between the crib rails.

Everett-65 I can’t remember when he started kissing us between the crib rails. My first memory of that is tucked somewhere in between winter and spring of this past year. We finished our bedtime routine of teeth brushing and book reading and dropped him into the crib as usual. He sat up on his knees, pressed his face against the crib rails, and said, “pup?”

The kid can say “truck” and “flower” and “cracker” clear as day, but a handful of words require their own Everett-translation, “pup” (kiss) being one of them.

Never the type to turn down kisses, Brett and I knelt down on the floor and brought our faces to meet his. His breath smelled faintly of Thomas the train toothpaste.

After that first night, kissing between the crib rails became part of the regular bedtime routine.

Every night we sit on the floor and yell, “Give us our pups!!” as Everett crawls back and forth in the crib giggling.

“Momma pup?” he says, as I take my turn.

“Daddy pup?” he says, as Brett takes his.

Sometimes he sticks his face in between every space from left to right, all seventeen of them, and we oblige. Back and forth, he presses his face against the cold rails, tiny nose and open mouth barely squeezing through. Sometimes I kiss his mouth, sometimes I kiss his nose. He’s not really picky about where I kiss, so long as my face meets his.

Sometimes he wants us to kiss everything in his crib. He holds up Elmo, and his Curious George doll, his disgusting blue blanket that he carries all over the house.

“Elmo pup?”

“George pup?”

“Gigi (blanket) pup?”

We kiss all of it, everything, every time between the crib rails. Pups for everyone.

***

We bought the toddler bed off Craigslist the same weekend we moved into our new house. A lady was selling it for $80, mattress included, and said it had only been slept on a handful of times. I believed her.

The bed looks good in his big boy room, there is no denying that. Every other room in this house still needs to be put together, but his room has art on the walls and twinkle lights on the teepee and a bright new duvet comforter from IKEA carefully tucked into the sides of the bed.

The bed. The bed where he will soon be sleeping.

Everyone keeps telling me you should keep a toddler in their crib as long as possible. That, so long as they’re not climbing out of it, baby jail is the best thing since sliced bread. And while I believe them, because containment is wonderful when dealing with toddlers who don’t always nap very long, I find myself rattling off Our Plan rather defensively.

We are having a baby in eight weeks! The crib is in the baby’s room! I can’t sleep train two kids at once! This is all part of the Big Brother Transition!

But the truth is: that bed has been set up for weeks and Everett is still sleeping in his crib because I am not ready to give up being kissed between the crib rails.

Forget Everett. Forget Brett. Forget the baby books and mommy blogs and stranger advice.

I am not ready.

I am not ready for this. I am not ready for two kids. I am not ready for my baby to not be a baby anymore, even though I know he isn’t one. I am not ready to have one child in a toddler bed and one child in a crib. I am not ready to let go of this routine, of his toddler breath and slobbery mouth meeting mine in between the crib rails. It feels like the last baby part of him, and I am clinging to it with closed fists like a kid holding a helium balloon in the wind.

Tonight is Everett’s last night sleeping in his crib. Tomorrow we plan to start sleep training in his big boy bed, taking advantage of the three-day weekend. I’m anxious, worried for him and what he will think, concerned he might be scared. I’m worried it will take four hours to get him to fall asleep and that Brett and I will kill each other in the process. I’m worried he won’t nap well. Let’s be real: I’m mostly worried he won’t nap well.

But what I’m feeling the most is simply bittersweet.

So tonight, with eight weeks to go before we become a family of four, in this precious time of transition and in-between, I am going to relish every last ounce of those kisses between the crib rails. I’ll drag it out for thirty minutes if I have to.

Pups for everyone.

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that one time we bought a bed off amazon.

Where My Heart Resides-1 Where My Heart Resides-2 Where My Heart Resides-3 Where My Heart Resides-4 Where My Heart Resides-5 Where My Heart Resides-6 Where My Heart Resides-7As promised, I’m here to report back on the bed we bought from Amazon.

In a nutshell: it’s awesome.

Aside from taking one million years to get here (okay, more like 6-8 weeks), Brett was able to put it together in one afternoon (he’s a stud), and we have been happy ever since. I buy a lot of things off Amazon: books, diapers, beauty products, baby products, Christmas gifts, camera gear, the list goes on and on. They almost always have the best price and I’m a total sucker for free shipping.

But a bed? Who buys a new bed off Amazon?!

This girl. 

Let the bedroom makeover commence.

p.s. We paid $596 so keep your eye on the price, it might drop again. White pinched duvet cover is from Target.
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when you’re having a moment.

where my heart resides-7Like most twenty-something writers in the year 2014, it has been a longtime secret dream of mine to be published on the Huffington Post.

Yesterday, that dream came true. I was officially granted access to the HuffPo circle of trust, and can now publish there anytime I want to. A whole new audience, a whole new opportunity, a whole new platform. I have my own author page and everything.

My post was published in the afternoon, right in the middle of naptime. Naturally, I celebrated in complete silence on the couch, in my sweatpants, eating vanilla ice cream straight out of the carton like the glamorous writer that I am.

It was awesome. 

And as the texts and e-mails and messages poured in from friends and family, I had A Moment. A moment of gut-wrenching, heart-bursting gratitude. A moment of letting every insecurity I have ever felt about myself, my writing, this blog, that blog, my life calling, whatever….float up into the sky like a hot air balloon. I just let it go. I sat on my couch scraping the bottom of the ice cream carton with a cold spoon and mentally thanked God for giving me the words to write. I thanked this country for the freedom of speech. I thanked that girl who told me she read my post out loud at a baby shower and made all the moms cry. I thanked every person who shared that post on Facebook.

And today, I want to thank you. Whether you’ve been reading this blog for five years or five days or five minutes, you have contributed to this tiny moment of success and for that, I am ever thankful. Thank you for reading, for showing up, for making me feel safe while I pour my heart out on the Internet. As cheesy as it sounds, I couldn’t do it without you.

Cheers to chasing dreams, working hard, and above all else: thanking God who made it so.

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the 52 project: 23-31.

52 Project | Where My Heart Resides-1 52 Project | Where My Heart Resides-2 52 Project | Where My Heart Resides-3

52 project-452 project | where my heart resides-1

52 project-1 copy

52 project-352 project-1Where My Heart Resides-3
Confession: I have no idea what week it is. I’m doing my best. At this point, I’m just trying to get to 52 photos by the time New Years rolls around.

Speaking of photography! If you’re local (Sacramento), I’m teaching an iPhone Photography Workshop on Thursday evening in collaboration with The Honey Agency. We’ll be talking about how to take better pictures, the best editing apps, and how to get those photos off your camera roll and into your house on display. There are two classes—one from 5:30-6:30pm and one from 7:00-8:00pm. Would love to see you there!

p.s. The t-shirt Ev is wearing in that last photo is by Wildly Co. and you can support their Kickstarter campaign here. I love love love what Haley and Mike are doing, and think you will too. 

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writing for the in between, learning as we go.

WMHR-2

Welp. Coffee + Crumbs has been up and running for six weeks, and as of today we’ve hit 1.6 million pageviews

In that same time frame, 42 women (!) have sent me writing samples, expressing a desire to write for us. Our Facebook page has grown from 0 likes to more than 1,400 likes and we’ve received over 300 comments on our posts. We’ve even made a whopping $152 off our recommendations page (fist pump!).

And while it’s not all about the numbers, I wanted to share those numbers here, with you, because this blog was the launching pad for Coffee + Crumbs, and I figured if anyone would care about this tiny success, it would be you guys.

I’ve been mostly overwhelmed by all of this, but in the best possible way. When you dream up an idea in the shower and that idea actually becomes somewhat successful rather quickly, it’s validating. And to be perfectly honest—that validation is necessary when you’re seven months pregnant and tired and irritable and lacking motivation in every sense of the word.

We are growing with each essay, each story, each comment that says “me too.” It’s happening organically, and I am grateful for that. I’m learning more about what it means to write about motherhood as a whole, and how difficult it is to do that on the Internet where people are so passionate about the subject. (Also: I’m learning why some websites have comment policies.)

I’m learning what it means to be a writer all over again, what it means to string words together intricately with purpose. I’m learning how to edit, and how to ask people to edit me. I’m learning the beauty of slow writing and slow blogging—the benefit of letting our words settle and breathe, rather than churning out content like popcorn. 

I’m learning how to encourage my writers and how to handle criticism gracefully and how to celebrate the wild success of a team effort. I’m learning that as much as I like to write on my own, I like to write with a team even more.

I’m learning there is a fine line between writing for the mothers-to-be and the mothers-who-already-are; a fine line between scaring pregnant women and sugarcoating reality for the moms living in the trenches. I’m learning that it is virtually impossible for every word of every post to resonate with everyone.

I’m learning that we’re not just writing for the first-time moms or the soon-to-be moms or the struggling moms or the empty nester moms. We’re writing for all of it, for everyone, for all of the in betweens.

Real talk: that is a daunting audience.

I’ve got more than 90 writing samples in my inbox and more than 20 official submissions waiting to be read. I’m trying to pull the best of the best and provide the widest net—essays for this mom and that mom and her over there. I’m trying to find the variety and the balance between the good and the hard and the messy and the beautiful.

And as I do that, these are my three wishes for Coffee + Crumbs:

1) I wish that every post you read resonates with you in some way, even if it’s just one sentence or a handful of words. Even if her story is not your story and her baby is not your baby and her struggle is not your struggle, I hope you can pull some truth from her truth.

2) I wish that every post you read opens your eyes to the reality of one other mother on this planet who has graciously and bravely shared her story with you. I hope that you become a little more aware, a little more open, a little more compassionate, a little more accepting of someone else’s walk.

and

3) I wish that every post you read on Coffee + Crumbs leaves you feeling encouraged. I hope you leave our site feeling more understood, less alone, and slightly more hopeful than you were before you started reading our stories.

Thank you for reading, for being part of our success, and for giving us the one thing we need to keep doing this: a kind and gracious audience.

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