Saturday, January 28, 2012

This body.

{A letter to you both}

I have been very frustrated with my body lately. When I get out the shower, I avoid the mirror. When I am walking past full length windows, I don't stop to check my self out. I don't like what I see.

Before I had either of you, I took my body for granted. I would get into a bikini and say "Ugh! Look that roll!" when that "roll" was a tiny, teensy bit of belly SKIN, not even chub. Before kids, I would walk into a store, find pants I loved and buy them in size 0 without even trying them on. Right before I got pregnant with you Elle, I gained some weight because I was suddenly working a desk job 40 hours a week. Simple math. I was eating the same, moving way less. Getting pregnant did not help any because I ate more and moved less still. Nevertheless, I came out of that pregnancy pretty unscathed. No stretch marks, belly returned to normal.

Then came along the next pregnancy. I had not lost all the baby weight, understandably since Elle you were only 11 months old when I became pregnant with Brynn. My ab muscles, essentially liquified by my first pregnancy, gave ZERO effort trying to hold things together. The belly grew faster and bigger at an alarming rate of speed. By 36 weeks, I felt like I could not possibly get any larger. So did my skin apparently because those lovely pregnancy battle wounds, stretch marks, made their appearance. I remember I told your dad "this pregnancy is ruining my body!".

But that is not true. My pregnancies ARE my body. My whole life thus far, my body had been preparing itself for motherhood. Getting hips, boobs and a butt- I was gonna need those things (well the butt is a bit of an added bonus). At 17, it was glorious and all looked wonderful in a two piece. One horrible bit of bad luck I have is that your dad knew me then. He saw that body and probably remembers it still. I still measure myself against that body. But that body had done so little except play on the school soccer team and run around with friends. This body has moved mountains.

This body was the greenhouse for two tiny seeds, who grew into two beautiful babies who are my whole life. These legs have strained hard through two natural labors so those babies could be snuggled onto my chest, pink and whaling. These arms have cradled you each in the wee hours of night, muscles tired from rocking. These fingers have now pinched your cheeks 1,000 times. This body is a temple. A place where life was made, delivered and sustained.

But that does not mean I have to love it. And right now I don't. Your body will be both your biggest asset but also perhaps your biggest source of frustrations as you worry about what your body "should" look like, wonder why clothes don't fit like the same on your body as they do on someone else's, why your butt is flatter, boobs smaller, nose bigger. There are a million things about your body that you will never be able to change. But there are some things you can change.

Right now, I am working hard to lose the rest of this weight. I want to like the way I look in pictures (right now I don't even get in front of the camera because I always hate the result), I want to be strong, I want to see muscles again. I want to love my body. It is such a fine balance. I know my body is different. I know I will always have these stretch marks and my skin will never be as tight, but it can be fitter than it is now. I want to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see. And I am getting there. After 3 months of training, I can run 3 miles averaging a 7.5 minute mile, I can lift heavy weight, I even sometimes walk around the house (proudly) in my underwear.

As a mom of girls, I know body image will be something all three of us struggle with. We will have to help and support each other. And when you are both 17 and complaining about the size of your butt in your swimsuit, I will make you read this letter. Try not to meet your husband, at that age... :)

Love Mama.

(lol. sorry for any typos, I accidentally posted the draft!- trying to find and fix them all)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Just for fun...

for all of you who follow this blog for the photos. I love before and afters :)

Editing Steps for this under-exposed, too cool sooc:

1. Curves adjustment
2. Added pink tinted haze (opacity adjustment)
3. Warmed up
4. Added a bit of softness
5. Added slight vignette


(you will see the watermark is that is my new business launch this month! Woot!)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cheeky Brynn.

I *think* her cheeks are going to be as big as her sister's.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Not Fair.

{A letter to you both}

Today, a young couple that your dad works with lost their baby. She was due in two weeks. I met her for the first time this summer. It was at the local fair and she was glowing. My belly was about to pop with you Brynn and Elle, you were whining for a snowcone. She was saying how excited she was that they were going to find out the sex of the baby. I remember thinking oh yes, it is all fun and giggles when your belly is the size of a softball, just wait till that baby is kicking you all.night.long. It won't be so magical then. She found out a couple weeks later that the baby was a girl.

She stopped feeling the baby and came to the fire station to have her emt husband listen in the ambulance with the doppler. He told her heard a faint heartbeat. That was probably all in his mind. His mind making up that tiny pitter patter to save her heart. She left him at work and drove to the doctor where she found that the life that had been growing her belly for so many months, was gone.

I do not believe in god. I never have, despite studying religion extensively in college and growing up in a small, mostly christian town, where my beliefs made me the outcast. For whatever reason, the idea of an all knowing god who decides our fate and judges us by our choices just never made sense. And as much as I wanted to believe- to make things easier on myself, to fit in- I just couldn't ever do it. The religious answer to this sort of loss is that the baby is in a better place and they will meet again.

In my mind, my set of beliefs, all I can think is that is not fair. That a mother, so excited to meet her baby daughter would instead have to bury her in a tiny grave. That a mother, who has been running her fingers over her tightened skin waiting for kicks, must leave the hospital empty handed because there is a god somewhere who needed that baby more than her. No one needed that baby more than she did.

It is not fair that women, who do not want children, get pregnant easily while women who have been dreaming of motherhood since childhood experience infertility. It is not fair that one woman rocks her baby to sleep while another rocks alone in the dark, holding her knees wondering if she will ever in her life see anything as beautiful as that lost baby. Life is not a test. You don't experience loss, hardship or pain because you are the person who is strong enough to carry that weight.

Life is a series of events. Some beautiful. So beautiful that you can hardly breathe. Some so sad, the sorrow feels like a sea that might swallow you whole. No one is deciding who gets what burden. We are, ultimately, alone. We have this one life. A life that clips along at terrifying pace. A pace you become acutly aware of as a mother. As little tiny babies grow into blabbering, toddling people in a matter of months.

When someone experiences a loss like this, it is always so hard for me to know what to say. I won't be the one saying it is in god's hands or she is an angel now, even though I understand how comforting those ideas can be. If I were to say anything, it would be that I am sorry. And things are sometimes totally unfair. And I would undoubtedly cry because I am sure her grief would radiate off her and take over me.

Nothing is personal. Nothing is fair. You will both experience pain. I have. Your father has. Everyone on this planet has or will. But the wonderful news is that you have so many people here who love you. People who will offer a shoulder to cry on, a lap to snuggle in, an ear to listen. They are here in the present. When life turns down an unstable, seemingly unbeatable path- call to us. We will be here to help show you the way, hold you, put you back together. Just as in my hour of need, the closeness of your hugs will bring me much comfort. Know beautiful things are just around the corner, behind that closed door, hidden in the smile of a stranger or waiting for us in the next week, month or year. Grieve, cry and while you will never completely move on, tomorrow will come. And with it, light.

Tonight, I held you both a bit closer. We have been lucky. But I am not blessed. I am just another mother who loves her babies. We will do our best should our luck turn. I love both of you so much and have thankful for each day I have with you.


(when you read this letter, I don't know what you will believe. I am never going to push you to believe in any one god, religion or in anything at all. But I had to write this letter with my own voice. The voice of a woman who has love, passion, forgiveness, humility but no god in her heart)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Elle's 2nd Birthday.

{A letter to Elle}

I made a promise when I was pregnant with you that I would try to make your life beautiful. We don't have a lot of money but I make it a point to dress you well, keep you clean, brush your hair. Our house small but is kept very tidy despite your habit of throwing toys around. I want to you to look back at your life and be filled with lovely memories. So I planned your birthday party while staying true to my promise. I made some of the decorations, bought the rest at the dollar store. I paid attention to details. I hope you look back one day and think it all looked magical. Because today was.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A silly pilot.

I love this goofy, goofy kid.

I Heart Faces Photo Challenge & Photography Tutorials

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Elle & Brynn: both 5 months.

So alike yet so different :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Elle in a blue dress

Elle, you and I love to shop at the Gap. We found this super cute dress there on clearance.

A Video of Brynn


Monday, January 2, 2012

Brynn b&w on the chair.

Trying to post more photos by request of my lovely readers!