baby

Things That Have Surprised Me About Being a Mom

Being a mom has been surprising. I was surprised when I found out I was going to be a mom (think: full-blown panic attack right there in the bathroom), I was surprised he turned out to be a boy (I had a girl name ready to go and I was SO STOKED about dressing her in glittery pink tutus), and I am consistently surprised by how much I freaking love this kid. Like, I knew you loved your children… but whoa. I would happily jump off a bridge headfirst for him. I would eat a tarantula for him if I had to (although I’m not sure why this scenario would ever be real). I don’t mind holding him when he cries, and I have no problem changing his nasty diapers. It is more love than any human should ever have to cope with.

Anyway, in the spirit of entertainment and education, here are six things that have surprised me about being a mom (in no particular order):

  1. Bodily fluids are no big deal. There’s poop on my arm? Oh well… I’ll wipe it onto my shorts. It’s not THAT much, and that’s what washing machines are for, right? Spit up on my shoulder? Who cares… since I only have 6 shirts that really fit me right now anyway, no way am I changing for something so trivial. Uncle Caleb had a conniption when Judah threw up on his shoulder one night, and I was genuinely bewildered over it being such a traumatic event for him. It dries. Last week we had a urine fountain and a spit-up geyser happening at the same time during a diaper change. I found it more funny than horrifying. Also, I can for the first time in my life say that I have picked another person’s nose. It was necessary.
  2. So. Much. Laundry. For someone who hates folding laundry more than almost anything else in the world (I hate ironing more. Ironing = throwing my clothes back into the dryer), choosing cloth diapers seems like a bad idea about 50 times a day… every time I look over and realize that I have another load of diapers to fold or stuff. Also, I’m not changing my own clothes that are wet with spit-up, but you better believe Judah’s getting changed, poor little guy. And there is the burp cloth that probably got soaked, and sometimes the sheet in his crib if he was laying in there when it happened (or, this morning, my pillowcase). This less-than-10-pound person creates about 3 times more laundry than two adults, and just because his clothes are tiny doesn’t make it any less work.
  3. The sleep deprivation isn’t as bad as people make it seem. “You’re pregnant? Well, say goodbye to sleep for the REST OF YOUR LIFE” is what everyone says when you make the big announcement. People like to crush your excitement and hopes and dreams with tales of woe about exhaustion and poop (but since we’ve established that poop is no big deal, it’s really just the exhaustion that’s a problem). But really. Maybe he’s an exceptionally good sleeper, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised about how un-foggy I’ve actually felt. Of course, my husband says that’s because normal people “newborn brain” is actually equivalent to Lacey’s “normal brain,” and he has a point. The other day I asked him to “please hand me the microwave” (I meant my nursing cover), and he didn’t even blink.
  4. I’m a much more strict parent than I thought I’d be. I thought I’d be a super chill, kick-you-out-of-the-nest-and-become-your-own-person mom, but I’m officially not. Judah and I had to have a stern conversation at 4:00 the other morning about how he’s not allowed to date until he’s 65, he’s not allowed to play football ever, and he may not pursue a career as an astronaut.
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  5. The kid’s sleep is entertaining. Seriously. My standards of entertainment have changed drastically. The faces he makes while he’s dreaming… bestillmyheart. I don’t know what he’s dreaming about, but it must very quickly range from funny to sad, from happy to horrifying… and he shows it all on his face. And his pacifier somehow ends up on the floor, under his crib, 5 nights out of 7. How does this happen? We don’t know. But, just for the record, it’s really hard to get a pacifier out from under the crib WHILE holding the crying baby. I strongly recommend putting the baby down first, especially if you have short arms.
  6. Baby clothes are weird. I organized them all so neatly by size (a large accomplishment), only to find that size means almost nothing. Judah now supposedly wears size 0-3 months… but some of those clothes are already too small, some are still huge, some of his newborn clothes still fit, and some of his 3-6 months clothes fit too. It’s such a disaster for my already unorganized-yet-OCD mind. I want to write letters to all baby clothing manufacturers and request that they please have a meeting and create standard sizing. Dressing my child should not be stressful like blue jean shopping (seriously, if I’m a size 8 just let me be a size 8 everywhere. I’m often a size 8 in one store, a size 6 in another and a 14 in another. It’s like a confidence roller coaster). For real. Being a mom is so weird. And so awesome. And so stressful and cool.signature
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Here’s Judah!

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There are two things that I always considered to be absolute truths when it came to having babies:

1) My mom had super incredibly fast labors, so since I am her daughter, the same thing will happen to me. (I had mixed feelings about this truth… thank-goodness-I-won’t-be-in-pain-for-long-but-I-hope-we-make-it-to-the-hospital kind of feeings).
2) Newborns do nothing but eat and sleep. And poop. But mostly sleep.

Neither of these are true.

I spent several weeks preparing my very squeamish husband for the possibility of delivering a baby in the car. I encouraged him by saying that in the moment, he wouldn’t even notice blood; he’d worry about that later. I explained to him that tying off the umbilical cord would be important… hopefully, one of us would be wearing tennis shoes, so that we would have a shoelace to use. I made sure that our bags were packed and stayed in the car at all times, the gas tank was always at least half full, and with every Braxton Hicks contraction that hit (and there were a LOT), I would glance at my watch to check the time… because the SECOND I hit six contractions in an hour, we were going to be ON THE ROAD. (I had 5 in one hour on at least seven different occasions in the last two weeks of my pregnancy).

Instead, I was blessed with an almost 42-week pregnancy that ended in an induction, a 22-hour labor, and 1 hour and 57 minutes of pushing.

As far as the activities of newborns go… no. It’s all wrong. MY newborn likes to play, and talk, and watch ceiling fans spin, and cry and cry and cry… not because his diaper is full, or because he’s hungry, or because his belly hurts (although this IS often the case, poor guy)… but because he is bored. Even while you are holding him sometimes, he cries… until you talk to him, or sing to him, or squish his face around to make him look like Yoda. He feels a need to be entertained. At 4 weeks old. I did not bargain for this.

The good news is, Judah Cary is a very bright-eyed little dude who eats like a champ. The bad news is, he inherited his father’s horrible chronic nasal congestion. More good news is that he has a head full of beautiful, soft hair. More bad news is that he’s a fabulous “before” picture for Baby Proactive right now.

Some Judah-facts: On one particularly emotional night, he quit crying when his dad played the Alabama Football 2014 Hype Video for him. His burps are super manly and impressive. He HATES blankets, socks, or being constricted in any way. Being buckled into his car seat is equivalent to being shot in the eye with a rubber band gun. He neither loves nor hates bath time; it seems to simply bewilder him. He and Ramona are already besties.

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So, that’s our Judah. Here’s hoping he grows up with his Dad’s kindheartedness and my taste in movies. Jonathan intends for him to be the next AJ McCarron, and I intend for him to be the next Bobby Flay. Here’s hoping for a softhearted, Princess Bride-loving, football-throwing, spatula-wielding man.

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2013, in five bullet points… and what’s coming in 2014!

Problems with growing up:
You have to actually remember things, because your mom isn’t there to remind you.
Paying bills.
No more sleeping in. Like, ever.
You are supposed to do courteous things like send Christmas cards and Christmas letters. Every year.

We have now been married for three Christmases, and for three Christmases we have failed to send a card or letter. To anyone. I will admit that is due in equal parts to forgetfulness, procrastination, and laziness.
(Forgetfulness: “Oh, we forgot to do Christmas cards, and it’s December 15 already!”
Procrastination: “Oh well, we can figure something out tomorrow.”
Laziness: “Eh, it’s December 20th. It’s just not worth all the hustle I’d have to put into it now.”)
So, in lieu of the traditional Christmas letter… here are the bullet points of 2013:

The House

This might be the #1 biggest accomplishment for 2013… right up there with me using a pressure cooker without blowing myself up, and Jonathan discovering a new love for mayonnaise (we aim high around here). I have those “after” pictures of the house. I doubt they will make it into this post, but they will make it up eventually. They are trapped in my camera right now, crying for release. For now, let’s just say it is BEAUTIFUL.

The Employment

Jonathan is still the jack-of-all-trades (Jonathan-of-all-trades?) that he has been since we got hitched. He works more hours at the local Christian radio station now, and of course spends LOTS of hours pouring his heart out as youth pastor. As far as they let us know, the kids still like him, so he must be doing something right. He is a super good teacher, which also is why he’s excited about coaching a local school’s baseball team this spring, and tutoring one of our 5th grade friends in the fine art of mathematics. Good teachers are hard to find, and sometimes they are just as valuable OUTSIDE the classroom setting as in it, no?

I stayed on at the bank I work at, making it offically the longest I have ever stayed at one job (I’m not that much of a flake, I promise… I always ended up moving or starting school before spending a long time at any other job). I try to help out with the youth as much as I can, and since my strengths are DEFINITELY planning activities and organizing events rather than teaching or discipling, those things fall to me whenever I am able to muster up the time to do them. I’ve also been doing a lot of baking and a tiny bit of media work for the church.

blog6Dieting and Running and Mysterious Illnesses

We both actually did pretty well with a “be healthier” New Years Resolution. We ran our first two 5k’s, ate much healthier, and we both lost quite a bit of weight (yes, some of it has crept back on towards the end of the year, but we both feel much better and definitely can tell a difference in how our clothes fit from 365 days ago). Regardless, I spent most of the summer sick, and it took forever to figure out why.

First, I had some mysterious virus that wasn’t technically Mono but acted exactly like it. Naturally, I waited until it had almost cured itself to go to the doctor for it… but it was nice to know why I had been feeling like death for a few months. After that, I was still feeling sick to my stomach 90% of the time… and, after a self-diagnosis we figured out that I am now, mysteriously, intolerant of caffeine. After switching completely to decaf, I am like a new person… it only took two days to get over headaches and about a week to not get extra sleepy every afternoon. AND we figured it out about a week before I was scheduled to make a trip to a specialist… saving us a copay and myself a dreaded visit to yet another doctor. Hot dog!

Accomplishments We are Proud Of

blog5As mentioned before, Jonathan decided he likes mayonnaise. He perfected the art of grilling pizza. He painted all of the ceilings in our house, which took about a kabillion gallons of paint (just kidding, it took 13). He did a lot of skiing backwards when we were in Colorado in February. He started eating salad… often. He got a Red Robin Loyalty card, which gets us free food every now and then. He carried his iPhone along on our first 5k, which was a color run, and it didn’t get ruined. He bought a motorcycle. He didn’t have a heart attack after the Iron Bowl. He fearlessly led our youth group to camp, where we dominated in the homemade boat race with our Dragon Pool Noodle Viking Ship.

blog4I learned how to make yummy salads. I settled on paint colors for our house, after changing my mind only 17 times. I went snow-shoeing with my mother-in-law, got lost in the wilderness, and didn’t die. I completed almost half of a Sudoku puzzle book, in ink, and only totally messed up about 5 puzzles. There was the aforementioned pressure-cooker adventure (and now I have canned green beans!). I helped my mom bake 100 loaves of bread in one day. I’ve broken the power button on two iPhones… the first one got replaced, but I’m still waiting on the second. As I said before, I’ve lived almost four months now without caffeine.

The Puppy

Our family grew a little bit this winter, with the addition of Ramona the Chocolate Lab. She is an energetic ball of fur with one droopy eye that won’t develop properly. This means she has almost no peripheral vision on that side and she crashes into things sometimes. Not funny for her, hilarious for us.

blog3She is going to be an outside dog, but right now she’s tiny and it’s cold outside, so she spends nights and some parts of the day inside. She only recently learned to entertain herself in the yard, running through piles of leaves and destroying her little chewing rope. Before, she liked to stand at the gate and peer out through the cracks in the boards, or hang out under the dining room window and voice her displeasure at being left alone. Jonathan has her pretty well trained that when she is inside,

she stays in the mudroom. No crossing the line into the rest of the house, period. So, anytime she is in there, she gathers her towel (she has her own special blue towel to snuggle with), her bone, her teddy bear, and her rope, and lays right in the doorway, chewing or sleeping or pouting. She does whatever she can to be as close to us as she can get. Oh… and she uses her teddy bear for a pillow. Every time.

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The Ultrasound: What’s coming in 2014

Possibly the #1 greatest highlight of this year?

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Seeing this picture on a screen in a doctor’s office… and knowing that it’s going to be a baby soon!
Yup… our family is still growing. This ultrasound was taken in mid-November, so fingers crossed Peanut looks more like a baby and less like a blob by now.
To quickly answer the top “Oh my goodness you’re pregnant!” questions:
We are due July 3. I have been VERY sick, but thanks to some miracle medicine, I’m able to function. We do plan on finding out the gender, and yes, we’ll share it… but no names until baby is born. =) I’m craving orange juice and Thai spring rolls (which you can’t buy in our town, booo).

Here’s hoping you all have a fabulous 2014!

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Happy Birthday, Dear Anna…

To read all of Anna’s story, visit her mom’s blog and start from the beginning: Carrying Anna

It is worth your time, but keep tissues nearby.

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March 26, 2012

March 28, 2012

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One year ago today, Jonathan and I were in a car driving furiously from Alaska to Alabama. We had already put in a few very long days, and had several more very long days ahead of us, we knew.

We had been in Alaska for a little less than six months, and the decision to go home had happened very quickly… it was a whirlwind of making the choice to leave, packing, cleaning, saying goodbyes and getting in the car to drive away.

We had a sweet little niece on the way, you see, and she wasn’t expected to live for very long. We were quite determined to at least try to be there for a little bit of her life.

On March 27, we drove through Watson Lake, in Canada. We had stopped in this tiny little town on our way up, and we had stayed in a little motel (called A Nice Motel) that had wi-fi. Jonathan parked right outside the building and used his cell phone to connect to wi-fi and call his brother via Skype.

That’s when we learned that Anna had been born, and was actually a couple of hours old. She was being held and loved on and adored by her entire family… except for us. And we knew then that we weren’t going to make it in time to meet her.

We got home a couple of days after Anna’s funeral. We’ve seen pictures of her, heard stories of Anna’s Day, but we never got to meet her. Everyone says she looked just like her sister, Abby, but we didn’t get to experience that in person. We didn’t get to hold her or feel her warmth or touch her soft hair.

Her big brother’s birthday was this last weekend. We went to his party. He was turning five, and the party was full of loud, hyper, excited children. I sat there and watched them play and couldn’t help but think about if Anna had been there. It would have been approaching her first birthday, and maybe she would have let me hold her while her mom and dad ran around and took care of party business. Or maybe she would have already been walking, and far too interested in all the excitement to sit still and let someone hold her.

I hope this doesn’t make me seem like a bad aunt… but I felt a special affection for Anna, because she was going to be the first niece/nephew born since I married into the family. She was never going to know life without Aunt Lacey in it. The other three probably won’t remember it, but for her it would be a fact. I work near where she is buried, and occasionally I go by there to say hello, or to eat lunch with her when the weather is pretty. Today when I went by, someone else had left her a balloon. =)

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I want to be part of her birthday party, with pink balloons and ice cream and cake and presents wrapped in girly paper with curly ribbons on top. I want to watch her grow up with her sister, play dress up and house with them now, and talk to them about boys and life when they’re older.

We’re going to have one serious birthday party when we’re all together in heaven. And the way this family eats ice cream, it is going to take a LOT to make up for all the time that will have been lost.

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Anna Grace

So… the best laid plans don’t always work out…

Yesterday morning when we woke up we had emails saying that Misty was at the hospital, and Anna was on the way. That afternoon J and I pulled up in the parking lot of a hotel in Watson Lake, YT. They had wifi, so we hooked up and called a couple members of J’s family for updates.

Anna Grace McMath was born yesterday morning between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m. She was 4 lbs, 11 oz, and from the picture we saw, she looked like her older sister, Abby. She was beautiful. She lived for a few hours, and it seems like the family was able to spend some really good time with her.

We hit the road hard, somehow thinking that if we drove faster we would be able to make it back in time for something. We canceled our hotel for that night in Ft. Nelson to one in Ft. St. John, adding about 3 1/2 hours to our trip in order to get just a little bit closer. We figured out that if we drove 15-16 hour days, we could be home by Saturday afternoon… but that is pretty much the earliest we could realistically make it.

This morning we learned that the funeral for Anna is going to be the end of this week, and there is just absolutely no possible way for us to make it. Quite frankly, the long days we’ve been doing aren’t safe to keep up… not in these conditions. The roads are pretty bad, they are randomly slick because of melting snow and ice, and, as strange as this sounds to us Alabamians… there are buffalo everywhere and they are hard to see at night in the middle of the highway.

So, for now (since our plans seem to change every single day, I think “for now” is a good disclaimer to use), our plan is to go back to our semi-original plan. We are going to slow down a bit and make the trip a little bit longer and safer. We should be home around April 3rd, still.

J and I definitely feel a big loss at not being able to meet Anna during the little window she was with us on earth. Members of the family keep referring to the book Heaven is For Real. The book circulated our ranks last summer, and there were a lot of laughs and tears as we all made our way through it. It’s definitely helping to give us all some kind of an image of Anna in heaven, with the other members of the family that are already there.

Please keep the whole family in your prayers, still.

A rapid change of plans.

A quick update on life:

Most of you know about J’s brother, Joey, and his wife, Misty. They are expecting a baby, but there have been some complications. You can read about it at Misty’s blog: carryinganna.wordpress.com It’s definitely worth reading, by the way. Misty is an absolutely fantastic writer, and you can not read it without crying… but don’t let that stop you from doing it!!

Anyway, it’s looking like Anna will be born soon… who knows how soon, but definitely soon. We felt a very strong need to at least try to be home by then… even if we can’t be, we wanted to do our best. So we made some very quick arrangements so that we could leave about a week early. We decided on Saturday to start working towards leaving, and Sunday morning (yesterday) we confirmed our decision. We spent all day yesterday packing and cleaning and such, and hit the road this morning at about 11:00 Glennallen time! Tonight we’re staying in Whitehorse, YT, Canada… and we should be back in sweet home Alabama by April 3rd!

So, please pray for safety for us… we are traveling through melty snow and slush and nastiness and stuff. And pray for Joey & Misty & Anna… and that if it’s God’s will, we’ll make it in time. Thanks!