Thursday, April 3, 2014

After Midnight

Here I sit, long after midnight. Once again, I am reminded of the reason I named this blog "Letters After Midnight." My mom once told me that when I was an infant I was colicky and would be up screaming at all hours of the night. She, being the good Army pilot's wife that she was, had night duty with me. She would sit at the kitchen table with me draped across her lap (attempting to provide some tummy relief to a colicky infant - and some mental/physical relief for a tired, worn out mommy) and write letters. Apparently she used to say she would someday compile a book of those letters entitled, "Letters After Midnight." Thus the name of this blog, begun when I found myself a new mama with a colicky newborn.

Now I sit here after my last every-four-hour breast pumping session, once again writing after midnight. We are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the baby boy we are adopting. The due date is a little over three weeks away, and the scheduled induction is about two weeks away. I have pulled out all of our boy (and gender-neutral) baby clothes and washed those for newborn-3 months. The infant car seat has been brought in from the garage, dusted off, and the cover washed. Burp cloths, towels, and bassinet bedding (ha - we'll see if we get much use out of that this time either) have been washed and folded. We started packing our bags today - gearing up for a road trip that begins as a family of five and, God willing, ends as a new family of six.

I am beyond excited, but also nervous. Joyful, yet a little teary (which could be related to my ongoing attempt to relactate). I can't wait to welcome this little guy into the world and into our family. I am also looking forward to adding his biological family to our "perfectly imperfect" extended family. Recently a friend pointed out an insightful blog post exploring the parallels between marriage and open adoption. Melissa over at Open Adoption Open Heart wrote a beautiful piece which you can find here.

The parallel drawn was a new one to me, but the sentiment is somethingn that we have come to believe in over the last couple of years. When we welcome this sweet child into our lives, our family, and our home we are not only growing our family by one tiny baby, but adding his biological family to our extended family. Adopting a child is not a transaction - it is a uniting of two groups (our family and the child's biological family) with a common purpose (to give a child the best life we can collectively manage). I love how Melissa relates open adoption to marriage. Just as a marriage joins two separate (and sometimes very different) families, adoption joins two separate (and sometimes very different) families.

I want to be able to tell my son, years from now, that his biological family loved him enough to believe our family would be a good place for him to grow up and that we did everything in our power to make his biological family part of our "perfectly imperfect" extended family. I can't wait...


Friday, March 1, 2013

A Change of Season

Not the weather, I have been loving all the snow around here, but a season of life.  So much has happened since my last post.  We have been traveling, homeschooling, praying, living, loving, worshiping...being.  I find myself suddenly (and not so suddenly) homeschooling a first grader, watching an almost 5yo grow, and getting nervous/excited about the impending first day of Parents Day Out for the 2 1/2yo.  Whoa!

The season of life we are in is all about family.  We have embraced homeschooling for many reasons, not the least of which is the flexibility it gives us to travel and explore.  We have put more miles on our minivan in the last two months that the last year total, stayed in no less than 5 hotels in that time, and played in the sand, hiked around waterfalls, built snow forts/slides/castles, and spent amazing time with family and friends near and far.  We are actually considering renting a camper (RV) and taking off for a while this fall.

We have also set our feet firmly on the road toward adoption...yes, adoption.  Our homestudy is complete, we have put together a profile, and we are almost ready to list with an agency.  Wow.  You may be thinking (because we often are), "isn't life crazy enough with three kids?"  Well, yes.  However, we have more love to give, more room to share, and more adventures to take - why wouldn't we explore adoption?

So, there you are...or rather, here we are.  Looking forward to using this platform to keep track of our adventures to come!

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Heart is Full

The gifts have been opened, the mess (mostly) cleaned up, the newness has worn off of the presents and the season, but my heart remains full.  We have had such a wonderful time making memories, doing the mundane, getting excited, and just being together.  We are blessed with so much.  We are healthy, happy, and can openly give thanks to the most amazing God who provides.  He provides the little and the big, the exciting and the ordinary, the wonderful and the difficult.  I am learning how to give thanks for it all, in the moment.

I have been reading "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are" by Ann Voskamp.  I struggle to find the words to adequately express what her writing evokes in me.  By the end of chapter 1 I was online ordering copies for women who are important to me.  I am learning to revel in the now, no matter what the now entails or what "then" has wrought.

Right now, my heart is full to bursting with the amazing gift of family.  My kids, my husband, my brothers, my mom, the in-laws that I count as my own...I am truly blessed.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Reading a few insightful blog posts by great women, I thought about my own blogging efforts and cringed at the fact that I haven't posted in months and before that it was only sporadically.

I could point to our three small children, a husband who travels for work, the house I can't seem to keep clean, the ever-present laundry in need of washing, the dishes that never seem to all be washed, any number of things that keep me from posting. The reality is that I have not made it a priority, kind of like sewing and photography. These are things I enjoy doing, but have not made time to keep up with. In fact I have not really made much of the things that make me happy (aside from my husband and children) a priority.

It took reading a post by Stephanie at Adventures in Babywearing to put words to my state of mind. The comments to the post were just as impactful to me. Apparently there are a lot of 34 year old women out there feeling the same way!

I have just been in a funk. I haven't sewn in months. I recently realized that for over two months I didn't take pictures on anything but my phone. I started the year off exercising regularly, but then cold and flu season hit and it seemed like someone always had a fever and couldn't be dropped off at the childcare center in the gym. I managed to indulge fairly regularly in escapism through my love of books (I am now addicted to audiobooks and ebooks), but aside from that I have been absent from the "me" side of life. After all, I started this blog as an outlet for me...a place to rant, ramble, share, question, and explore.

I have realized that I need an outlet for me in order tone a good wife and mother. I become cranky and irritable when I haven't even been able to shower or go to the bathroom alone for days on end. I lose sight of the wonderful personalities my kids have when it feels like I am a referee from the moment they wake until they finally fall asleep at night. I can't appreciate their sweet voices when I am constantly raising my own to be heard over the whining, fighting, and boisterous playing (not to mention the baby crying). I cannot savor their hugs, which will all too soon be less freely given, when I feel touched-out by on-demand nursing, co-sleeping, and constant tugging on my shirt to get my ever-divided attention.

I love being a mother, a wife, and a homemaker. Ten years ago I couldn't imagine myself as any of those things, but I truly believe these roles are ones that God intended for me. However, knowing that I am on the right paths doesn't mean that I always feel warm and fuzzy about it. As a recovering type-A personality it often makes me insane that I can't do it all perfectly all the time. I get frustrated and overwhelmed. I feel inadequate. I can't see the forest for the trees. I miss the beauty and wonder of life by focusing so much on comparatively small things.

The past year has been a journey for my faith and marriage. I feel like I am reengaging in my life. I have started taking my camera places again (even if it is just the backyard). I have scheduled time with my husband (yes we are nerds and need to have things on a virtual calendar in order to accomplish them) when he will cover the kids while I spend some time in my mom cave sewing. The dawning separation anxiety of my 8-month-old means that time for yoga classes and regular workouts may still be difficult, but I understand how important it is for me to take that time when possible. Luckily the women who work in the nursery at the gym are wonderful and really try to make it work.

It won't be perfect for I am far from that, but I will find pieces of me in the semi-chaos that is life with three small children. My husband is an advocate for my time when I ask for it. He understands far better than I the need for an outlet and time for oneself. I need to set aside the mommy guilt and take some time for myself to make me a better wife and mother. God, help me do just that!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Matter of Survival

This week has been dubbed International Babywearing Week. In light of the recent recalls of unsafe bag slings and the resulting CPSC warning about slings it is imperative that we not only celebrate babywearing, but call attention to the myriad benefits to SAFE use of baby carriers.

I was first introduced to slings when my oldest child was a colicky infant, my husband traveled for work a lot, and I was in law school. I only wish I had discovered slings sooner! Wearing my daughter was one of the only ways we could soothe her. I would have been much happier the first couple months of her life had I been aware of babywearing.

Babywearing has had a tremendous impact on the way we parent (yes, I said "we" because my husband is a total convert and has worn all three of our kiddos). We are more connected to our kids, were less stressed because we could respond quickly to their needs while...gasp...accomplishing other things like cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping, and felt less overwhelmed once the second and third kiddo came along because we could keep the littlest one close while still tending to older siblings. I am more confident getting out and about because the baby is content in the carrier. We can also venture to places that are not particularly stroller friendly like the pumpkin patch or small stores. We have been able to attend events we may not otherwise have attended when we had an infant (ex. Christmas party) since I exclusively breastfeed for a while. People are less likely to touch my infant without permission since she is attached to my chest.

The frustrating thing about recalls of many carriers is that the carriers themselves were often not defective, nor were they poorly designed (aside from the Infantino bag-style slings). The sometimes tragic events were the result of user error. The vast majority of carriers on the market are absolutely safe when used as instructed.

Recently baby carrier manufacturers, retailers, and advocates have joined together to form the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance. The BCIA is working with the American Society for Testing Materials to create a voluntary standard for sling-style carriers. Creating a standard for these carriers will hopefully discourage the CPSC from painting all carriers/manufacturers with a broad brush, thus maligning perfectly safe carriers in the event that one particular carrier is found to be unsafe and/or in violation of this standard.

This standard will not only protect consumers from unsafe products like the Infantino SlingRider, but will protect manufacturers (big and small) from ill advised recalls or poorly researched warnings. As the BCIA website points out, "without quality standards written in a way to be achievable to small home businesses, (the baby carrier) industry stands in grave regulatory danger." For more information visit BCIA online and on Facebook.

To read more about babywearing and how it has impacted people's parenting visit Steph's call to action at Adventures in Babywearing.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The baby(wearing) frame of mind...

As my due date quickly approaches (and I progress further beyond the point at which my first two were born...ugh), I am in nesting mode. With the help of my mother during her visit a few weeks ago and the understanding of my husband, I have been washing, folding, stacking, organizing, stockpiling, cleaning, arranging, installing and planning.

It began months ago with bigger purchases (an extra dresser to house the baby's clothes and provide a changing table in our bedroom, a glider for our baby nook, an awesome swing at a consignment sale, etc.), but years ago with the basics we used for our first two kiddos. Within a couple months of Katherine's birth I began a collection that continues to grow to this day. Anyone who knows me well knows about my obsession with baby carriers. It began with a couple of homemade ring slings made in desperation to (hopefully) calm an extremely colicky newborn. Katherine and I took to babywearing like ducks to water and even got daddy on board and involved Grandma and Uncle Lucas when they were visiting! What followed over the next five years was truly a lifestyle change. It began with the addition of the Baby Bjorn (which we used, but later sold at a garage sale when we moved on to better options), a pouch-style Hotsling, an Ergo Carrier (which my husband still loves), mei tai's from several people on Etsy, ring slings from two wonderful women with home-based businesses and an online presence ( and, and the Beco Butterfly.

For our newest little one I have my eye on the Boba Baby Carrier. I have heard great things about these carriers! I love the soft structured carrier style and the buckles make putting them on a breeze. I love that the Boba comes in an organic style made in the USA. One thing that sets Boba apart from the other soft structured carriers seems to be the option to use foot straps to add leg support for your little one, encouraging a healthier hip and pelvis position (the main reason we moved away from the Bjorn). An added bonus: the absolutely adorable Organic Boba in the Tweet pattern they have right now! That has to be one of the most adorable patterns out there.

Right now you can win a Boba Baby Carrier by entering several online contests. One of my favorite momma review blogs, Momma In Flip Flops 2 is blessing readers with one of these awesome carriers. A cool blog I just stumbled upon, Familylicious Reviews & Giveaways is also giving away a Boba to one lucky winner. Selfishly, I hope I win one!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I feel like the last couple of weeks have been spent in complete limbo. I am now 38 weeks pregnant. I have passed the point at which Katherine was born (37 weeks 2 days), but not yet reached the point at which Jack was born (38 weeks 4 days). I feel huge although I know it could be worse. I am tired, uncomfortable, grumpy, and emotional. I am accomplishing less and less around the house as a result of how I feel and relying more and more on James to pick up the slack. All of this makes me feel guilty and selfish. I can't imagine feeling this way and having to get the family ready and go to a full-time job outside the home every day. I can't imagine doing this without the support of my husband (I get even more emotional thinking of the women whose husbands are overseas serving our military while they are at home doing this somewhat alone). I can't even remotely imagine how women work on farms or in other jobs involving intense physical labor.

I feel like I should be able to do it all, but all I want to do is take a nap or a shower or hide from the world and do nothing. I wish I had more patience and stamina to get on the floor and play or do activities with the kids. I wish I had the brain power and physical ability to keep on top of household things like cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. I wish I had the emotional reserve to support my husband completely in his interests and activities. I wish I had the focus to be the kind of friend I want to be. Right now I just don't. I can only pray that God and the people who are important to me find it in themselves to extend grace in the face of my inadequacies and love be in spite of the burdens I place upon them.

To my children: I am sorry for my short fuse, less hands-on playtime, and so much tv time (although I don't think you guys would complain about that). To my wonderful husband: thank you for adjusting your expectations of me and picking up the slack where you can. To my family and friends: thank you for not judging my less than clean house, my poor communication, or my MIA status. Most of all, God - thank you for loving me no matter what and making the ultimate sacrifice for us all so that we are forgiven.