Showing posts with label motherhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label motherhood. Show all posts

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Gift of an Ordinary Day

 “...there is no such thing as a charmed life, not for any of us, no matter where we live or how mindfully we attend to the tasks at hand. But there are charmed moments, all the time, in every life and in every day, if we are only awake enough to experience them when they come and wise enough to appreciate them.” 
 Katrina Kenison, The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir

Thursday, July 19, 2012

wherever you are...

I wanted you more than you ever will know,
so I sent love to follow wherever you go.

It's high as you wish.  It's quick as an elf.
You'll never outgrow it... it stretches itself!

So climb any mountain...
climb up to the sky!
My love will find you.
My love can fly!

Make a big splash! Go out on a limb!
My love will find you. My love can swim!

It never gets lost, never fades, never ends...
if you're working...
or playing...
or sitting with friends.

You can dance 'til you're dizzy...
paint 'til you're blue...
there's no place, not one,
that my love can't find you.

and if someday you're lonely,
or someday you're sad,
or you strike out at baseball,
or think you've been bad...

just lift up your face, feel the wind in your hair.
that's me, my sweet baby, my love is right there.

In the green of the grass... in the smell of the sea...
in the clouds floating by... at the top of a tree... 
in the sound crickets make at the end of the day...

"you are loved.  You are loved. You are loved," they all say.

My love is so high, and so wide and so deep, it's always right there, 
even when you're asleep.

So hold your head high and don't be afraid
to march to the front of your own parade.
If you're still my small babe or 
you're all the way grown,
my promise to you is you're never alone.

You are my angel, my darling, my star... 
and my love will find you,
wherever you are.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy After Giving Birth

I know... haven't posted in awhile.  I'm a slacker.  Anyone out there missing me?  Reading this?  (crickets).  I thought so.
Anyways, if anyone is still out there I read this and laughed and laughed and maybe cried a little bit.  Ha.  I love how she puts it.  HONEST.  and yes I experienced ALL 10 of these... both times!

(warning: some explicit language, but totally worth the read)

Happily After Giving Birth – 10 Things They Don't Tell You

You know in the movies when the woman gives birth and they hand her a perfect, clean 3-month old movie baby? The husband puts his arm around her and they gaze lovingly into each others eyes? Ahhhh, the end. Well, here are just a few of things that can happen after the credits roll. Most of them aren't movie friendly so sadly, the don't get discussed unless you have really good friends that let you in on these little secrets. Not all of them happen to everybody but, chances are, one or more will be added to your new role as motherhood so don't be alarmed.
1. You will have a really heavy period. No matter how you give birth (c-section or va-j-j) you will have postpartum bleeding. This delightful discharge is called lochia and it sounds about as appealing as it is. It lasts as little as two to three weeks or as long as six weeks after birth. The best part is you're given giant, thunderpads in the hospital because you can't use tampons during this time (it can introduce bacteria into your healing uterus) so you have the added pleasure of feeling like a 15-year old girl from 1974.
2. Your crotch might be a mess. You may be dealing with a swollen, stitched up mighty mess that even Stephen King couldn't dream up. There are a variety of elixirs and contraptions to help ease the horror including sits baths, frozen bags of peas and a little water bottle that you squirt on yourself while you pee. In my experience I've found that it's best not to look – it was actually worse than I thought it would be. Dear God so bad.

3. You're still fat. You will need clothes after you've had this kid because you'll be sort of second trimester doughy for a while. This is yet another reason I hate those damn model asshats that are wafer thin 10 minutes after they've given birth because it isn't realistic. Everything is very different when you've had your tummy tuck during your elective c-section and you can hand your baby off to a nanny and have a personal trainer up in your face everyday. Pilates and brown rice my ass. Stupid starlets. Except Heidi Klum. I love Heidi Klum and that bitch earned her wings.

4. You might cry. A. LOT. Some women get off really easy with this one and don't ride the hormonal roller coaster after they've had a baby and to them I say "lucky, lucky whore". It doesn't help that it can run the gamut from absolutely nothing to full blown post partum depression so not everyone is sympathetic if you have the Niagara Falls boo hoos if they didn't. The other tricky thing is that you might not recognize how bad it was until you're out of it. It's best to have people that actually know you keep an eye on this one. If they tell you that you're losing it, you probably are so listen to them and go see your doctor. Nobody wins if you're miserable.

5. Your hair might fall out. I know. Don't you feel pretty now? So here you are all post partum and doughy and to add insult to injury you might start losing some of your hair. Here you were all excited about your luscious locks while you were pregnant, well, sorry Cinderella but the party is over and the hair fairy wants her glass slippers back. This is one of those wonderful hormone side effects that can come with giving birth. At least there will be less to worry about when pulling your hair up into your new-mom crack-ponytail.

6. Breastfeeding might be difficult. If you choose to breastfeed your baby, be prepared for a little bit of work. Not everybody has a smooth ride (me included) and it can be anything the soft, bonding vignettes they plaster all over "Breast is Best" pamphlets. The good news is once you're over the hump it's pretty maintenance free and you can never forget your baby's lunch on the counter. If you have an easy time of it, awesome! Don't brag though, you're liable to be beaten to death with Bugaboo strollers by hormonal mothers in the park.

7. You might hate your husband. I have two theories of nature. One, babies look like their fathers when they are born so the father is reassured that the baby is his and won't take off. Two, nature takes care of you not conceiving right after giving birth by making you want to punch in his face every time you see him. Again, it's probably hormone related. Again, this isn't always the case but I'm just warning you that you might stare at his peaceful sleeping face at 2am and wonder what the hell the point of him is and how can that son of a bitch just lie there sleeping like while you try to get your baby to sleep for the umpteenth time. You're not alone and a jury full of mothers with newborns wouldn't convict you if you bludgeoned him to death with a breast pump. That said, he may be worth keeping around so take a deep breath and ignore the urge......for now.

8. You might be hot. No, not good hot. Gross, sweaty, fat man hot. Thank your hormones. Once again they may be to blame for giving you hot flashes and making feel like a high-noon whore. Nothing says sexy like a woman with 20lbs of extra baby weight, who's losing her hair and walking around like she just ran for a bus. I'm adding that to my theory of nature's birth control along with number 7.

9. Hard boobs. You know those crazy porn boobs you see on some women that are just gigantic and don't move? No? Well, try skipping a feeding while you're nursing and you'll have a pretty good idea what that's like. It sounds cool but it isn't so don't add stripper heels to your registry....well, not for this reason anyway.

10. Pooing is scary. I saved the best for last, no? No matter what exit your baby used, your BM equipment is close by and you'll have to use it eventually. I think the phrase "tentative terror" best sums up this act and may I suggest picking out extra names because you're going to want to name your first poop after you take such tender care bringing into the world. Gross? Sorry. Fact? Yep.

    Haven't I painted a pretty picture here? Aren't you looking forward to all the treats that come with motherhood? Well, thankfully, not all of them happen to everybody and you (and everyone around you) will be so focused on the new little person that you'll have little time or energy to worry about much else. And hey, who cares, you made a person. A whole person. It doesn't matter if you're a surly, bald, sweaty garden slug for a while, you just performed a miracle so unless you're booked to walk the runway in your underpants in two weeks, don't worry about it and tell anybody who says otherwise to eat shit. Hey, you can always blame it on your hormones.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012


    The day my first baby girl was placed on my chest was the beginning of something new for me.  My world changed in one moment.  I was no longer a girl but a mother.  A title I would carry for the rest of my life.  What I have learned as a mother is some days are hard, some moments are more tender than I could have ever imagined and the feeling of your child in your arms and their breath on your cheek is irreplaceable.  I am honored to be apart of this exclusive club called motherhood.
    Now after almost three years since my first mothers day I am in awe of the magnitude of my calling.  Each day I look for ways inwardly, from heaven and from others to help me be a better mother and fulfill my roll to the best of my abilities.  Luckily, I am surrounded by amazing women who thrive in their rolls as mothers and each day strive to be better mothers, sisters, neighbors, friends and daughters of their heavenly father.  I am blessed beyond measure to know each of these women and call them my friends.  Everyday I thank the Lord that Joe and I had open hearts and minds and listened to the strong promptings to move here, in this little blue house, surrounded by people who not only have the title of neighbors but who have also become family.

    Happy Mothers Day.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    there is nothing wrong with being a mother.

    It is one tough job being a mom.  Some may even look at it as dull, repetitive, mundane.  Breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, runny noses, scraped knees, joy, heartache, laughter, sacrafice and love that is beyond your wildest dreams.  However, take pride in what you do.  Your baby may not become an olympian or doctor but if she turns out to be another wonderful mother, you have done something right. The Lord has given us a divine job and we as mother are here to make a difference.  Stand tall, because we can move mountains.

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

    starting over.

    Do you ever wish you could start over?
    I know it is cliche to say but things are just moving so fast.
    I watch some of my dear friends pregnant and full of excitement for their first baby
    and can't help but feel a twinge of jealousy...
     I will never have that again.
    I keep telling Joe I wish we could have genevieve and fin all over again...
    he looks at me like I'm crazy.  probably am.

    Now I find my time nursing Finley is winding down
    and another chapter will soon come to a close.
    Breast feeding is just like pregnancy and birth...
    you cannot know the amazing blessings and hardships that come with it
    until you have experienced it for yourself.
    Feeding my baby hasn't been the easiest thing for me,
    but I continue to persevere because I love him. 

    Each day I look forward to the moments I get to sit in Finley's quiet room, sun streaming through the window, baby in arm, listening to soft and steady gulping. 
     Something only I can do, and only Fin and I share.
    Someday I hope his wife will read these words as she rocks and nurses her babe, my gran-baby, and relishes in this amazing experience that only a mother can give her child.
    Something Finley will never understand.

    It is true we cannot start over but we can stop and enjoy
    those gulping noses or the eyes heavy with sleep
    snaggle tooth smiles and soft baby skin.
    Motherhood isn't easy,
     but just like anything in this world,
    the things you have to work hardest for are worth having.

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Suck It! The REAL Way To Prep For Breastfeeding

    I couldn't help it, I had to post this.  Those who have nursed a baby or two or three etc. etc. can SO relate.  Those who haven't, I apologize.

    The REAL Way to Prepare for Breastfeeding.
    Day 1
    Gently rub your nipples with sandpaper.
    Day 2
    At bedtime set your alarm clock to go off every two hours. Each time it rings, spend 20 minutes sitting in a rocking chair with your nipples clamped by a pair of chip clips.
    Day 3
    Draw branching lines all over your chest with a blue-green marker, then stand in front of your bathroom mirror and sing "I Feel Pretty."
    Day 4 
    Open your already-crowded freezer and make room for five dozen plastic milk bags.
    Day 5
    Fit the hose of a vacuum cleaner over one breast and set on "medium pile." Turn off vacuum when nipple is three inches long. Switch breasts.
    Day 6
    Obtain "DO NOT CROSS" tape from your local police station, then wrap firmly around your chest. When your spouse asks about it, say, "Get used to it."
    Day 7
    Tape a water balloon to each breast and squeeze into a maternity bra. Repeatedly hook and unhook the nursing flaps with one hand while using the other to balance a sack of squirming puppies.
    Day 8
    Dine in the fanciest, snootiest restaurant you can afford, making sure to arrive with a big wet spot directly over each nipple.
    Day 9
    Record your mother proclaiming, "Just give the baby some cereal like God intended, and she'll sleep right through the night." Play in an endless loop at 1 a.m., 3 a.m., and 5 a.m.
    Day 10
    Slather your breasts with peanut butter, top with birdseed and stand very still in your backyard.
    Day 11
    Go someplace public -- a museum, a courthouse, the steps of your office building -- and stuff a lifelike baby doll under your shirt. Use the doll's arm to suddenly hike the shirt up past your collar bone. Lower shirt. Feign nonchalant smile.
    Day 12
    Suckle a wolverine.
    Congratulations! You are now ready to nurse a baby. Maybe.
    Melissa Balmain, a freelance writer living in Blacksburg, Virginia, is a two-baby nursing veteran.

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Monday, January 30, 2012

    words to live by

    "Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world"

    Thursday, January 19, 2012


    If only I could have written this... she took the words right out of my mouth.  It is SO WORTH THE READ.
    "Don't Carpe Diem"
    by Glennon Melton
    Every time I'm out with my kids -- this seems to happen:
    An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, "Oh, Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast."
    Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy everysecond, etc, etc, etc.
    I know that this message is right and good. But, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn't work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life - while I'm raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I'm not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I'm doing something wrong.
    I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.
    And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers -- "ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU'LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN'T!" TRUST US!! IT'LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!" -- those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.
    Now. I'm not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. These are wonderful ladies. Monkees, probably. But last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: "Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast."
    At that particular moment, Amma had arranged one of the new bras I was buying on top of her sweater and was sucking a lollipop that she must have found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn't find Chase anywhere, and Tish was grabbing the pen on the credit card swiper thing WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, "Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you."
    That's not exactly what I wanted to say, though.
    There was a famous writer who, when asked if he loved writing, replied, "No. but I love having written." What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, "Are you sure? Are you sure you don't mean you love having parented?"
    I love having written. And I love having parented. My favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to sleep (to bed) and Craig and I sink into the couch to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least.
    Every time I write a post like this, I get emails suggesting that I'm being negative. I have received this particular message four or five times -- G, if you can't handle the three you have, why do you want a fourth?
    That one always stings, and I don't think it's quite fair. Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it's hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she's not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn't add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it's so hard means she IS doing it her own way...and she happens to be honest.
    Craig is a software salesman. It's a hard job in this economy. And he comes home each day and talks a little bit about how hard it is. And I don't ever feel the need to suggest that he's not doing it right, or that he's negative for noticing that it's hard, or that maybe he shouldn't even consider taking on more responsibility. And I doubt anybody comes by his office to make sure he's ENJOYING HIMSELF. I doubt his boss peeks in his office and says: "This career goes by so fast...ARE YOU ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT IN THERE, CRAIG???? CARPE DIEM, CRAIG!"
    My point is this. I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn't enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn't in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn't MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I'd wake up and the kids would be gone, and I'd be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.
    But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here's what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:
    "It's helluva hard, isn't it? You're a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She's my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime." And hopefully, every once in a while, I'll add -- "Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up -- I'll have them bring your groceries out."
    Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn't work for me. I can't even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.
    Here's what does work for me:
    There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It's regular time, it's one minute at a time, it's staring down the clock till bedtime time, it's ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it's four screaming minutes in time out time, it's two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.
    Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.
    Like when I actually stop what I'm doing and really look at Tish. I notice how perfectly smooth and brownish her skin is. I notice the perfect curves of her teeny elf mouth and her asianish brown eyes, and I breathe in her soft Tishy smell. In these moments, I see that her mouth is moving but I can't hear her because all I can think is -- This is the first time I've really seen Tish all day, and my God -- she is sobeautiful. Kairos.
    Like when I'm stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I'm haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk. And then I look at my cart and I'm transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles and piles of healthy food I'll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world's mamas would kill for this opportunity. This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay. And I just stare at my cart. At the abundance. The bounty. Thank you, God. Kairos.
    Or when I curl up in my cozy bed with Theo asleep at my feet and Craig asleep by my side and I listen to them both breathing. And for a moment, I think- how did a girl like me get so lucky? To go to bed each night surrounded by this breath, this love, this peace, this warmth? Kairos.
    These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don't remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it.
    If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.
    Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day.
    Good enough for me.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011


    ok, really i debated posting this for a couple reasons...
    my crazy laugh
    the subject matter
    but really it's too funny not to share.
    what would the world be like without ms. genevieve?

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    identity crisis.

    I'm very certain that being a mother is the all time best thing to be....

    As a mother everything is intensified tenfold. You feel happier than your happiest child and sadder than your saddest. You feel the pride of their accomplishments a hundred times more than they do and your heart aches a hundred times more than theirs does. There really is only one word to describe being a mother... AMAZING.

    I found however, that with each of my babies there is a few weeks to months of adjustment after their birth. A shift in the universe. Some of the changes that occur are wonderful and some are difficult. I'm not one who is big on change and so I uncomfortably tread the waters as my family and I try to adjust. I ask on a daily basis "who am I?"  where did "mckenzie" go?  Besides motherhood, what makes me, "me"?  What makes joe and I "us"? It is easy to loose sight of these things when you are elbow deep in diapers. 

    So, I sit here thinking about the wonderful changes that Genevieve and Finley have brought into my life and although some I am much more fond of then others (baby smiles vs. stretch marks) I know that each of my babies are worth it and I would gain a hundred pounds, have stretch marks from head to toe and be as boring as dirt if that is what it took to bring them into this world.  With that said, I am going to try and embrace the sacrifices I have made and remember who I am along the way. 

    Today is the first day I begin on my journey to reclaim "me".  Remember who I am, what I like, what makes me happy and for a few moments each day indulge in something that brings me closer to this goal.  Because years from now I don't want to look back and think would of, could of, should of.  This is the best time of my entire life (so far) and I don't want to have any regrets.  Loosing myself, would be a huge regret.

    so let me introduce myself.
    my name is mckenzie hardy graham
    i love my family more than anything.
    i am suppose to wear glasses.
    but i can't stand them.
    i dislike my brown eyes.
    i hate my freckles.
    i love sweatpants.
    i love dressing up.
    when I'm thin.
    i hate my body.
    but i'm trying to figure this out.
    i love hamburgers, homemade, greasy take out, you name it, I love it.
    i love a good book.
    but haven't read one since genevieve was born.
    i hate mean girls.
    i'm a blog-aholic.
    i love to write.
    i could never go sky diving.
    oreos and milk are my weakness
    i wish we lived in new york.
    or hawaii.
    or kentucky, on a ranch, with horses.
    i graduated from westminster with a bachelor's in developmental psychology.
    i will always regret my degree.
    i want to be a nurse, a midwife, more than anything.
    but don't have the confidence in myself to go for it.
    i love psych classes
    and hate math.
    my thesis paper was sixty something pages long.
    i swam at WX and cheered at Cheerz.
    i love to sew.
    but i'm not very good.
    i love staying home.
    i hate fair weather friends.
    i hate boogers.
    my husband is 6'8, hansom
    the only boy taller than me i ever dated.
    we make cute kids.
    i want four or five of them.
    i really wish i had a sister
    but i'm blessed with wonderful people in my life.
    i crave alone time.
    i have the best job ever staying home with my babies.
    i love fashion.
    but i'm too uncomfortable with myself to wear anything but mens white tshirts.
    i love scarves.
    i hate muffin top.
    i love pinterest.
    i love to travel.
    i love planning parties.
    i'm really good at organizing.
    in fact i get paid to do it.
    i hate messes.
    i love pictures.
    i wish i was a better photographer of my children.
    i hate store mirrors.
    i hate getting ready in the morning.
    in fact i rarely do it.
    i love the gospel.
    i love my neighborhood.
    i love going to church.
    i hate getting ready to go.
    i dislike fighting with kids during sacrament.
    i have major body issues and i hate that.
    i love the country.
    i love the beach.
    i love the mountains
    i love big cities.
    i hate driving.
    i love summer, fall, and spring.
    i hate winter.
    i love birthdays and holidays.
    i really miss feeling good about myself.
    i love laughing,
    like really hard
    and loud.
    i like to be weird
    but find i am less and less the older i get.
    my brothers are my weirder halves.
    my mom is my best friend.
    but she doesn't have a lot of time.
    i love gardening.
    i love the piano.
    but never play it anymore.
    i'm the epitome of low self-esteem.
    i don't want to pass this on to my daughter.
    i love blue eyes.
    because the favorite men in my life have them.
    i want to do immunizations in africa.
    i want to hike the himalayas.
    i want my children to know i did the best i could.
    i want my children to be happy.