Family

I really love walks – challenging to be a mom

photo (57) (1)Life has been pretty crazy for a few weeks. New things and still new routines every single day and a baby that keeps surprising us with showing new sides of her developing body and personality.

But today I got to slow down time a little. Just enough to be able to hear my own thoughts again and for just long enough to catch my breath and recharge.

Baby Girl and I went for a walk. A good long walk, because I’m back to exercising. At least as much as my body permits right now. In other words, the 5.5km walk today was pushing it, but it felt good. I figured I’d take Baby with me, to give Dad some alone time and also because I’ve noticed Baby strongly prefers the stroller over the car seat.

I really love walks. Especially the longer ones. Even if you don’t have anything major to think about it still does the trick. It feels like quality time with yourself – like old friends getting the chance to catch up. And I really needed to catch up.

It gave me the time to really zoom out and reflect on my life. It’s changed a bit since I really looked at it last. I’m a mom. I survived labor and I have a little person who entirely depends on me to stay alive and to stay happy. That’s huge. That changes you. And you realize that all of the sudden the future became the present. All those things I’ve been thinking about, hoping for and planning are now accurate. And yet I still didn’t get very much older. I feel like I was juggling and someone just tossed me another three balls. And someway somehow I’m still juggling. So now what?

Well, I realized that, well, this is life. A long line of challenges that keep getting tossed in our direction. And our goal is to manage to keep juggling. My little baby daughter just came into this world. She thinks the hardest things in life are feeling hungry, feeling tired and feeling physically alone. To me, those things are not much to cry about. I’ve found out how to get food when I’m hungry and how to go to sleep when I’m tired and I’ve found out that I’m not alone just because I can’t see, hear or feel my mom. In my life, the hardest parts are having a tiny time consuming baby and keeping my home clean and getting anything done at the same time. To my mom, that’s peanuts. She has even learned how to have a tiny time consuming baby at the same time as having four other kids, putting dinner on the table in a squeaky clean home. And so on and so forth. Until you’re a pro at juggling! I guess?

If that will ever happen. Is there such a thing as a pro juggler? or are we stuck on an endless path of jumping through taller and taller hoops? And is that necessarily a bad thing? I think I know the answer.

There’s not much to do about it… but what I guess I can do is try to have that eternal perspective on my challenges. And by that I mean realizing that it could be a lot worse and that some day I’ll be able to overcome this and many bigger challenges.

And those were thoughts I just really needed to have go through my head to allow myself to get a little ahead.

I really love walks.

photo (55) (1) We’re already embarrassing her by dressing her in this way too big suit. … But she looks so cute!!

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photo (54) (1)We’re trying to teach her to smile more on pictures.

 

First three weeks of life and motherhood

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Like I said, the last three weeks have been quite memorable and extremely educational. Definitely for us but probably – definitely – also for Baby. I can’t believe she’s three weeks already! At the same time I can’t believe we finally made it this far…

People often ask me if parenting is as hard as I thought it would be. It’s definitely as hard but I’m surprised how little it bothers you to get up for the fourth time in the middle of the night, change an explosion of a diaper or just not having your hands free … ever. Because it’s your baby and you love her. And also I guess because it’s natural and instinctive, I realize.

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The hardest part for me has for sure been breastfeeding. Those cozy cuddly bonding moments in a big armchair, mother and child gazing into each other’s eyes… Yeah, they haven’t happened yet. I knew breastfeeding was going to be hard in the beginning but I didn’t know it was gonna be so bad it felt like labor wasn’t quite over. All baby and I could do was keep trying and trust people who said that it would get easier with time. And fortunately, it has and we’re almost to the point where it was totally worth the pain.

The recovery in general was also a bit more than I expected. A lot of bleeding and a lot of feeling really weak and a big flappy blob for a belly. Though this all felt like a huge pain in the butt the first week, now it’s pretty much in the same box as pregnancy and labor: sucked, but it’s a long time ago now.

That’s honestly how I feel about everything I went through now. I’m no where near the point of wanting to get pregnant all over again, but I am however already naive enough to think that ‘it wasn’t really THAT bad’. Silly me… but I enjoy the fantasy. I’ll worry about that next time the stick comes back positive.

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Just like when she was in the womb, Baby is still developing pretty darn fast. When she was new she was just a beautiful little cute ball of swollen fatness that could hardly squint through her heavy eyelids. She didn’t say too much and didn’t bother to interact much. But since then she has grown more alert every day. Now, we enjoy several hours every day with her lying awake, looking around and making the cutest ever cooing sounds.

The absolute best thing for both me and Marcus, I think, has been learning that she truly feels comforted by us and that most of the time when she’s upset it’s because she wants to be close to us. I had a nice experience Sunday before last. We had taken Baby to church for the first time and had spent the rest of the day at my parents’. That evening when we got in the car to go home Baby screamed like she had never done before all the way home. When we were finally parked outside our building I unbuckled and pulled Baby out of her car seat and put her on my shoulder. She immediately fell silent. For the next hour I kept her there, just enjoying the confirmation that she actually knows me and that I can calm her because I am her mom.

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I love her so much and though we’ve never had a conversation and though she hardly even ever looks at me properly, I feel like I know her – and in some ways like I always have.

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Summer of 2014. I have a lot to be grateful for

photo 1It has been a very memorable summer. In some ways a summer that I hope we’ll never have to experience ever again. And in other ways a summer with so many happy times that I wouldn’t want to miss for the world. 

Among these happy times are first of all being reunited with Marcus. Fortunately, and for what reason I have no idea, the five weeks apart went faster and to some extent smoother than I ever thought possible. Despite stressful days and smaller pregnancy problems I managed to survive without too many tears and with all the comfort I needed from my family. My philosophy of keeping busy actually worked and in the end I was almost sad that my alone-time with my family was over so soon. Whether Marcus found our time apart as easy I can’t say but I think we can agree that as much as it is an experience we have learned a lot from it is not one we wish to ever have to repeat. 

I went with his parents to the airport to pick him up. It was the best feeling ever to see him crossing the parking lot. Not like back in the way when we were dating and I picked him up at the ferry. Not the same kind of butterflies of seeing your crush, but a much more powerful longing to be with the person that you love more than anyone else in the entire world. There was even a split-second when I realized that I had actually been without my other half for a month – as if for a month I had been helped to not notice – and how that hole seemed to fill as I gave him that first hug on the curb. It just felt right. And that is the best feeling in the world. 

The other most happy experience this summer has been being reunited with family. I really think it was good for Marcus and I to get away early in our marriage and to learn to establish ourselves as our own family and to learn to make hard decisions together. While we were in Salt Lake, I remember thinking that being away from home really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and that we could easily spend some more years on the other side of the world if necessary. I still think so, but boy! had I forgotten the comfort of being around family. Again, it just feels right. The definition of ’family’ may be different to different people, but one thing is true for all – Families are meant to be together.

I now realize just how big a blessing it was to spend my time away from Marcus with my own family. To go home and be back in the ’eldest daughter’s shoes’ again. To have a second chance at my last month with my family. I don’t think I took full advantage of that rare opportunity but it really opened my eyes a little more not only to the kind of daughter I wish I was and plan to be in the future, but also to what kind of daughter I hope to raise myself. 

Also, I love my in-laws. I mean, how lucky do you get to both have an awesome family of your own and to marry a guy who also has an awesome family. Seriously, my life is too happy. I’m expecting to be struck by the worst evil any day now – it’s just too good to be true. (Knock on wood!!). But coming back to Marcus’ family’s house really felt like walking into my second home. Yes, I said it. The Dane feels at home in Sweden. 

I have to give a shout-out to friends and distant family as well. From the friends and family that have helped and supported us before this summer when we were far away from home to the friends and family who have been there for us to welcome us back home – I just have to throw in here that I was lucky enough to have two baby showers thrown for me. Each were attended by family, close and distant, and dear friends. You guys, I’m not the type of person who loves being the center of attention, but I do love being surrounded by people I love. I really really appreciate it! 

You really notice how many treasures you have in your life when you go through hard times and this summer I’ve discovered gold mines. My heart is so full of gratitude for the people I have in my life. I can rest assured that counting my blessings will comfort me in any hard time to come. For they are many. 

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Lovely ladies

IMGYHjpgYesterday was pretty glorious in the most genuine of ways. I have learned that after being married for a year’s time – and especially when you moved half way around the world and had a lifestyle where you pretty much spent every waking (and sleeping) moment together- you grow quite accustomed to just being around each other, and you’re okay with it… You almost feel like you don’t need anyone else in your everyday life to function (more…)