclay is wining in his crib because he refuses to nap. I'm not good at either of these things and I want to be the best at both.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


So...the past few weeks, I've been feeling very pregnant.
I had horrible nausea. The kind that isn't from anything but pregnancy. The worst kind.
My boobs were killing me.
I was beyond exhausted.
I just felt pregnant.
I took one test, then two tests, then three tests (and a very faint line appeared...very very very faint), then another test. All negative...except that one faint line.
Still the symptoms would not go away.
I went to the doctors and got another urine test run (negative), and a blood test...negative.

I guess that this baby bump isn't such a baby bump after all;-)

I am pretty much the most unpregnant you can get.

Teary Day

For some reason today, I've been listening to sappy music and tearing up all day long. My sister Julianna is flying as I am writing this, to Pakistan to teach English. Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world today. I'm not worried about her safety, because I know that God will protect her, but it just means that one of my best friends is not available to call, to text pictures of Barclay to, to go on an impromtu visit. She'll be gone just until December, but it will definitely be the longest I've gone without seeing her. What makes me even sadder, is that just in the past month, she's started dating the greatest guy, and they are "severely in like"...which I translate to mean...they'll be married within the next two years. But I tend to think ahead too much:-)
I'm so proud of Julianna for taking the time to do something out of her comfort zone, and to give of her self.
I love her so much it hurts.

Julianna and her sweet boyfriend, Drew.