buddhism · positive thinking · pregnancy · Spirituality · Zen

On Grace

I’ve never really considered myself to be a religious person. “Spiritual” certainly, whatever that means, but I haven’t ever really subscribed to any one doctrine of faith. I think religion is wonderful and faith is a beautiful thing to be sure, but no one religion has ever completely fit my beliefs completely. Let me preface the rest of this post by also mentioning that I am fairly well-rounded in the realm of religious study, as I spent my four years in college delving into every religious tradition I could – both mainstream and not so well-known (Jainism, anyone?). While four years of study isn’t nearly enough to make me an expert on religion in general, I think I have exposed myself to enough religious diversity to be able to confidently say that I am not one thing. I love all religions, and I think they are all beautiful and perfect at their core.

Now that I’ve established myself as a neutral party (and no I won’t discuss religion with you at a party, it makes me uncomfortable), I wanted to touch on my newly found openness to G-d or qi or loving energy during my second trimester of pregnancy. I was having my nightly phone call with my mom, and I was telling her just how happy I feel, and how blessed and just how…humbled I am with this whole experience.

I know this is the typical experience for the second trimester (I feel FANTASTIC and have so much energy!) but I also feel so much deeper. I feel like my whole body has been opened up to the universe; like my insides are too big to fit inside my physical self anymore (I’m not talking about that baby busting out of mom’s abdominal wall, either). It’s like the life and love inside of me is just so expansive and large, that it reaches out into the universe infinitely, touching every single thing ever… It reminds me of a Ted talk by Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who experienced a massive stroke, and was able to work her way back to speech and a healthy brain. She said that while certain parts of her brain slowly ceased functioning, she stopped being able to perceive where she ended, and the rest of the universe began. She described her body as no longer existing, and said she just became this limitless energy pouring out into everything.

THAT’S how I feel. Like becoming the carrier of this little human life has just split my body in two and allowed everything in, and simultaneously allows all my life energy to flow out into the world.

This is deep, I know. I had to write it down so I could remember feeling this way later, when I am wiping poo off the walls.

The negative side to this experience is that I also feel more exposed to negative energy. I have experienced more anxiety in these months than ever before too, I’m sure due to hormones, but also because my soul or heart or whatever is just out there for the world to imprint on. I feel very, very sensitive to hearing or seeing anything sad. I feel completely overstimulated by the news, and hearing about the attacks in Paris put me over the edge for a few days. My heart aches for every terrible thing that has happened or is happening, and I feel like a silly little white girl who just can’t even. But I really can’t, it hurts me on a very deep level right now.

But my sensitivity to the bad things brings me back to Grace. The Grace I feel like I am able to find in so many things every day now. Like meeting the exact right person at the right time. Or having everything seem to just start falling into place. To feel finally like you have everything you need  in each moment. To be able to find so very many things to be grateful for every single day, and to just feel that everything is going to be so much better than just okay.

I see that Grace, and I am overwhelmed by it.

 

goals · writing

Craving Creativity

I used to consider myself a creative person. I spent my weekends in high school stretching out my hamstrings on the living room floor while watching movies in French and Italian (with. out. subtitles.) and reading any book by a female author before 1800 that I could get my hands on. I actively sought out things that exercised my right brain.

And now? I go to work. I work very hard and think a lot, but it’s about law and insurance and reading contracts and understanding what the heck my clients do. I come home. Don’t get me wrong, my job exercises that type A part of me that wants things to be organized and fast-paced and stimulating in the left-brainy way, and I really enjoy what I do. It’s weird for people NOT in my industry to hear me say things like “I really love insurance!” but I do. It’s a great industry to be in with a lot of good people, and I work for an amazing company who values their employees and takes pretty good care of them.

BUT. I can’t help always feeling like I’m letting that creative part of my brain wither away over the years. That’s what hobbies are for, I hear you saying. But I’m lazy and about to have a lot less time for myself because I am growing a little human who is going to flip my world upside down and take up every spare moment I have outside of work. I wish I could work in two departments at once – oh please boss? Won’t you let me write colorful words for you on Mondays and Tuesdays in Media/Marketing, and then handle my 400 emails Wednesday through Friday? Actually, while we’re at it, how about you just give me Fridays off so I have time to just be my diva self and go to farmer’s markets with my kid?

Ok guys, rant over. I must go supervise the ceiling progress.

baby · home improvement · pregnancy

More Home Improvements and Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving with Matt’s family this year was so much fun. Where last year I was the newbie – half the younger cousins had no idea who I was, and thus there wasn’t much conversation – this year, whether because they had seen my face a few more times or because I am now the sacred vessel for their cousin’s child, I had people asking me baby/pregnancy questions left and right! I am an introvert, yes, but I sure do like the attention. And of course pleasant conversation in general, but there’s just something about people staring at my belly that makes me proud. I actually really thought people touching my belly would be super uncomfortable, but if it’s someone I know, I really don’t mind at all. If know your name, friends, please rub away. Bdub likes the attention too.

Anyway, it was so much fun chatting with everyone this year, listening to stories about their kids and what it was like going back to work after their babies were born. If you had told me I would be so wrapped up in a conversation about breastfeeding a year ago, I would have thought you were crazy, but I am like a sponge when mothers talk about their experiences now. One small caveat to that, however, is when well-meaning people give TOO much advice. I.e. “you have to breastfeed until they are two! It’s the most important thing in the world!” “You can’t go back to work after they’re born, it will ruin their lives forever” “If they are not sleeping through the night by six weeks, you are a failed mother” etc. These examples are obviously exaggerated some, but you would be surprised. And this is completely a side note, I actually have not experienced unsolicited advice at all from my new side of the family – I am mostly referencing total strangers and perhaps one person in particular from my own extended family who is a great mother I’m sure, but definitely is like five years younger than me and needs to just be quiet.

And now on the home improvement front, we are moving southward and into the hallway! The ceiling had a monstrous crack in it before because someone had removed one of the beams that should have been framing the recessed lighting up there. We have since replaced some of the framing and are now freezing, as we have no ceiling right smack in the the middle of the house!

Once that drywall is in, we will finally start painting and I’m going to try and rehab the cute old 1950s doorbell up there with some sanding and some retro-colored Rustoleum.

We have also picked out living rooms colors, and it finally feels like things are really starting to come together. Matt has been seriously working his butt off to try and get this stuff done before little Bdub is born. I feel super useless not being able to do much to help, but I am assured that he is moving faster than he would with my help, so I will just continue to eat on the couch and watch.

Finally, an update on the belly: baby was rolling around like crazy in there almost all day yesterday! I woke up feeling it, and laid in bed an extra half hour just paying attention to my little in-utero swimmer. It seriously felt like that baby was kicking off me like you kick off the side of a pool – over and over and over. I have been feeling gentle little pokes here and there in the last few weeks, but the feeling is now unmistakably a person practicing their ninja life skills in there.

Now on to more long weekend productivity!

 

 

house · organization · Uncategorized

Hall Closet Transformation

Now that my morning/noon/night sickness has finally subsided (18 looong weeks in!), I am beginning to get the nesting itch.

I’ve continued to minimize my wardrobe, slowly but surely paring down to less than 100 items of clothing. I always feel so clean after dropping off a big trash bag full of clothes at Goodwill-nothing beats the sight of a simplified closet and drawers! My big challenge has just been to make sure I’m saving the right pieces of clothing for after baby comes. Sure, hardly anything fits me now, but in 10 months hopefully it all will again…My solution has been to take all my nice, too small clothes that I know were favorites at one time, and put them into Rubbermaid boxes in under the bed for the time being.

I finally got rid of two pairs (of like 40) workout leggings, so…PROGRESS!

For your OCD viewing pleasure, I also wanted to share pictures of this weekend’s hall closet transformation. I didn’t get rid of a ton this time, since I’m not sure what the heck we’ll need with an infant in the house, but I did organize it. Last week my mom gently mentioned that she would like to help me organize our closets outside of the bathroom whenever this nesting thing happened. Well, this is something I’ve been wanting to do since we moved in, and this weekend the time was right for some closet TLC.

closet1
Chemicals at the bottom, bad for baby
closet2
We always end up buying duplicates of toothpaste, razors, etc. because Matt somehow can’t find them in here…

 

And now for the after shots!

image1
Momma made LABELS!!
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LABELS!!!
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Quick grab stuff for myself and Matt in the little wire baskets

The pictures turned out really grainy for some reason, but you get the gist – we can find things in our closet now! And there is plenty of space (a whole 2 or 3 shelves) for when we need to add in any extra baby stuff. How’s that for organized, Mom??

I spent a total of $23 at the 99 cent store and Big Lots! Worth it to be able to tell what’s in there at a glance (and actually find things…).

At some point, I’ll figure out a neater way to organize towels and sheets, but for now the cat really enjoys laying on top of them, so I will humor her a while longer.

Eventually, I would like to re-paper and paint the inside of these too, but there are so many more pressing projects at the moment that I’m just not there yet.

So there you have it, even people with husbands who refuse to get rid of anything can organize their linen/hall closet on a budget.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

baby · holiday post · positive thinking · pregnancy

On Gratitude

What better time of year to focus on practicing gratitude than Thanksgiving? I know in the past I have written about my struggles in practicing being grateful for everything I am blessed with, but becoming a mom has really brought me to my knees with gratitude.

We have been so, so dang lucky this year (and just overall in our lives). This year, in particular though, has been a good one. We have had a very successful first year of marriage – minimal arguments about pithy things (usually laundry), and have gotten to do some pretty fun things in the past twelve months. We were able to buy a home, and have steadily been able to afford to make improvements in our home. We have wonderful, loving family and friends who love and support us in everything – without them, I would be lost. We were able to travel quite a bit, and I was able to see each one of my good friends throughout the year. And of course, we were able to become pregnant and have a healthy, happy, squirmy baby in there now, doing all kinds of tricks on the ultrasound for Mom and Dad.

bebe

We had our anatomy scan on Monday this week, and I have just been so in love with our little one since then, I can’t stop thinking about her/him. That’s not to say I didn’t think about little Bdub (our nickname for that baby) many times a day before, or feel super duper happy about their impending arrival; but seeing them move around on that screen, playing with their fingers and lips, stretching out and curling back up again…it just made me feel so much more connected to our child, our BABY! It’s surreal and also very real now, and the amount of gratitude and positivity I feel surrounding this baby is just incredible.

 

Uncategorized

Nursery Progress (or lack thereof)

We (and by we, I do mean my husband) have been diligently working on little bits and pieces of this old house, trying to get the place in decent shape for the arrival of our tiniest little roommate.

When we moved in here, the place had been a rental for decades, so any and all updates were pretty rushed, and nothing was very well taken care of. The place has great bones, but we’ve been slowly adding paint, new trim to everything, and pretty much any other finishing detail you can think of.

For the sake of documentation, I wanted to post our before pictures (even though they aren’t the BEFORE befores…the room had no floor trim, and was PINK before…)

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Half-finished closet
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Great view of the mess

In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be moving some furniture around and hopefully starting the actual decorating of the room!