Family Blues

Just some family pictures from last Sunday because we all ended up matching for church. After my long winded post yesterday on motherhood, we'll just let these pictures do the talking today.

I did also want to say thank you for all of your kind words on yesterday's post and on instagram. This adjustment to being a mom has been a lot smoother because of the support and kindness from you guys. I know its meant a shift in content, but I am so grateful for those of you who stop by each day and let me share my story (and help me support my family & maintain a creative outlet while selling my soul to this baby).

On me:
jacket: Sheinside, c/o (similar save and splurge options)
bow blouse: old (similar here for under $30)
polka dot pencil skirt: The Limited (last season but I found a very similar one here)
belt: Banana Republic

On Ben:
sweater: GAP, last season (almost the identical color on clearance at Nordstrom Rack here)
watch: Daniel Wellington, c/o

A Letter to Myself: 9 Weeks Ago

Dear Elisabeth,

It gets better. It gets so much better. I promise.

I know it hurts. I know you thought the biggest pain was over with labor and I know you're wondering how long this will last, how much more you can take. I remember those long nursing sessions, whispering to your baby through steady tears that you love him, even in so much pain you love him. I promise the tears will stop. Breastfeeding might not get any easier, but its okay to pump. You will still bond with your baby. He'll still love you and your milk when it comes from a bottle. 10 weeks in he'll be growing just fine. He'll be so big for a moment you'll wish he was small again, but just for a moment.

This isn't the same hurting everyone told you about, in four days it won't get better, and that cream won't help. Don't feel like a wimp, because you aren't.

In a month you'll be able to hold your baby after feeding him without searing pain and you'll be able to wear clothes. You'll be sore and healing for awhile but it gets better, so much better.

The nights are hard but don't be scared of them. I know you're so worried, so anxious, and so, so tired. There will always be enough milk and in just a few more weeks you'll be sleeping for many more hours at a time. Don't be afraid to wake up Ben; you don't need to be alone in this. If you get the drop-in bottles right away you'll avoid those four nights of sleepless hell, but you won't, and you'll survive.

Don't feel guilty about leaving guests alone so you can nap. Don't feel guilty about leaving your baby with guests so you can nap. Just don't bother feeling guilty about anything.

In two months you will love being a mom. You will understand how people have more than one child, and you'll even be able to think about a family bigger than three. You may still not understand people saying the first weeks are the best of their life, but you'll have gotten through them with a beautiful baby and wonderful husband you love more and more each day. Pretty soon you'll be laughing with both of them as Lincoln smiles and gurgles.

The only thing you'll miss about these early days is how light your baby is. But his fifteen pounds means he'll be sleeping eleven hours a night by ten weeks so don't complain.

Remember that his cries are a form of communication, not a judgement on you. Even when he's crying, you are doing great. Even on your worst days, this little guy is one of the lucky ones. He has two parents who prayed him here, who love him, who sacrifice for him, and who are doing the best they can. That is enough.

In a few weeks he'll smile at you and you will feel so validated. And then he'll smile at Ben and your heart will melt. Be gentle with your husband because he is trying too.

Motherhood is as wonderful as you thought it would be, it will just take you a little while to find your rhythm and to recover. Soon you'll have far more tears of joy than hurt and exhaustion. Soon feeding him won't be something  you have to dread. Soon the nights wont be so scary and you'll look forward to long stretches of sleep. You'll even miss your baby then, and feel a bit silly about it.

Continue to be gentle with your body after these first few weeks. It grew a baby. It birthed a baby. And it continues to nourish a baby. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be in shape again and your clothes to fit, but don't be frustrated. Just be patient. In comparison to this baby thing, getting in shape is easy.

Remember to rely on the Lord. The extra patience and kindness He will bless you with over the next few months will amaze you. You need the guidance He gives more than ever and the comfort you'll find in the scriptures and in song will make all the difference.

Just hang in there, okay? You will love it soon. Lincoln will still cry and sometimes you'll just want to wear ear plugs, but it becomes a joy you've yet to experience. It turns into something that makes it all worthwhile. Motherhood is beautiful - just hang in there.


**There was joy in those first few weeks. There was laughter. There was amazement. Some of my happiest moments up until then were in those first few weeks (now the happiest moments are more recent). But those first weeks were also the hardest of my life, and some of the darkest. I have never been so scared, so pained, or so exhausted. I can attribute most all of it to a horrible experience with breastfeeding, a tongue tied baby with a poor latch, and an attempt to work through it for five long weeks. It is something I'd go through all over again if I had to for this little boy, but not something I will say I miss. For me, motherhood continues to get better. Each week my body heels a bit more. Each week I learn a bit more. Each week I fall more in love with being Lincoln's mom.

Photos from this past week & Linc at six weeks, respectively. 

March 24, 2015

Thanks to Snickers for sponsoring this post through Collective Bias. I purchased my first Snickers from the corner store outside of my elementary school in Tokyo at age seven all on my own, just like I formed the opinions expressed in this post ;) #WhenImHungry #CollectiveBias

5:55 Ben's alarm goes off and I think about getting up

6:20 Ben gets about of Bed and I have every intention of getting out of bed.
6:23 Baby fusses and Ben puts back in his pacifier & pats his back so he calms down.
6:27 I get out of bed and pump for 20 minutes while Ben finishes getting ready and leaves for work
6:59 I eat a bowl of cereal at the computer and wonder how long I have till baby wakes up.

*at this point anytime before he wakes up seven we soothe him so he goes back to sleep and anytime after seven I get him up for the day + feed him

7:12 Baby starts stirring
7:33 Finish eating, diaper change, and getting dressed (baby - not me)
7:39 Lincoln plays under his play gym while I make a protein shake. We discuss what we'll do that day and I tell him about our fun plans for this weekend. We mimick each other and feel different textures.
8:02 He's tired of the play gym and we move on to our lesson of the French Revolution (aka: singing and dancing to the Les Mis station on Pandora)

*about fifteen minutes before he goes down for his nap he fusses unless he's held so usually those fifteen minutes are spent with me inventing a new form of baby&mom interpretive dance and calling it exercise (which it most certainly is)
8:26 Goes down for his morning nap
8:28 I contemplate showering and getting dressed, but given that Ben kept us up late last night, I opt for a morning nap too
10:38 Wake up to a fussing baby who calms right down with a bottle
10:53 Change diaper
10:55 Coo, kick, and giggle together while I eat a bagel and drink my morning zeal
10: 59 Start a load of Linc's dirty laundry
11:18 Linc is tired of kicking around on his back so we move on to dancing to my Disney pandora station
11:40 Take a break from dancing to sit on the couch
11:55 Linc's eyes begin to droop so he goes down for another nap and I start pumping
12:07 The doorbell rings. The mailman only likes to come when I am in the middle of pumping, I'm convinced. 
12:34 Finish pumping (and an episode on netflix) just in time to hear a baby fussing. 
12:35 Reinsert Lincoln's pacifier
12:36 Sit down at my computer with grand plans to tackle my inbox
12: 37 Remember to switch laundry from the washer to the dryer
12:45 I hear a chatty baby in the next room (chatty but not crying)
12:56 Get baby
12:57 Baby cries hysterically while I prep his bottle
12:57 Baby calms right down to eat
1:20 Lincoln hangs out in the mamaroo while I clean the kitchen + grab an apple and hummus for lunch. We chat about the different things I'm putting away and then I sing and dance to more Disney on pandora for Linc's entertainment (but unlike earlier, this time he's still in the mamaroo). I count it as cardio and after half an hour I'm out of breath. 
1:50 Linc cries in the mamaroo so I put him down in the moses basket (the sheet in the bassinet s being washed).I answer emails, send a few sponsor inquiries for upcoming projects I have planned, and look into some fun details for this weekend.
2:45 The little boy boycotts full length afternoon naps so we're up for more food, another diaper change, and some fun on the exercise ball

*He loves being held while I bounce on the exercise ball but he'll also hang out on my stomach or legs while I do crunches - today involved both. 
3:52 I contemplate how well he'll go down for another nap
3:54 I opt to out him in our baby wrap instead
3:55 I think about getting dressed, realize its out of the question now that I'm wearing the baby and opt to go back to working on future posts while bouncing on the exercise ball at the computer. 
4:22 Ben calls saying he's on his way home, just as I realize Linc is drifting in the wrap. Baby goes down for a nap and I straighten up a bit. 
5:01 Ben gets home
5:05 Linc wakes up (I told you, boycotting real afternoon naps)
5:06 I feed the baby and Linc and I play while Ben snaps a few pictures for this post
5:17 Dinner is not anywhere near ready (because I haven't even thought about what we're going to eat yet), so I sneak a few more bites of an Almond Snickers that has been sitting out, beckoning me all afternoon.
5:18 I barter the rest of my Snickers for a few baby-free minutes ;) 
5:27 I help Ben get Linc into the baby wrap and enjoy watching the two of them for a few minutes before getting back to the computer and trying to figure out how may advil I can take. 

The rest of the evening is a blur of dinner, diaper changes, couch rests, bath time, singing, kisses burping, pumping, and collapsing into bed at 9 pm with an awful headache. Usually, Lincoln goes down for bed so well and Ben and I stay up watching a show or just talking but sometimes your body tells you to take a break and get some sleep. 

^You can't tell from this shot, but I think we have more children's books in Japanese, Spanish, and French than we do in English. I love the bilingual Hungry Caterpillar book because Ben can read it in Spanish and I can read it in English :)

Also, I've been a fan of Snickers since I was super young (one of my first American candy memories from growing up in Japan is buying Snickers after school with my allowance) and while the classic is great, I am really loving the new flavors. The almond is my favorite (not pictured because it didn't last long enough to be photographed). Have you tried them?

Enter the SNICKERS® "Who are you when you're hungry?" contest by uploading a personal photo or video from your Computer, Facebook, Instagram or use the SNICKERS® Meme Generator to create something new! Voting begins at Noon on 5/11/15 and ends at 11:59:59AM ET on 7/15/15.

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