the night before you were born.

where my heart resides

The night before you were born, I stood in the bathroom doorway with a toothbrush in my hand and cried my eyes out.

Just hours earlier, we went out to a fancy dinner and I ate as much as I could possibly fit into my stretched out belly in preparation for the 12-hour fast. We talked about you, of course, and us, and about how life as we knew it was about to change forever. It was the kind of change that I had waited for my whole life—the same change we had prayed for, hoped for, wished for all along. That date night was a gift, you know. One of the (many) pros of having a scheduled c-section is having one last night to prepare yourself for the fact that your entire life is about to turn upside down.

As I brushed my teeth later that night, the reality of what was happening washed over me.

It was our last night as Brett and Ashlee.

The last night of being two, of being married without children, of being us.

And it shook me, deep down in my soul.

All I could do was cry. It was a weird mix of sad and happy, the very definition of bittersweet. My own tears were confused as they streamed down my face. I cried and cried and cried some more, while your daddy wrapped his arms around me and prayed for us. He was calm and collected as always, but I think he was equally terrified.

Twelve hours later, they put you on my chest, and from the instant your skin touched my skin, I knew I couldn’t breathe without you.

To know you is to love you, Everett, and I loved you the second I knew you.

When I saw you for the first time, I knew you were mine. There was no question, no doubt, no regret, no sadness, no confusion, no anything. My body was still cut open on the table, but I had never felt so whole.

From that minute, Ev, I have never looked back. I have never once thought back to the time when daddy and I were just us and wished we were still that way. Not once. I cannot imagine life without you, and I want you to always know that my life improved in every way humanly possible the exact second you entered it.

There are so many things you will never remember about this time. You will never remember life as an only child, and that makes me sad, because these have been two of the most wonderful years of my life.

For two whole years, I have held only you. I have rocked only you to sleep and tickled only you on the carpet and kissed only you goodnight between the crib rails. You’ll never remember sitting in the rocking chair reading books or sitting on the kitchen counter swiping chocolate chips out of the mixing bowl or lying in my lap for Curious George marathons. You’ll never remember all of our mommy and son dates to the zoo and the train museum and the ice cream shop and the park. You’ll never remember your solo bedtime routine or the way I rub lavender baby lotion on your skinny legs after a bath. You’ll never remember how we sing in the car, just you and I, or the way you roll toy cars up and down my tummy while we’re curled up on the couch.

You’ll never remember all these times, these hours, these days filled with enough love to cover the sky.

And it’s okay that you won’t remember them, because I know that I will. I’ll remember them for both of us, and I’ll write down our stories as best as I can as we go along.

And Ev, I want you to know that the night before your brother is born, I will cry. I will cry so, so hard. Because just like the night before you were born was the end of two, the night before your brother is born will be the end of three. And I will be sad and happy and my tears will be confused again and it will be nothing short of bittersweet.

But make no mistake, my sweet boy. You, Everett, were the one who made me a mother.

And nobody will ever, ever replace you.

I love you, Ev.

Posted in be, love | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

a new project!

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 11.38.27 AMFriends! Remember that top-secret project I kept mentioning in weird and mysterious ways? THIS WAS IT.

And it only took me eight months to finish it after coming up with the idea (I rock at productivity these days).

The backstory:

Last November, I was feeling a bit…..bombarded. Bombarded with blogs and online magazines and Pinterest and a hundred other online resources that creeped into my daily routine, and thus, my idea of what life should look like, be like, feel like, etc. It seemed as though every time I turned on my computer, a shiny new website appeared, targeting itself to women—and specifically, women my age.

And as much as I admired and loved those websites, I started to feel like something was missing.

Motherhood.

Real motherhood was missing.

It suddenly felt like a void in the Internet. Where could moms go to read about motherhood in all of its difficult and wonderful glory? Where could moms go to read about topics deeper than nursery decor and postpartum hair loss? Where could–with the exception of personal blogs–moms find real life stories about motherhood?

The more I looked, the more I came up short. And the more I came up short, the more I felt called to do something about it.

I started feeling a desire to create an online place to talk about motherhood in a collaborative, community-oriented way: the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful.

Alas, Coffee + Crumbs was born.

Read the rest of the welcome letter here, and feel free to poke around our about page and manifesto to get a feel for what we’re all about.

I hope you love the idea behind this new space as much as I do. I really believe there is something beautiful and powerful about collecting our warrior stories in one collaborative place. After all, we’re in this motherhood thing together—in beauty and messes, in good times and bad, in peace and chaos, in coffee and crumbs.

Meet you at the table?

p.s. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, follow us on Instagram.
Posted in be | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

the story behind our new ikea dresser.

hemnes--drawer-dresser__0152649_PE311002_S4It was a typical Saturday evening at IKEA.

Crowded, minor chaos, the smell of Swedish meatballs permeating the air. We were on a mission: new bedroom furniture or bust.

I’ve had my eye on the Hemnes dresser ever since it popped up in my Pinterest feed for the 87th time. People are IKEA-hacking the crap out of that thing, but I’m a simple girl—I like it plain just fine.

Also worth mentioning: we’re redecorating our bedroom for the first time in seven years so it’s kind of a big deal. I wore my good maternity shorts and we took a picture and everything.

We toured the entire store, naturally, oohing and aahing over potential purchases for our new house. Corner desk, toddler bed for Ev, bookcases, oh my! I made mental notes of everything I liked and snapped a few photos on my phone to reference later.

Finally we made our way down to the aisle and bin abyss, just in time for Everett to start getting squirmish. I ran out of snacks somewhere around the picture frame department so it was time to get down to business, although I quickly realized that I had forgotten to write down the aisle and bin numbers for the dresser. Rookie mistake.

We ventured over to a computer to look up the product, where we learned there were only three dressers left in the entire store. Not one to waste time, ever, I steered Everett over to the correct aisle while Brett grabbed a big cart.

Ev and I turned into aisle 23, along with another young couple trailing right behind us. All four of us walked up to the correct bin together. I quickly spied the dresser, in white, and realized there was only one left. I had no cart, and each box weighed more than I could lift, so naturally I did what anyone else would do.

I sat on the ground and put my hand on the box.

(Wait, that’s not what you would do?!)

I’ll admit—I panicked. I wanted the dresser, and felt the need to stake my claim on it, but wasn’t exactly sure how to do that. What do animals do to mark their territory? Pee on things? I actually did have to pee (I am pregnant after all), but obviously wasn’t willing to make a scene.

So there I sat, on the ground, with my hands on the dresser, wide eyed like an anxious cat.

The other couple, semi-oblivious, grabbed three boxes of the dresser in the other color, while I sighed a silent sigh of relief. They had just loaded the boxes onto their cart when I heard the girl say, “Wait! This isn’t the white dresser. We want the white one.”

They were standing right next to me, assessing the situation, while I (politely) pretended not to hear them, keeping my hands diligently locked on the boxes.

I heard her husband say, “Ooooh. It looks like there’s only one left.”

Enter: Brett, stage right.

He walked up just in time to hear the poor couple lamenting over the last white dresser, and noticed they already had their boxes on the cart. He whispered, “Babe….I think this couple wants the white dresser.”

A look of betrayal fell over my face.

“SO?!”

Brett whispered again, “So? So we should let them have it. They already loaded the other one.”

I shout-whispered back, “NO BABE. I WAS HERE FIRST. LOOK. I PUT MY HANDS ON THE BOX.”

For the first time, Brett noticed my hands tightly clenched around all three boxes. He gave me another look and asked, “Are you sure you were here first?”

“OF COURSE I AM SURE. How else would my hands have gotten on the box?”

He sighed, and gave the other couple a sympathetic look. They muttered something about hating IKEA and walked away.

Sweet victory was mine.

***

When people ask me about Brett, I tell them that we love each other very much, but we are wired differently. Brett is patient, and kind, and selfless, and generous, and considerate, all of the time.

Me? I am a go-getter—in life, in my tiny self-made career, and apparently, in IKEA.

Sometimes Brett wins and we are really nice to people, and sometimes I win and we walk out of IKEA with a new dresser.

The bottom line: don’t mess with me. I take my bedroom furniture very seriously.

Posted in get | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

it’s a boy!

IMG_3579In case you missed our announcement yesterday, we’re having another baby boy!

There is so much to be happy about: brothers! Another momma’s boy! Matching Christmas pjs! No wedding to pay for! When I close my eyes I can picture another little Everett-esque child running around the house and it feels right. I can see them sharing a room with bunk beds and looking out for each other at school and playing video games together when their homework is finished. I can see Brett planning boys nights and I can see trucks and legos and trains covering my house for the next few years.

I can see all of it, and I love what I see.

I have more to say about this, some other day, but right now I’m praising God for a healthy baby, and enjoying each and every kick and flutter.

Thank you for celebrating with us!

Posted in be | Tagged , | 17 Comments

halfway there.

Where My Heart Resides Where My Heart ResidesWhere My Heart Resides Where My Heart ResidesWhere My Heart Resides-11 Where My Heart Resides{ 20 weeks | wearing this dress }

20 weeks. Halfway there. I’ve been trying to find the words to write about this pregnancy, but they have not come without effort.

The second pregnancy has been much different than my first: physically, mentally, emotionally. It’s been harder, more trying—a difference marked, no doubt, by the fact that I’m chasing a toddler all day.

It’s been hard to pay attention to this baby growing in my belly, as if my mind and heart don’t have room for anything else right now. When I was pregnant with Everett, I vividly remember being consumed by him, unable to think of anything else. I felt connected to him, body and soul, perfectly in sync with his flutters and kicks. Everything about that pregnancy was impossible to ignore; he was a part of me from the moment I knew of his existence.

This pregnancy, on the other hand, has felt the opposite. Almost as if I need to remind myself daily that I am, indeed, pregnant. If it wasn’t for the fact that every morning I run a soapy loofa over a foreign protruding belly button, I might forget altogether.

I don’t feel as connected, as in sync, as in love as I did during my first pregnancy. I keep waiting for it to hit me, but if I’m being honest with myself and with you, I am still waiting. There is, of course, that all too familiar feeling that follows. Guilt. Everyone keeps telling me that it is normal to feel this way with your second pregnancy, but it doesn’t feel normal to me.

Bonding with Everett was effortless, from the pregnancy to the second they laid him on my chest. He was mine in every way, and I loved him instantly. I didn’t have to try the first time around.

And now here I am, trying so dang hard.

I’m not consumed by this pregnancy; I’m consumed by the trying. Trying to feel excited, trying to feel in sync, trying to feel connected to a baby who, more often than not, feels like a stranger to me.

I can’t force it; I can only pray and wait. I know the connection will come eventually, of that I am certain. Just like Everett, this baby is a piece of me, of my heart and my body and my soul, and the love is there inherently, even if I cannot feel it strongly yet.

In the meantime, I am trying to remind myself of one of my favorite motherhood mantras: grace is greater than guilt.

Grace is greater than guilt.

Grace. Is. Greater. Than. Guilt.

Posted in be | Tagged , , | 13 Comments