i just can’t.

I had two separate conversations over the weekend with two different girlfriends that are still lingering with me, several days later.

The first involved a dear friend getting ready to have her first baby. As she sat across the table from me over breakfast, she asked, “so, I only have a handful of weeks left till this baby comes. Anything I need to be doing? Not doing? Making sure I have?”

Ash was sitting on my lap and I abruptly squeezed her a bit too hard. What a million dollar question. And how in the world do you answer that?

Because how do you say, “you should be doing everything, and at the same time, absolutely nothing” and it make sense?

How do you say, “never forget that moms make shit happen,” and it even mean anything to her right now, even though you know those four words on repeat in your head are sometimes the only reason you’re able to actually make anything happen on any given day?

In comparing the two times I’ve given birth, I was two completely different women. I wanted different outcomes. I prepared differently. I talked to myself differently. Everything was different save the outcome of a healthy, beautiful baby. Which woman did she want advice from?

What was she really asking?

I didn’t know, so I told her to get a prenatal massage. Not just any prenatal massage. I told her to find someone who specializes in prenatal massage and make an appointment. Now.

Solid, safe advice.

Fast forward to that evening, and the conversation I had with girlfriend #2. This friend of mine and I have a long, bumpy history. We’ve known each other since we were kids and have been close for maybe a decade, save a few years here and there where we let immaturity and pride get in the way of resolving conflict.

When she announced she was pregnant with her daughter, we were in the middle of one of those “off years.”

Nothing about our lives resembled each others and the loss of things in common had kind of driven us apart, as is so common with friends as you grow up.

I was fumbling through being back at work with a 14 week old baby and all the insanity that comes from nursing and pumping and pretty much bringing your B game everywhere and praying no one will call you out for it. She was recently divorced and trying to figure out what was next.

As it turned out, what was next was a baby. As a single mom without a lot of friends that had kids.

As a married mom with multiple women I hold dear to me that were also mothers, I still felt like I could barely hold it all together.

I had to reach out to her. I HAD to.

I felt like I HAD to let her know that things were going to be ok. I didn’t know what “ok” would look like, but kids come into your life at all sorts of times that don’t make sense to you at first. And it all works out because moms make shit happen.

Moms. Make. Shit. Happen. (thanks a million times for that gem, Megan.)

Moms show up. They show up for their kids and they show up for each other.

That was 3.5 years ago and we haven’t missed a beat since.

Over the weekend she brought me pretty close to tears thanking me for that outreach. She told me there are moments that she goes to bed at night and doesn’t think she can get up and do it all over again the next day.

She tells herself, “I just can’t.”

If I only had a dollar for all the times I’ve thought that, too.

But she continued, then I go kiss my daughter goodnight or she jumps into my bed in the morning and I’m reminded that I absolutely can. She reminded me that I told her, 3.5 years ago, that every child is a blessing. Her daughter reminds her that she can every. single. day. She’s her blessing.

And that is what I wish I could have expressed to my pregnant girlfriend, and to all women, really, getting ready to enter this crazy world of motherhood for the first time.

You will have SO many moments where you feel like you just can’t.

You can.

You will amaze yourself by everything you can do. (on such little sleep…)

It’s not about how you give birth or how you feed your baby or what products you need or don’t need. It’s not about whether you work or stay home or co-sleep or use pacifiers or any of the other bullshit that gets built up about being a mom.

What it is about is reminding yourself, over and over and over, that even when you think you just can’t, that you can.

what doesn’t kill you, only makes you blonder

I am potentially in the middle of a crisis.

I say potentially because I could be off-base and wrong. I could be just being my overly dramatic self and although what I’m experiencing isn’t exactly normal, it’s not a crisis either.  It could all be ok. I could look back at the last week a year from now and smile the all-knowing smile of a mother who’s been there, done that. Period bleeding for 5 straight days while pregnant? I handled it.

But I’m pretty sure I’m actively miscarrying my baby.

I’ll spare you the gory details, because they are, in fact, incredibly gory. Women have miscarriages all. the. time. Some have more than one before they even get pregnant with their first, and here I am with 2 beautiful, healthy children from 2 easy, uncomplicated pregnancies and I’m (potentially) experiencing my first and it’s a crisis.

I am freaking the fuck out.

I am torn between that “motherly intuition” thing that I sporadically have that punches me in the gut with the feeling that things are not going to be ok and my yoga-ish trying to get closer to God self that wants to be positive and trust that there’s a larger plan in all of this, regardless of the outcome.

But I want to know. Right now. I don’t want to wait till tomorrow to get blood work done and then wait 48 more hours to do it again and then wait ANOTHER 48 hours to get results back. Because once you see that heartbeat on an ultrasound screen, once you know that you have started down this journey of creating a living being inside your beautifully flawed, stubborn, strong body, it becomes your job to ensure that you do everything in your power to protect that.

The thing is, I have no power to protect anything right now. If my body is rejecting this pregnancy, nothing I can do or not do, say or not say, think or not think is going to stop any wheels from turning.

I am completely powerless.

This lady hates powerless.

I don’t need to be powerful, but I do prefer having some degree of influence over the outcome of my situations. Don’t we all?

The days keep trucking along and I keep over-analyzing every cramp, every clot, every bathroom trip. I dread my husband asking me how I’m doing because how does anyone feel anything when there is this much uncertainty? I am mad at myself for sharing our pregnancy news to so many people. I always thought I’d want more arms to fall into should anything bad happen, but now that I’m facing that road, I just want to hide. I don’t want to look at people, talk to people, explain to people anything.

I want to be brave and strong. But I only want to hide.

******************************************************************************************

I wrote the first part of this post on July 2nd. On July 6th, after an entire night of intense back pain and a high fever, it was confirmed that what I was experiencing was, in fact, a miscarriage.

31 hours later I got a phone call from my mom that my Nana had passed away. I was riding shotgun in the car on the way to Virginia, desperately hoping to make it back to talk to her one last time…to show her a few more pictures of my kids and some pictures from the trips we took together. I didn’t make it back in time to say goodbye.

One heartbreaking blow after another. The numbness I had felt from the news of the miscarriage gave way to a waterfall of tears.

I spent the next couple days surrounded by family. Hugging my sister. Holding my moms hand.

There’s nothing quite as comforting like seeing my brother walk into my mom’s house. Not that we ever lived in that particular house together, but since he’s so often the missing link in our family gatherings given the nature of his job, seeing him at my mom’s always makes it feel more like home. Like our home. Like the non-existent home that my Schofield family all shared – including our kids and husbands/wives. I know that makes NO sense when I write it down, but in my head, it does, and really, isn’t that what counts? At 6 foot something super tall, his hugs are awesome. And he was there.

We all were. United by tragedy and loss but cloaked in love and support.

My best friends that have stood beside me through all of my highs and lows arranged childcare and drove from other cities to be there for the visitation, the funeral and the much needed margarita-infused Mexican dinner that followed.

I can’t quite find the words to explain my Nana and the influence she’s had over my life. She’s something else.

Ashlyn’s middle name is Lora, after my Nana, and I swear even at 2 years old she gets her sass from her namesake. There was nothing and no one Nana couldn’t overcome. She was fierce, feisty and loved hard. That was perhaps the most important thing I took away from her…that you don’t have to apologize for being who you are; for loving hard, for standing up for what you believe and for doing what you think is right. She certainly never made any apologies for those things, and the crowd of people that stood through her funeral service through an intense summer thunderstorm proved that she had a community of people who loved and respected her.

I think about her all the time since she’s passed.

I think about how I wish I could do a lot of things differently with her, as I suspect is common when you lose people you love. But mostly I think about all the positive things about my time with her.

I think about our shopping trips and our vacations. How much she loved going out to eat and sassing my mother. How she insisted we have new shoes before school started each year. How she would sit in the sun for hours and her skin would turn a warm, caramel tan color. I think about her big sun hats and her big jewelry box and how I loved to put on her bracelets. I think about the vintage Italian leather clutch I have in my closet and imagine how beautiful she must have looked when she carried it to some fancy dinner party.

I think about how she could talk to anyone about anything and had a fondness for politics and the New York Yankees. I recall sitting in the sun for hours as she purchased her first Honda and how she used to always talk about how important it was to keep your car clean. She’d die all over again if she saw the inside of my van right now…

I think about how much she loved babies and small children and imagine her cradling my lost baby in her arms and making sure he or she is protected and happy. Perhaps that’s why she had to go when she did.

It was a rough month.

It was rough navigating “real life” after dealing with both of those circumstances. It was rough being ok with feeling so numb. I was hard on myself a lot, thinking, “you aren’t the only one who’s miscarried a baby or lost a grandmother. These things happen. Let’s move on.”

While those things are true, I’m certainly not the only one to experience a miscarriage OR a death in the family, it’s still not a light switch. It was, however, a painful reminder of how much I missed writing. I feel like I’ve grown so much as a woman, a wife and a mother since I last regularly posted and I’ve felt this yearning to get back into the swing of things here.

I unexpectedly experienced tragedy and it led me back to the comfort of words on a screen. Of thoughts fleshed out and experiences remembered. Unexpectedness has been the core driver of this blog to date, right? Why shouldn’t I leverage this motivation to get back into a hobby I so dearly enjoy?

I need to get back to doing more things I am passionate about. I have found myself getting sucked into webs of negativity and getting caught up in things that at the end of the day, just don’t matter.

I need more of this. More sharing. More funny kid stories. More laughter.

I need my kids to be able to look back on my posts and see a mom who allowed herself to be vulnerable for the sake of her writing, for the sake of something she loved. I want them to read the stories of their childhood and have a place  to share with their kids and their grand kids. So when I pass there’s a collection of stories they can sit around the big farmhouse table Jason just built for our new kitchen and laugh about how insane their mom was.

And hopefully, God willing, as feisty and passionate and one that loved just as hard as her beloved Nana.

In the midst of this, I also made my hair blonder. Hence the title of my post. To date, no one’s noticed.

aug1

It’s good to be back!

 

state of a pregnancy: 37 weeks

I can’t believe I even typed that number. 37 is dangerously close to 40, and even closer to 38 and 39, all of which could result in a baby making her appearance much earlier than mom is ready.

And by that I mean, mom doesn’t think she’s ever going to be ready for this baby to come.

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to not be pregnant anymore. But with the birth of the baby comes even less sleep than I’m already getting and another huge responsibility on top of Crazy C and everything around this house – housework, projects, my neglected blog, etc.

All things I should have thought about before getting pregnant, right? I know, I know…

You just get set in the way things are and it’s extremely difficult to imagine yourself adapting to a new normal. I will, the family will, and by this time next month I probably won’t be able to picture my life without our daughter, but for now, as her unknown arrival date continues to get closer and closer, I’ll settle for freaking out, self-doubt and taking it all out on my husband.

Last week my family was all lucky enough to get hit by a stomach bug. As if vomiting for 12 hours was any fun anyways, hurling while 8 months pregnant was quite possibly the most miserable thing I experienced in my entire life. Not as bad as being in labor, but I considered how closely it could be compared.

Then the head cold hit me immediately after the stomach bug flew away. I told Jason this a bajillion times and I’ll go ahead and say it publicly now…I don’t have anything to complain about with this pregnancy now that I’m not sick anymore.

Are you as shocked as I am that I said I had nothing to complain about?! Me?! 8.5 months pregnant and NOT complaining?

That’s probably a lie, who am I kidding.

I just cannot even get over how miserable I felt last week, and nothing, not heat, backaches or exhaustion can compete with a head cold/vomiting on top of all of those normal pregnancy symptoms. I get the whole “moms don’t get days off” expression now – because throwing Carter on top of everything else was just the icing on my miserable, I feel so sorry for myself I could cry cake. It was a rough week.

On a positive note, I can still wear my wedding rings, something which I could no longer do at 34-weeks last pregnancy, and although my weight is hovering dangerously close to the plus 50 pounds mark (no thanks to the blueberry pancakes I made for breakfast this morning or my 2 bowls of ice cream last night…), I still don’t feel quite as sluggish and large as I did with Carter. I’m not really sleeping and the sweat while being outside for any length of time is enough to gross anyone out, but in comparison to my first pregnancy, this one really isn’t as bad.

I’m still questioning whether or not I could handle a third, and despite it being “not as bad,” I’m leaning towards, “eff this noise, I’m never doing this again…”

Working out has been inconsistent, unlike my nightly craving for anything sweet, and I’m not afraid to admit that on occasion I have, in fact, felt like a human garbage disposal and I don’t really feel that bad about it (take that, Giselle).

Another thing I don’t feel that badly about is letting my child watch an episode of Team Umizoomi in the morning despite the fact that he’s not yet 2. There is nothing like getting 20-25 minutes of downtime to read a blog or 2, drink a cup of coffee and listen to your son recite patterns and get genuinely excited to do the UmiShake. Sometimes I even use the time to get some chores done, but usually Carter likes us to snug on the couch while he gets his tv treat, and how in the world do you say no to a 21-month old saying, “couch cuddle mama?”

Here’s the family on a recent trip to the beach at the 35-week mark. It’s the best you’re going to get of a belly shot now that I’ve exited the “cute and pregnant” phase and entered the one where everyone looks at you nervously as if you’re going to give birth any second…

family pic - early June

 

 

state of a pregnancy: 28 weeks

Since we last discussed this pregnancy three weeks ago, our family has taken a week long trip to Virginia, added a new room to our home, started a new job, lost every ounce of motivation to stay on top of daily tasks and tackle projects and are currently battling a “very bad case” of hand, foot and mouth disease in one 19-month old.

No one ever wants to hear “very bad case” and “disease” in the same sentence, ever, but fortunately in this case, the skin rash that Carter is suffering through is pretty common for kids and will just kind of go away on it’s own.

In the meantime, I’m in my 3rd trimester with no cute belly shots to show you because I have no motivation to do anything aside from make lists of things I need to do.

Remember, friends, I’m a planner, not a do-er. Despite all my efforts to sport my cape and be a super mom, I haven’t been able to harness my energy after (if I’m lucky…) 6 hours of frequently interrupted sleep and actually get shit done.

I’m behind on my assignments for my internship and haven’t graced you fine folks with my presence in quite some time and I have nothing to show for it but 2 loads of clean laundry that have been sitting, unfolded, on the chairs in my living room for 3 days and a really extensive project plan, complete with associated budget, for all the shit that has to go down before our little girl arrives.

If there was ever a time to magically stumble upon 30-hour days and an untapped source of funds, now would be the time.

My second pregnancy has gone a little something like this…

[Read more...]

state of a pregnancy: 25 weeks

So we’ve hit the big 2-5. This pregnancy is flying by at a pace that makes me super uncomfortable considering all that still needs to be done before the little miss makes her appearance.

Jason and I are making huge life changes at a rapid pace…or, in other words, everything is status quo with us. In the next couple of weeks he’s starting a new job and we’re closing off our two story foyer and making it into a study.

Home renovations and dealing with new insurance crap at my OB’s – a perfect way to ring in that third trimester if I do say so myself.

The rapid pace of this pregnancy is only one of the thousands of reasons why this time around feels so much different than being pregnant with C. The constant peeing and lack of sleep feels familiar…but Carter is keeping me active constantly and I just feel, different.

More accepting? I think J would say that’s a stretch considering my mood swings…but I have been making an effort at appreciating everything my body is doing right now. It really is amazing how the female body actually makes tiny humans.

I can’t possibly eat enough fruit. One day last week I ate an entire pineapple and a pint of blueberries. I have fruit smoothies almost daily and pop mandarin oranges like they are pieces of candy. I bake a lot more now and have been enjoying making healthier things as well as delicious, bad for me but I’ll eat 10 in one night anyways things – like the coconut chocolate chip cookies I baked on Sunday that are now, 3 days later, completely gone.

Blame the pregnant girl plenty…but my husband and son are not off the hook with this one!

I’ve been fervently reading about organic pregnancies and greener living with a baby. While I’ve taken a lot of steps to eat more organically and make our living environment a little more natural, I have yet to consistently cut out my morning cup of coffee. My toddler is just too active and my part-time job too demanding of my energy. I drink decaf green tea during the day, but I just can’t let that morning cup go. I feel guilty about it, but it is what it is. Nobody’s perfect.

I’m on a mission to get my home life a bit more organized and, of course, working on getting Carter’s big boy room and the little miss’s nursery done. My day-to-day during nap time is a series of projects, snacking and house work that is consistently interrupted by the internet and a lack of energy and focus.

Saying Carter is full of energy is such an understatement I almost laughed out loud to myself while typing it. Want to keep your weight in check while pregnant? Get knocked up with an 18-month old running around. This kid is cray cray to the max. Super cute, fearless and a chatterbox – but absolutely insane with energy.

Our nameless baby girl keeps reminding me daily that she’s just as feisty as her brother was at this time – and those little kicks never cease to be an amazing connection to my daughter.

maternity fashion lusts

As my belly continues to get bigger, so does my longing to go shopping for cute, spring maternity clothes.

The weather in central NC can’t make it’s mind up between mid-50s and low 70s, so I’ve been happily swapping back and forth between cropped maternity leggings that are actually still too big (!!) and some really comfortable full length leggings that aren’t maternity but still fit quite nicely over my growing bump. Jeans are a problem as my maternity ones are too big but my regular jeans are too small, and insanely uncomfortable to do anything but stand in with my bellaband.

Getting dressed has been quite a challenge of late and I find myself thankful to be able to spend most days in my workout clothes. I even get to work in them!

But I continue to pin away at maternity fashion lusts, and look forward to when warm weather is officially here for good and I can go pick up a few cute pieces to spruce up my wardrobe and accentuate my constantly growing baby belly.

Here are a few of my favorite maternity pieces right now:

ingrid and isabel drape dress

This Ingrid & Isabel dress would be perfect for the May wedding Jason and I are attending! The coral color is even on sale for $39 right now, but I’m not sure of my ability to get any color on my skin before then, so I was thinking grey might be a fun shade to accessorize with bright, colorful jewelry or shoes.

Ingrid & Isabel actually has tons of adorable maternity clothes! I’d love one of everything, please! They are a little outside of my budget for clothes I’ll only wear for a few months, though, but for a special occasion I could see myself making the splurge.

GAP fushia skinny jeans

These skinny jeans from GAP are brightly colored and perfect for spring! They are reasonably priced for maternity jeans…if I’ve learned anything about pants while pregnant it’s that it is totally worth it to splurge on something that will fit you well and keep you comfortable.

One of my conditions prior to getting pregnant this time was the ability to splurge on some great designer jeans for everyday wear. Something dark washed with the ability to transition from day to night with ease. While I haven’t begun my search for the magic pair yet, these jeans from GAP would make an excellent addition to whatever I choose! (any recommendations on great maternity jeans would be greatly appreciated!)

hatch collection hoodie

I’d like one of everything from the HATCH collection maternity line. The hoodie tops the list, I’d probably never take it off, making my cost per wear relatively reasonable, but with a pricetag of $258, it will sadly never find a home in my closet. A girl can dream though, right?

linen wide leg pants

I found these Enza Costa wide leg linen pants while Pinterest-ing one day. They aren’t technically maternity, and they’re sold out, but how fabulously comfortable do they look?

lulu lemon run back on track tank

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about lulu lemon. While browsing their site, I’d love to put some sports bras, yoga pants and athletic jackets on my lust list, too. However, if I have to settle with a taste, I’m opting for the run: back on track tank top. At $64 it’s certainly more than I’d prefer to pay for a workout tank, but the fabric looks very breathable and the length looks long enough to be able to wear now and throughout my pregnancy as well as after. The price per wear would likely make it reasonable, making it highly likely that this baby will be mine in a few weeks!

drawstring neck tunic

I love tunics whether I’m pregnant or not. They hide my tendency to overeat at meals. I love this colorful, patterned one from GAP. And look, they paired it with those fushia skinny jeans I want!

Old Navy has a bunch of light-weight and colorful scarves for $15-17 that I look forward to using to spruce up a plain t-shirt.

I’m also loving the spring collection of jewelry at Stella&Dot. The bib necklaces and earrings are drool-worthy.

Where are your favorite places to shop for maternity clothes? What spring styles are you most excited about slipping on in the warmer months ahead?

a massive sweet tooth

Pregnancy number 2 has been different in a lot of ways, but none so poignant as my craving for sweets.

I’ve never been much of a baker. I was embarrassed at my attempt at a sugar-free carrot cake for Carter’s first birthday. Since then, I’ve made small strides by making some ugly although extremely delicious chocolate cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting for J’s birthday.

I’m also really awesome at breaking off the pre-cut cookie dough squares and putting them on a baking sheet. And busting open a box of Girl Scout cookies…

I don’t own a Kitchen Aid mixer and the other night when I went to bake some cookies I was actually out of flour. And brown sugar. And even eggs.

I don’t pride myself on my sweet concoctions, but thankfully I can put a mean dinner on the table for my family. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, not so much baking.

My currently baking daughter has prompted me to step out of that though and well, bake along with her.

Last night I made whole wheat applesauce muffins and chocolate chip cheesecake cookies. The cookie recipe I found on Pinterest and have been keeping in my back pocket for just such occasion; a random Sunday night + the Oscars.

cookies and muffins

I managed to eat oh…10 of them.

I woke up with a stomach ache, but there’s really nothing like tons of warm cookies and a glass of milk when you’re pregnant and watching skinny actresses in gorgeous dresses on TV, right?

Here are 6 other sweet treats currently sitting on my food-inspired Pinterest board that I’m dying to try. If these pictures didn’t make you drool on your keyboard, maybe the next few will:

Strawberry Yogurt Cake

strawberry yogurt cake

Chewy No-Bake Thin Mint Bars

chewy no-bake thin mint bars

Red Velvet Espresso and Cream Swirled Brownies

red velvet espresso and cream swirled brownies

Key Lime Swirl Cheesecake Bars

key lime swirl cheesecake bars

Lemon Blueberry Loaf

lemon blueberry loaf

Ice Cream Cookie Pie

ice cream cookie pie

Share with me your favorite dessert recipes! I’m always looking out for new things to flex my baking muscles out on!