Tuesday, August 30, 2016

ten months.


My favorite things:

  • Pulling up on errythang! I even climb Mom while she sits on the floor. 
  • Chatting and making new sounds. I like screeching and gurgling and just generally trying to see what crazy noises I can make while I figure out how to talk. 
  • My friends! I haven't always been the most social baby- I like to observe before I make any commitments. But lately I've been much more interested in other babies and even sharing toys and smiling and offering big, sloppy open mouth kisses!
My least favorite things:
  • When someone takes too long to feed me. I start in with the screeches when I have to wait for food!
  • When Mom leaves me at daycare. I always have a good time, but I hate seeing her walk away and cry every. single. time. 
We've had a lot going on over here. We celebrated Eva turning nine months in Wisconsin and spent some time getting into a new routine when we got back. I'm working temporarily, so Eva started day care and the best I can say is that she hates it a little less every day. She's so much more mobile now and getting into things all over the house. She's more social and chatty with us and she dances and claps.

It feels like almost every day of the last two months has been crammed full of work and events and dates and suddenly I looked down and someone replaced my little, fat, bald baby with a little girl whose wonderful personality is becoming more and more apparent every day. Nothing felt like more of a confirmation of that than my brother and his wife welcoming their baby girl into the world exactly nine months after Eva was born. Holding an hours hold, feather-light newborn and while my daughter sits eating cheez-its, it really sank in just how quickly it flies by. 

Here's a little of what we've been up to this month (and a little bit of last month too, because why not):
She did so well on the flight to Milwaukee! She even earned a pair of wings. 
With her Grandma Rita at her new baby cousin's island themed baby shower.
One of my favorite mama's in the world, my bestie Megan with her little man, Callum. 
Her first time at the coffee shop that started it all for her Mom and Dad!
Meeting her second cousin, who was so interested in helping her and being sweet to her. 
The only thing she liked better than the cat door at Nana's house were the cats that wanted nothing to do with her. 
Grandpa hung a swing in the backyard for her and she LOVED it! 
An Old Fashioned garnished with a cheese curd? The most Wisconsin drink this mama could get her hands on!
Callum teaching Eva all about the finer things; like chocolate ice cream. (In true toddler fashion, after she got a taste and wanted more, Callum looked at her seriously and said, "NO MORE BABY EVA." 
My mom and sister and I have a tradition of getting toe rings at the Wiscinsin State Fair and Eva got to join the tradtion this year! 
Callum and Eva. Best Friends 4 Lyfe. 
Auntie Melissa and Eva make a fine MKE duo.
Just chatting with Grandpa about things like nap time and Cheerios. 
If you're thinking of a good family dog, consider a Great Dane like my mom's puppy Kate. Gentle giant, indeed. 
However, a high chair is not so high for a Great Dane.
Playing on the playground on my old block that I grew up on. 
Just a little timeout with her Uncle Jon. 
In just a few months, it'll be time to welcome another bestie into the world; my oldest friend Erin's baby girl makes her debut this fall! 
Somehow we didn't get any pictures, but Eva got to spend some time with her two cousins, Cain and Noah. This is the aftermath of playing with her boy cousins...
Another day, another Old Fashioned. 
Meeting her brand new cousin, Ruth! 
Two days in the car on the drive home meant lots and lots of Brown Bear. Dare I say, too much Brown Bear? 
A stop in Memphis with Auntie Melissa and Uncle Jason. We weren't even in Memphis a whole hour before she was gnawing on a rib bone!
Back home and helping with chores...  
She'll be walking in no time! 
And finally, I'm lucky to have a sister who is a photographer and got some sweet shots of our bedtime routine, which is a part of the day I love (for lots of reasons!). This is one of my favorite pictures of one of my favorite moments as a Mama.
Photo credit: Yates Photography

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

homeless.


It’s the best way I can describe how I feel right now. We made our way South as I wrote this, the humidity more and more stifling at each stop along our journey. Eva slept and R drove and I was tapping away at the keyboard as the names of cities passed us by.

We were heading back to back to Florida. To the city we call home. Only it’s not really. 

Ever since we moved to Jacksonville, we’ve always known we’d leave. It’s the same with every city we’ve lived in in the last seven years and the same for the city we’re headed to next. We are temporary residents everywhere we go.

Part of the survival tactic of military families, I’m learning, is to be both fully invested as quickly and as fully as you can, always knowing you'll leave in what feels like a moments time. We have to make a new city feel like home almost immediately. And we did in Jax. We found a church and bought a house and met our neighbors and dove headfirst into both our jobs, forging connections with people in each corner of our lives. Then we had a baby, and I found a group of mama’s for support through this chapter. And each new friend is another seed that gets planted and roots us to Jacksonville in another way. And yet, Jacksonville, with all it’s connections and roots we’ve put down, isn’t really home.  

And of course neither is the duty station where we’re headed next. We know it’s our new home, and yet we don’t belong there yet.

And what has been so difficult for me on this trip back to our hometown is that for the first time, neither is Milwaukee. Milwaukee is home base, but it’s no longer home. The ground shifted in the seven years since I’ve been gone and the lives and spaces that I once occupied naturally, I now need to enter back in carefully, so as not to disturb the order of things. We are guests in the homes we grew up in and instead of the ease of organic get-togethers with the people I once spent all my time with, now I have to schedule time with our best friends and our families. Don’t get me wrong, these changes are natural and good. Lives should change and evolve and that’s the way of things. 

But it certainly is bittersweet.

And when you combine the feeling of pulling up roots in our temporary city and not belonging yet in our new city and being a guest in our home city, well, it leaves me feeling…homeless.

As we drove from Milwaukee to Jacksonville, I felt like I was floating. Drifting way above the highway, above the cities, above the country, as I looked down at the map of where our lives have been lived. There below me were apartments and yards and churches and friendships that we had occupied, but we weren’t in any of them anymore. We were just floating. But everyone else was still there, living in their cities and promoting in their jobs and their babies were growing up and going to school together and we were alone, just floating above it all.

And I felt a little panicked. I don’t want floating. I want roots.

And then I looked over to the man sitting next to me, driving highways that crisscrossed the country, together in every chapter since childhood. This man I know so well and who knows me. I looked into the backseat to see our baby girl, her fists balled and limbs heavy, eyes fluttering in sleep, and almost immediately I felt anchored.

He is my home. And now we have a daughter and we are her home. I breathed in. 

My roots run deep here.

He holds my hands when I feel like I'm floating and brings me back down and calms the panic. And I am deeply fortunate that this man is anchored deeper still in Christ.

Because when I look at him and our little family and remember that our faith in Christ is the foundation that we're built on, I remember that I'm not floating after all. I remember that every city and every job and every new friendship and connection is ripe with purpose and meaning. I remember that the roots I put down quickly in a new city only to be pulled up shortly after are not lost, I take them with me, and my life is made richer and fuller and sweeter, despite the bitterness of constant transition.

As we get ready to sell our house in Jacksonville and move this year, I have to remember that I am not homeless. God has given me roots in something much bigger than just a city and a home I take with me every where I go.