31 Days of Infant Photos and Musings: Swimming


You know what I don’t love?




You people act like it’s fun, but I don’t get it. You get blazing hot in the sun, which is so bright you need glasses to protect your eyes. Then, just when your skin feels like it’s going to melt off your bones, you jump in a pool of cold water, and you laugh and call this vacation.

You know what’s vacation?

Staying in a temperature regulated room and sleeping, then waking up to be fed before going back to sleep. That’s fun.

Staying cozy against your mom’s chest.



That’s fun. That’s a vacation.

If you aren’t doing those things, then you aren’t on vacation.

All this to say – I didn’t enjoy my first dip in the pool. And I let the family unit know just how not fun that experience was for me.

31DaysmdThis month, I’m linking up with The Nester for this 31 Day series as I survive the newborn haze of sleepless nights, endless nursing, and squeezing in life in twenty minute increments throughout the day. If you want to receive the posts directly in your email inbox, just leave your email address in the box on the sidebar, and subscribe so you don’t miss a post!

I’ll share photos every day, some of them good, and some of them mediocre, because baby leaves me little time to worry about taking and editing the perfect photos.

I’ll also be sharing my daughter’s thoughts, as dictated to me telepathically while she nurses, because she has informed me that she is a mind ninja, and I am merely her portal to the outside world.

Her words, not mine.


Annika Rachel: A Birth Story

It’s probably too early for me to attempt to put into writing the events of the day of Annika’s birth, but while it all still feels so fresh, I’m going to give it a try. Anni1

In some ways, I wish we had better documented the day, but a part of me is content to keep those moments a sacred memory. This birth was different in a lot of ways from my other children’s, and I’m glad. The fourth child deserves a unique story, doesn’t she?

My first three children were all born in the hospital. I’ve always chosen to give birth naturally, not because I’m strong or brave, but because I’m scared of needles and the epidural literally sends me into spasms of fear just thinking about it. I’m that annoying girl who gets dizzy every time she gets her blood drawn. Nurses love me.

I also have always had the benefit of having very, very quick labors. My longest labor before Annika was 5 hours. Apparently I was made to birth babies.


This time around we decided to give birth at a birth center with the assistance of a midwife. Since moving to Florida, I haven’t found an OB that I like, and because I’d never needed much medical assistance anyway, this route just made sense to us.

It was such a unique experience to give birth in the birth center. Lee and I were really left alone for most of the labor, which allowed me space to work through the pain on my own time and in my own way. I liked this freedom, and the atmosphere was so quiet and peaceful and serene that I almost felt like we were in a fancy hotel room.


And the fact that we got to go home just four hours after she was born was such a blessing. As we drove home that evening, Lee looked at me and said, “I’ve had rounds of golf that lasted longer than that!”

Around 1:00 am the night before she was born, my contractions started. They were manageable, and not really all that painful, but they were strong enough to keep me up. I also felt almost certain that my water had broken, so I spent much of that night preparing myself to welcome our baby soon. Because labor has gone so quickly for me in the past, I was given strict instructions not to wait too long before calling the birth center.


No one wanted to see me deliver this kid on the side of the road.

Around 5:00, I decided that the contractions, though still not very painful, were regular enough to warrant a phone call. We were told to meet at the birth center at 7:00, so we called my mom, woke the kids, and told them that they’d have a baby sister by the end of the day.

That was so much fun. It was awesome to see their excitement as it only fueled our own.

Fast forward three hours, and we returned home from the birth center…without a baby. I was in tears, frustrated and embarrassed that after doing this three times before, my body seemed to be completely unresponsive to labor this time around. I wasn’t dilated, my contractions had slowed considerably, my water actually had not broken, and the baby was not laying in an optimal position, which was probably the cause of the hold up. Her head wasn’t centered, so she wasn’t moving down like she needed to.

This was so different from anything I’d ever experienced and it threw me off a little. So I went to bed and took a nap, still hoping that we could ramp things back up later.

When the kids got home from school they were naturally disappointed that I hadn’t had the baby, but while they played around me, I felt the contractions kick back up and, true to form, they started to come fast. This time I knew it was for real, and we rushed back to the birth center, arriving even before the on-call midwife.

I was 5 cm dilated at that point, and things happened very quick. Within two hours, it was go-time, and after only six minutes of intense pushing (because my labors happen so quickly, I often describe them as violent. I go from nothing to BABY in a flash, and the pain goes from a 4 on the pain scale to a 52 in seconds), Annika made her debut.

At 4:32, the midwife laid Annika Rachel on my chest I had the same intense feeling that I had with all my kids:

I knew her.

Her face was so familiar to me, and not just because she looks exactly like Tia did at birth, but because it’s as though she has always been here. I think God does that on purpose. He leaves this tiny impression of our children on our hearts long before giving them to us so that when we finally hold them, it just feels perfectly right.

I feel like I’ve known this little girl all my life.


We are one week in, and things are going relatively smoothly. I forgot how much work newborns are, which has been an adjustment. But other than feeling like I can’t get anything done, things are moving right along. She could not be more loved or cherished by her brothers and sister. To be sure, she is a blessed little girl.

I will hold tight to the memories of September 22, 2014 for the rest of my life, filing them away in my heart next to the births of my other three children. What a privilege it is to be the mother of these four spectacular little humans. I am truly in awe of this calling placed before me.

Blue Tastes Like Blueberries


I pulled out the manila folder, frayed around the edges. A 4th grade boy cannot be expected to use a paper folder for an entire year and keep it fresh, after all.

Stuffed full, I opened it up and picked up the first piece of paper lying on top. The title:


The first three lines of his descriptive poem gave me chills. They were so simple, written from the perspective of a boy who’d been told to describe the color blue to someone who was blind.

Blue is the color of the water in the ocean.

Blue is the color of the sky high above your head.

Blue tastes like blueberries.

The descriptions were rich, and I haven’t been able to eat a blueberry since I read his words without thinking that they taste like the color blue.

Like any mother, I am my children’s biggest cheerleader. I see their potential faster and more vibrantly than any other person. I know exactly how they’re bent, where they are strong, and where they are weak.

I can also be their biggest critic. I see wasted potential, and I feel as though I must draw it out of them or risk some sort of unspoken failure. I see their natural sin patterns, and I cringe when they rear their ugly heads in public.

Sometimes, though, these children of mine surprise me entirely. I knew my oldest to be creative and imaginative, but he tends to stifle it, especially as he gets older, and I forgot. 

I forgot that he has a knack for words. I don’t know how I forgot, because he uses a lot of words day in and day out.

Some skills are so obvious. Athletic ability is a skill that doesn’t hide. An athletic child spends his days in pursuit of his passion. I have two athletic children. I know exactly where they stand in their abilities because one is constantly upside down, or flipping off of jungle gyms, while the other goes nowhere without a ball in his hand.

But the creative child? They can be harder to pin down. Some creative children are easy to spot. They spend their days in make believe, costumes the uniform that gets them from sun up to sun down. Other creative children, however, tend to let their creativity bubble beneath the surface. But it’s there. You just might have to prompt it out of them.

Describe the color blue to someone who has never seen it.

Blue tastes like blueberries.

The brilliance in that simple line is all one needs to draw a visual. Sweet, refreshing, blue.

Are you a writer looking for inspiration? Watch your children. Soak in their natural creativity. Ask them to describe the color blue and see what they come up with.

It just might inspire a little creativity of your own.

In any case, you may find yourself with a craving for blueberries and a new found admiration for your child’s imagination.

Happy Monday, and Happy Creating!

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