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40 by 40

Today, I turn 39.  There is a lot of goodness that comes from aging.  I am not one to fear it or be embarrassed by my age.  But it does make me want to be intentional with my days.  Emily Lex inspired me to make a 40 by 40 list.  So in no particular order, here it is.

  1. Only buy clothes that are exceptional, long lasting and timeless/capsule wardrobe
  2. Sleep in real pjs every night—not T-shirts
  3. Read a book to understand the Enneagram
  4. Begin thinking about writing a book
  5. Take a trip for our 10th anniversary
  6. Read a book a month
  7. Be more intentional about quiet times
  8. Deepen friendships with church community
  9. Try a new fitness class—barre or orange theory?
  10. Move homes for more yard space
  11. Invest in a “third income” property of some sort
  12. Find a way to budget for an original piece of art
  13. Take more weekend naps
  14. Stop relying on benedryl to sleep
  15. Meal plan for a whole month
  16. Figure out how to not wash my hair for 3 days AND not have to use a ponytail on day 3
  17. Find a lip gloss I like
  18. Up my teeth flossing game
  19. Buy family stationary
  20. Reduce my grocery bill
  21. Find a red wine worthy of the designation “house red.”
  22. Figure out how to be a bourbon drinker
  23. Have at least one date a month with Scott
  24. Go downtown for dinner so as not to lose ALL knowledge of what is hip and cool
  25. Take rosemary to the new central library (she has been, I have not)
  26. Cut our refined sugar for a month
  27. Read every day to Rosemary even when she says, “no no.”
  28. Only make amazon purchases once a week (add to the cart and wait to hit “buy”)
  29. Figure out work/life balance
  30. Clean out my home office to reduce the clutter
  31. Clean out my jewelry and make needed repairs
  32. Figure out how to keep citrus trees alive
  33. Create a system for printing photos
  34. Update displayed family pictures
  35. Frame Rosemary’s birth announcement
  36. Catch up on This Is Us
  37. Say “no” more often so I can say “yes” to the good stuff
  38. Eat dinner without the TV on
  39. Discover 5 new music artists
  40. Give more of my homemade bread away

Here’s to having 365 days to get this stuff DONE.

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Surprises about motherhood

You know how young love is dreamy. Where you can’t stop talking or thinking about this new person in your life that makes everything appear like butterflies and rainbows? That’s life with Rosemary. I had no idea it would be like that. I thought we would trudge through the first year or so, bleary-eyed and enduring the hard parts of parenthood. Instead, I am surprised to say that even the hard days are good. It is just such a pleasure to be Rosemary’s mom. To be called Mom. To know her every move and tendency. To dress her and cuddle her. To calm a cry and to get her up in the morning. I just love the whole experience. I did not expect for parenthood to be weighted so heavily towards wonderful.

Coffee turns cold faster than before parenthood.   I don’t know why that happens but I am fine drinking it that way. Now I understand why my sister pounds coffee so fast. There just is not too much time to savor coffee.

I am surprised by how uninterested I am in leaving my house. It’s like this peaceful, happy place where our little family of three simply, peacefully exists. We have everything we need there. Venturing out means preparation and packing. Not much is worth that. I am shocked that I would be that mom. I thought I would be crawling the walls, dragging Rosemary everywhere. We do get out but home is so great.

I love sleep. I need sleep. I think about sleep a lot. And I am getting some sleep. But it surprises me that my favorite time with Rosemary is in the middle of the night. She sleeps through the night a lot but sometimes wakes between 4-5 to eat. She goes right back down. But she is then up early, especially on weekends it seems. But middle of the night and early morning time is by far, the most tender, sweet time with my girl. I don’t mind.

These surprises are sweet reminders that we may think we have things all figured out (I certain think I do) but we really don’t know what each stage will be until we are there. I am grateful for these blessed days. They are not easy days. There are plenty of challenges. But I would not change it for the world.

Oh!  And we have kept Rosemary Drake Buchholtz alive for half a year.  Scott and I are grateful for the help in doing so.  We need all the help we can get.  Happy half, Rosie Drake!

Three months of Rosemary.

Its official.  We have kept a small human alive for an entire quarter.  We feel quite accomplished.  This little girl has captured our hearts completely.  And if fat cheeks and thighs are signs of thriving, this girl is living large.

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Rosemary discovered her hands and eats them with great urgency.  She learned to smile and that melts us. She has quite a lot to say in a language primarily consisting of “oohs” and some growling.  She plays on the floor and grabs hold of loops and shiny things from her activity gym.

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Her best trick is sleeping.  She pretty much sleeps from 7 to 7.  Its like she knew that she could win us over by valuing sleep as much as we do.  She is very advanced…

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And going back to work has actually been okay!  I love work and the time passes so quickly I hardly have time to be sad.  The anticipation of returning was definitely worse than actually doing so.  I felt the prayers of all of you who have prayed for me.  I stare at my phone waiting for a picture to come through while in meetings and I beeline to Rosemary after work, but so far, so good.  Its not easy, but its good.

P.S. Rosemary came home from the hospital in the same outfit she is wearing in these pictures (the monogram came later).  Think she has grown much?

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One month with Rosemary.

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Rosemary Drake Buchholtz made her world debut on October 17, 2016, a month ago today.  She was nine days late, but just a little thing, weighing 6 pounds and 2 ounces.  We went to the hospital on Sunday night, October 16, at 5:00 pm, loaded with movies to watch and a take-out pizza.  We were to spend the night in the hospital for an early morning induction.  I received a medication to prepare my body for delivery at 7 pm and my water broke at 9 pm.  No induction necessary!  Needless to say, we did not watch movies that night.  Thank goodness I did eat pizza before all the excitement started.

By 11 pm I was dilated to a 5 but crawling the walls in pain.  Part of me was hoping I could deliver without medications but I quickly decided against that.  I received an epidural at about 11 pm and another in the middle of the night.  Two for the price of one.  Scott and I both slept some and by about 8 am I was ready to push.  at 10:02 am, Rosemary Drake was born.

Scott counted to 10 approximately 1000 times in those two hours of pushing.  He was brave, peaceful and constant.  The nurses were encouraging and made me feel strong.  My doctor gave me a huge hug after delivery and was such a wonderful cheerleader.  The experience was one I will never forget.

It felt like eternity between the time she was born and when my doctor said, “its a girl!”  I burst into tears, turned to Scott and told him what a good daddy he was going to be to a little girl.  And he is.  They cleaned us both up, took our first family-of-three-pictures and our larger family came in–my dad, mom, sister, and Scott’s sister.  We cried and marveled at her perfection.  I have never seen God’s faithfulness exhibited so clearly as when I held that baby girl in my arms.  And introducing her to those who had prayed so diligently for her was a distinct pleasure.  Holy moments.

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We named her Rosemary mainly because we both agreed on it pretty easily.  Rosemary is used in wedding flowers as a symbol of fidelity and faithfulness.  I come from a family of gardeners and naming her for something that generations of my family has harvested just felt right.  We call her Rosemary and Rosie.  Drake comes from my dad, who was a DJ and newscaster before he went to law school.  Because Gary Thornton was a bit nasal, Dad went by Gary Drake on the radio and television.  Those who knew my dad in college call him Drake.

Because I opted for an epidural, I expected labor to be a fairly passive process. I don’t know what I was thinking, but even with the epidural, turns out, pushing a child out of your body takes a ton of work.  My body hurt from the effort for days.  My voice, my arms, everything.  I have a friend who told me labor (without meds) was similar to a spin class for her. A spin class is much shorter than what I experienced, but the pushing part did feel a little like that. I took it one contraction at a time (hill, song, or effort from a spin class) without looking ahead to the next. It was more manageable that way and helped me feel strong.

I had a fever when Rosemary was born, which meant that both Rosemary and I had to receive antibiotics, which meant time in the NICU for Rosemary–26 hours.  She had an IV in her head.  I went there to nurse her around the clock until she finished her antibiotics and could join me in my room.  Those 26 hours were long.  I got lost in the hospital each and every time I went to the NICU.  They need arrows on the floor for bleery-eyed, directionally challenged people like me.

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We went home on Wednesday and home has never felt so good.  Megan (Aunt Sis) made the best meal of my life: Holiday Spaghetti, Caesar salad and red wine. Heaven.

Rosemary is very kind to us.  By the second day home, she would sleep for a few hours at a time, sometimes longer.  She eats well and as of today, has gained 3 pounds, mainly in her cheeks.  She has her fussy moments, and life is not all happy moments, but it is so, so sweet.

I think what everyone says is true.  The days are long but the years, or in this case, the month, is short.  It doesn’t seem like it has been a whole month.  Scott stayed home from work for two weeks.  He loaded the dishwasher, made coffee, ran errands, helped me get naps, and spent time learning Rosemary.  We loved having him home and he has been a rockstar daddy.  The day we came home, he put Rosemary in the jog stroller (with infant carrier, don’t worry) and took her for a walk.  He puts her to bed, changes diapers, talks to her sweetly and is tender toward her.  I have never loved him more.

Our village of love has supported us well.  Mom/Leelee spent two nights with us and still comes over to help me almost every day.  She made healing food, made me lay low in the first weeks, and cared for me well.  We have binge watched Call The Midwife.  She came into my house, took command of my kitchen, held the fort down, and I didn’t get sick of her.  I am still not.  I can’t imagine becoming a mother without my mother to show me the way.  I call her each day to basically ask when she is coming over.

My sister/Aunt Sis has been a regular and such a huge help.  She runs errands, brings food, dotes on Rosie, buys her the best hats and eats her up.  My dad/Papa comes over most days to remind Rosemary who will spoil her.  We FaceTime with Scott’s mom who comes home from Paris next month.  When nothing fit Rosemary, Bonnie sent little french onesies that fit perfectly.  And of course, a host of additional family and friends have celebrated Rosie’s arrival so richly.  We feel rich in love; my heart is overflowing.

Rosie and I have tried to find routine.  In these groundhog days, I have wanted to reintroduce parts of my pre-Rosie life with intention.  I started to read the lectionary again for my quiet time.  The first time I opened it, I was directed to Psalm 139.  I read it aloud to Rosemary and wept.  “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139: 13-14.  And yesterday’s scripture: ” May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful….”  1 Thes. 5:23-24.  The scriptures are coming alive to me as blessings and instruction to someone I love and feel responsible for forming.  I pray over her and just cry.  I just can’t believe she is ours.

I rock Rosemary in the middle of the night and while sometimes I am simply thinking, “please, please, please go back to sleep,” I am filled with gratitude for having the chance to be this little girl’s momma.  I am grateful that I get to be the one she will want when she is sad, who knows her looks, noises, and preferences, and who gets to teach her about Jesus, how to be kind, and how to be a strong woman.  I am honored to do this along side Scott, who will be her first love, who will teach her how to have high standards and how to change a tire, how to rub some dirt in it and be tough, and who already loves her so well.

God doesn’t give us everything we want.  I don’t know why he answered our prayer for a child and he doesn’t for all people.  I know I have prayers in my heart that he will not answer.  But today, with our Rosemary, he answered so, so richly.

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Jane, Rosie’s oldest cousin, gave Rosemary the redbird in this picture.  It is a sweet reminder of our Meemaw, who loved redbirds.  It’s appearance in monthly pictures will provide a nice measure of Rosie’s growth over the next year.  Meemaw always told us, “we don’t cry over anything buys back.”  And while she meant not to cry over stuff that we lost or that broke, I am reminded by her saying now.  Over the last month, I have cried so many happy tears for a gift that money can’t buy. Praise be to God.