Archive of ‘Confessions’ category

Two Months Later

By Natalie

Some days I have it all together and some days I’m not out of my pajamas until a little before noon. Felicity and I have been getting out more which has been great but the more I try to do the more my mom brain gets the best of me. Frankly I always found it ridiculous when people talked about pregnancy brain or mom brain. It always sounded like a sorry excuse for forgetfulness to me. That was until I went to the store recently to buy a vacuum and realized I left my wallet in my purse at home. I forgot to toss it in the diaper bag for this trip. I turned the cart around, put Felicity in the car and cried. Normal.

We ran back home to grab my wallet and back out to get the vacuum. But you didn’t come here to listen to me ramble about my new vacuum. You came here for Felicity updates didn’t you? It’s ok you can be honest. (more…)


From Here On

By Natalie

Now seems as good a time as any for a recap on the last couple months. I’m writing this at the birth center, where we will be welcoming our little girl, having my blood drawn four times over the course of 3 hours for a more conclusive glucose test. Luckily for me I get to pass this time in a more private lounge space on a comfortable couch surrounded by the sound of midwives clicking their sandals down the hallways.

This is what I’ve hoped for when deciding where we would give birth. A place that feels like home surrounded by encouraging women who’s job is to do nothing more than empower the mother I am becoming and create community amongst all us new parents. We’ve been educated here and had the opportunity to share our hopes and fears with others who are due around the same time that we are. It’s provided such comfort as we near the end of this pregnancy.

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First Trimester Recap

By Natalie

15 Weeks

We’ve officially made it to the second trimester.

I wouldn’t say that the first trimester took me by complete surprise. I expected to feel tired and nauseated. What I didn’t expect was the [Squeamish ears turn elsewhere because I’m giving the honest details here.] difficulty I had chewing and swallowing food without gagging. I did not expect how much my gag reflex would come into play with familiar smells like bacon, my spice cabinet and Bingley’s food. I underestimated how exhausting it would be to feel so sick for such a long stretch of time. The transition from the first trimester to the second has been a slow one. “You should be feeling better soon.” Is what everyone told me, but it hasn’t been an overnight change like I’d hoped. (more…)

Blessings

By Natalie

IMG_0574We’re so excited to announce we’re expecting our long awaited dearest little one.

The past year has been extremely difficult for me to write anything meaningful or personal. My personal struggles had been consumed in trying to conceive our first child. I took a big step back from sharing things publicly because what now mattered to me was the support and closeness of family and friends. If it weren’t for their encouragement I wouldn’t have made it through with my head held as high nor would I have seen what God had in store for me during this waiting period. I learned the value of close relationships. Brandon and I became much closer than we already were, supporting one another when the other seemed to wonder what could possibly be the problem. (more…)

About That Stephen King

By Natalie

IMG_0533Growing up if J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was demonic then Stephen King was the devil himself. I’ve had this stigma about him all my life. His books are untouchable. He writes horror, they shouldn’t be read. Until I realized that my goodness I am twenty six years old and I can read whatever I choose.

Don’t worry, I didn’t go straight for It or Carrie because I don’t think they are particularly my cup of tea. Perhaps I’ll read Christine one day simply because that’s my middle name and who doesn’t love a good suspense about a car with a vendetta? Who knows, we’ll see. (more…)

Local Library

By Natalie

Since for the past year I’ve been in the habit of taking Grant to story time at the Library, I’ve fallen in love with just how wonderful a place full of stories can be.

The set up at our library has the children’s area, and books on hold downstairs. Fiction, and nonfiction rest upstairs with dozens of tables and chairs strewn along the length of the windows.

imageTypically I’ll search for the book I’m ready to dive into next at home, and place it on hold. Then I’m able to walk in with G, grab my book, and lead him to the little house made up of storybooks for kids. He steps inside the little house with a couple other tots, all pulling corduroy, and other plush storybook characters out of a basket that sits in the corner.

He usually steps out to present his findings to me, smiling and grunting. He excitedly stumbles back into the little house to see what else he can discover, while I stand there alongside 20 other moms, and nannies watching our littles play.

If you have a little, infant to toddler, and you’re not in the habit of going to story time I have to tell you truthfully that you are missing out. The first time I went Ryder was almost 3, and Grant was 4 months. Little toddler girls ran up to the car seat when I grabbed a bottle to feed Grant, and they could not stop uttering the word Bae-Bee when I placed him on my shoulder to burp him.

These days when we go to story time Grant is happy to get up and run into the middle of the room with the other kiddos while a librarian reads to them. He’ll venture out just far enough to be on the other side of the circle, standing to stare at each woman sitting in front of him until he comes across my face, and senses the recognition. I smile, and say “Hey.” In hushed tone, and he runs to my lap, barreling into me. He’ll sit like that for just a moment until he gets settled, and then he’s right back up to repeat it all over again. It never gets old to see his face light up when he spots me in a room full of other women and children. My heart melts every time he joins me for the next song.imageClap your hands *Clap-Clap* Clap your hands *Clap-Clap* Everybody clap your hands *Clap-Clap* Clap your hands, clap your hands, clap your hands, clap your hands, everybody clap your hands. *Clap-Clap*

And then we go into Stomp your feet *Stomp-Stomp* Stomp your feet *Stomp-Stomp* and G really gets into it. Hinging at his knees on the edge of my lap to stomp his heels on the floor.

On the days when I forgot to place a book on hold, but am still yearning for a good read I head up the stairs with Grant in my arms. At the bend in the stairs he points to a painted picture on the wall. “Uhhhah” he moans. “Yes I know Grantsy, it’s a ship in the ocean.” And we stand there for a minute gazing at the blueish watercolor.

Once we hit the top of the steps it’s deadly quiet. I step into an aisle of nonfiction, and G continues his pointing, and “Uhhah” sounds. The area echoed like you would not believe. “I see that book.” I whisper.

He motions toward the window, and points to the trees outside. Making some more babble, when an older woman rounded the corner into our view.

“Well hello.” She whispers. “You must be the one I heard, huh?”

G smiles, and rests his head on my shoulder bashfully.

“Yes, you’re a sweet boy huh?” She smiles, and moves on, and G picks his head up to watch her go.

I snag a book on parenting, or the development of babies, and we make our way downstairs to check out. G sits up on the counter while I scan the books giving my arm a break. I hum our story time tunes as I set him in his car seat and we head back home. He giggles as he looks out the window, kicking his legs in approval of our outing.

Convicted

By Natalie

I want to blame you for everything.

Because forgiveness is just too much work.

I want to blame you for hurting people I love, but that’s not my fight. It’s theirs.

I want to blame you for my struggle with self worth, and acceptance, but then how would I ever learn to love myself?

I want to blame you for making me think that my husband will be done with me one day, just like you were.

But you didn’t tell me that lie did you? Sure you showed me in your actions. But you never told me that. I believed it for myself. I tell myself that lie everyday. And I really really really want to point a finger at you, and demand an apology because you hurt me. But I don’t think that’d all of a sudden change my mind.

Change doesn’t begin with you, but with me. Because I absolutely refuse to be your victim anymore. And I have to continuously tell myself that. Because honestly, I haven’t quite forgiven you yet. I thought maybe I had. But continuing to blame you is not forgiveness. And I want to be forgiving in my life.

I refuse to sit back and wait for Brandon to disappoint me. Because I am haunted by the idea that I would need to apologize to him on my death bed for not trusting him, due to your mistakes. Those were YOUR mistakes. Not his. I pray for a healthy growing marriage, and I’m never going to get anywhere if I continue to blame you. It’s about me now.

So I’m going to try and stop thinking of you as the reason for all my insecurities, and start thinking of you as someone who is in need of compassion, and forgiveness.

Luckily for me my God is not a God of lies. Luckily for me he designed a husband for me who is commited beyond my understanding. And more full of love for me than I ever felt from you.

On Marrying Young

By Natalie

imageI’m not sure I would reccomend marrying young to just anyone. Because it’s definitely not for everyone. It’s not because I regret marrying at nineteen by any means, I just think that we are a rare commodity. I tell people I’m married and their eyebrows go up. “Oh Newlywed huh.” They’ll say. To which I respond. “Actually coming up on four years.” Then their eyes pop, and the jaws literally drop in disbelief. It’s pretty fun to watch. There are so many great benefits to marrying young. For us specifically it’s been an adventure. A bit of a financial roller coaster at first, in which Brandon was working freelance, and we were eating a whole lotta hot dogs for dinner. But then we just kept moving forward. And we’ve grown into responsible tax paying adults together. You see we hopped in the same car, and kept on the same track with the same goal. That’s the benefit to marrying young. To begin adulthood with similar expectations and share the same end goal, enjoying life all along the way.

But Brandon was not your average twenty-one year old guy. And I was no regular nineteen year old girl.

In addition to being madly in love with a man of God, this is why I was ready…

I can’t tell you that I had no childhood. Because I did learn how to ride a bike. Sort of… with training wheels. Ok, you got me. I can’t really ride a bike or swim. Dad gave me a grand total of like two lessons, and I never quite mastered either of those. I did however manage to master climbing the overgrown holly tree in our backyard. I made mud pies by the deck when my mom wasn’t looking. Scarfed down my easy bake oven creations like they were the best dang brownies I’d ever tasted. I played teacher, and house, and the occasional secretary. Who played secretary? Clipboards and all? I had big dreams guys.

So yes, I had a childhood. I remember it being whimsical, and I remember it being fun. But once I hit about eighth grade, I needed to learn to fend for myself. My sisters were working, and mom was working. They weren’t always around to be sure I finished all my homework, or ate my vegetables. Well… I shouldn’t pretend like I was all on my own. Nem definitely completed a few science fair projects for me. And Nadir definitely helped me get through some books I needed to write reports on. But once they moved out I was left making my own dinners, and caring for myself until mom got home late from work. Being raised in a single parent home leaves you fending for yourself… a lot. This is in no way to say that my mom should have been there. Cause guess what? Dad should have been a better man, and been there. Sometimes I wonder if I should write stuff like that and then I decided that I own my stories. I hope people understand that if you want to be spoken of highly, maybe you should treat people better. They shouldn’t have to tiptoe around your words or actions. You should have acted better. Thought about the venom in your words before you spoke them.

I am in no way saying that my mother could have done better. She did perfect. I am who I am today because I had to figure things out for myself. I didn’t have parents to fall back on or mooch off of. I learned to make my own decisions. My own meals. Suffer the consequences of not completing my homework when no one made me do it the night before. Now I realize how many things must have been on my mother’s mind. She wasn’t worried about holding my hand while I finished my algebra. She was too busy figuring out how to put food on the table, and pay rent. She trusted me to be her helper, and fend for myself in the areas I was capable. I can’t wait to have my own children and be faced with the challenges she was able to face alone. How much stronger will she seem to me then when I have Brandon by my side?

If you don’t believe in prayer you haven’t met my family. You haven’t met my sisters, and our husbands that my mom prayed for since we were small. That we would love, and care for husbands who were good men, ones who sought satisfaction in their own wives, and never needed to look any further. It’s amazing to think that my mom prayed for Brandon before I could make logical decisions. Do you realize the importance of that? As a product of her prayer I can tell you I’m eternally grateful. Thanks mom. It worked.

An Open Letter

By Natalie

Today, I’m just going to have to say what’s on my heart.

An open letter to the woman who’s generousity healed a heart.

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Brandi,

Every day I look at Bingley I’m reminded of your compassion. How I want to be a woman who can be that compassionate. To willingly gift something just to cheer someone up.

Bingley is currently sleeping behind me, snoring, stretching out his paw every now and then pressing into my back. He is crazy. He is clingly. He tracks so much water from his bowl. He leaves hair all over the place!!! He pulls his crate mat out of his crate and drags it all over the house, and leaves fluff and thread all over the carpet as he thrashes it around. He jumps into the shower if you leave the bathroom door open because he loves baths! He woofs next to the bed when I want to sleep in, and then when I open my eyes he barks as if I’m unaware that he hasn’t been fed. He gets cranky when we stick our feet under him under the blankets. He is a pillow thief! On the bed, and the couch. He is a 75 lb wild animal in our house.

But Brandi,

He sits for his food, and waits for a command to eat it. He’s great around kids. He’s great with other dogs. He’s protective, and sweet. He loves to cuddle and give kisses. He was there when I received a second subpoena for court. He laid next to me while I had the paper in my hand. Full of anxiety, and fear, and dread.

It’s been a long long road but I think I’m getting there. Getting to the point where I’m not going to allow myself to worry about losing him just yet. There was a moment only a few months ago when our mutual friend Chloe brought me to the pet store. Bingley could pull an 18 wheeler on the harness we had for him, and she urged me to try some different ones. First we tried a gentle leader which immediatey sent fear straight to the pit of my stomach. “This thing is only attached to his muzzle, and neck! No way man, I have no control over him.” Was my only thought. So we tried a different one that sat low on his front legs. With every step I swore I’d see him slip it any second. Other customers walked by with their dogs and my body tightened. Lastly she fit him with a prong collar, loosely resting on his neck until he pulled. This one was working. He walked next to me. He listened to my commands.

Chloe pressed me for my thoughts on the collar but my words were choking my throat. She attempted to reassure me that though it may appear to be menacing, he was perfectly fine. But my mind was somewhere else.

“Natalie what is it?” She said. Then I looked up at her with tears pooling in my eyes.

“You can say it Natalie.” She continued. And then, with a year’s worth of build up I broke. I confessed how terrified I was of losing him. How terrified I was of getting a harness that wouldn’t hold him, or that he would get loose from. And that once again it’d be on me. It would be my fault that he got loose, and I don’t want to live through those consequesnces again. The truth was, this collar was the first one that I’d felt comfortable walking him in. I realized I could finally let go.

As always, thank you for providing me with the chance to face my fears. And while doing so being in the constant companionship of this sweet dog. You’ve made us family.

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Natalie

On Being an Introvert

By Natalie

imageThe more time I spend in Charlotte the more I discover a little bit more about myself. Which is really what we were hoping for with this move. We’ve entered into a week of rainy days, and cloud cover around here and I can’t help but confess that I sort of love it. While mud puddles, and cold, wet feet are absolutely no fun the cold gloom gives me this sense of coziness. I, my good friends, am an introvert. If I could have my way when greeting you for the first time it’d go a little somehing like this…

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You see, I am fond of books, and Netflix binges, and fuzzy socks, and my couch with cozy pilows and blankets. I am fond of keeping my home, my personal space tidy, and inviting. I am fond of my craft room where I’m able to put my creativity to practical use. On a rainy day I want to snuggle up at home. On sunny days I want to go on dog walks in the park, and out for coffee on my own.

imageIt’s who I am, it’s why I’m best understood through writing, and I think I’m ready to stop being ashamed of it, and help others understand their fellow introverts. I’m not lonely, I’m not bored, I’m simply recharging when I wish to stay in.

imageKnow that if you have an introverted friend they are not always going to want to make an event of things, or be around a ton of people. Especially people they’ve never met. But if you have an introverted friend you must be extra special, because if they have deemed you worthy of their time you must be pretty rad.

Now that you have a better understanding of how I happen to be wired here’s some Introvert myths I’m ready to bust.

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I wanted to say “Oh yes Myth 1, and 6, and 10 are all so true.” But really they’re all right on, and you’d do well to take our word for it. Thanks for listening friends, I’ll step off my soap box, put my jammies on, and make myself some hot cocoa now. Cause that’s what I do.

This Introvert is done for the day.

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