things i love thursday! (march 8, 2012)

Happy Thursday, friends! A lot has happened this week and while there may or may not have been a hormone-induced 24-hour cryfest in there somewhere (again, may or may not) it has still been a week full of blessings. Here’s my list!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • We felt baby Dax kick last night! And he really hasn’t stopped since. It’s so awesome!
  • Purple nail polish, courtesy of Emily.
  • Making it to the half-way point in my pregnancy! Hooray! We are halfway to meeting our sweet baby boy!
  • Empire waist dresses. I hated them when I wasn’t pregnant but now, I can’t get enough.
  • Spending a week being Emily and Levi’s parents.
  • #levitweets
  • Big, soft beds.
  • Lemonade.
  • Chinese food.
  • Holding babies, particularly tiny cute ones like Isaiah.
  •  “The Lorax!”
  • Peanut M&Ms.
  • The fact that I can keep listing food because, well, I’m pregnant and that’s life.
  • MOOSE TRACKS ICE CREAM.
  • Emily’s chores playlist.
  • Having a jam session with Emily. (That’s right. I had a jam session with a 13-year-old violinist.)
  • Getting sweet gifts in the mail for Dax, including but not limited to, some awesome bibs from Ali and some ADORABLE little Bobux shoes from Rachel! SQUEEEEEE.
  • Homemade baby clothes for Dax, courtesy of my sweet friend Kelby!
  • Baby clothes in general. THEY’RE SO SMALL, WHAT THE, HOW IN THE, I CAN’T EVEN.
  • Cinnabon. Also, hearing Levi reason as to why I should give my share to him: “I don’t think all of that sugar is good for the baby…” “He’ll be fine, Levi.
  • Dinner at Calico Jack’s.
  • Yoga in the mornings.
  • Making plans with the BESTIE! Yeah!
  • My friend Evan is writing a jingle a day in March. You should really listen to them if you haven’t already. He’s a musical genius and is guaranteed to make you smile! Check him out here.
  • A late night, spur of the moment, pseudo-breakdown management rendezvous at Starbucks. (Thanks Lori!)
  • Text messages that must be “a God thing.”
  • Also, visiting the same Starbucks three times in one day.
  • RedEye Mocha Frappucinos. Oh my gosh. Live in my belly.
  • Getting a text from my husband that reads, “I bought you another book at Goodwill.” Seriously, he rules.
  • Getting a hair touch-up by my good friend Elizabeth Joy! No more trashy roots! (Plus good hang out time as well. It’s always helpful to have a stylist who also happens to be a great friend.)
  • BRIAN (my cousin, whose middle name is Arthur, from which Dax’s middle name comes) AND KATIE ARE ENGAGED! YAY! I’m getting a new cousin-in-law (whom I’ll probably just call my sister-in-law because seriously, cousin-in-law sounds too far removed…)
  • Saving up enough money to FINALLY (!!!) purchase my new-to-me Nikon D60 this weekend! Dude! I’m getting a FOR REALS camera this weekend! And oh yeah, I’m paying cash for it like a BOSS. (Which also means I get to see Ashley and maybe Mark this weekend! Dax and Baby Poole could high five!)
  • Spontaneous sushi lunch dates with the hubs. (Cooked, of course! Dax is a huge fan!)
  • An awesomely productive lunch meeting at Subway.
  • Making strides toward my “mom goals.”
  • My family, my husband, my kid, and my cats.
  • You.

What do you love this week?

a good body image kick in the pants.

I’m 20 weeks pregnant. I’m halfway done.

I’ve also gained ten (!!!) pounds, which is exactly half as much weight as my doctor told me I should gain during the pregnancy. In reality, I’m right on track. (Halfway there when I’m halfway there! That makes sense! Half a pound a week from here on out, right?) But as of right now, this second, I’m not doing so well. Instead of being a new mom, carrying around and sustaining a healthy baby boy, my mind is in the dark and can only see myself as a woman who has gained ten pounds in five months and can’t button her jeans which means she’s ugly, worthless, stupid, a bad friend, a horrible cook, a horrible mom, a horrible wife, who will never be a published writer…

Sigh. Isn’t it ridiculous how a bad body image can poison the otherwise awesome parts that make you you? Or am I just THAT mental?

I can usually talk myself out of feeling like a whale by reminding myself, Lindsay! You are building a life! But it’s hard to switch a twentysomething-year-old paradigm (that gaining weight is the absolute WORST thing I could ever do, save maybe intentionally running over a litter of kittens) just because I got knocked up a few months ago.

Today, HelloGiggles posted an article by Julia Gazdag that was the body image kick in the pants I needed, even though it’s not directly aimed at pregnant women. It’s a great reminder about the heavy implications and repercussions of falling victim to a broken society’s view of beauty.

This excerpt in particular was one I really needed to read today:

You’re not attractive because you look like the airbrushed neo-Barbie posing with a giant bottle in a vodka ad, or the limitlessly fancy red carpet starlet. You’re attractive because of how you tell a story, how your eyes crinkle when you smile, how you love a certain author so fervently, and any number of other trite rom-com clichés. Because there’s actually truth to those sappy monologues – the most attractive thing about anyone is what makes them unique, not what makes them blend in. Anyone who is more focused on your looks than your self is bad news and in all likelihood cares very little about you as a person, except to use you as an accessory. We’re women, not purses, and that means we can own our greatness instead of comparing it to that of others while vying for mediocraty.

To read the rest of Julia’s article (and possibly get the kick in the pants you need) click here.

tuesday tip — grace is real.

This post is about grace.

A dear friend of mine, who also happens to be a particularly talented musician, has a song called, “This Song is About Grace.” The lyrics have been echoing through my head over the past week — the icing on the cake that is grace, the idea I’ve been poring over recently like a ravenous beast. So hungry for it, yet so afraid of the sweet taste. (Calories, probably?)

Grace.

I suck at grace. I always have. While I’m adequately equipped to offer grace (sometimes to a fault) I’ve never been good at receiving it. I can distinctly remember times as a child when an adult would scold me and I’d think something along the lines of, That’s it. I’ve blown it. He/she will hate me forever. Sadly, that hasn’t changed much.

I’d go to the dentist and get a thousand cavities filled before I accepted another person’s grace and forgiveness, whether that person is a family member, friend, mentor, whatever. Don’t try to give me grace. I won’t take it. Or, I will take it, but then I’ll silently dismiss it, like running to Grace-Mart to exchange this beautiful thing for something uglier. Like self-loathing. Or an orange tweed blazer which, against my skin tone, is practically the same thing.

I have this friend. And I feel like I can’t borrow anything from this friend without at least half-way destroying it. It started with one of his favorite books I gave that book a bath by accident. Then, I borrowed his house and kids for a week. The kids were fine (albeit probably sick of Italian food) by the end of it all, but I couldn’t manage to return his house to him without also giving him a freshly bleached pillow sham, courtesy of the Proactiv on my face.

In the grand scheme of things, those examples are pretty minor (and completely accidental) offenses. But they kill me. Over and over they kill me. And as for the big failures? Like Sunday night’s huge, more than likely hormone-induced, fight with my husband that resulted in him sleeping on the couch for the first time in our marriage? Well. Forget it.

Why is this? Why is it so difficult for me to let myself be forgiven and loved by others? Am I alone in this? Am I the only one who thinks like this?

My sneaking suspicion says no.

When you know yourself as well as I know me, it’s hard to not label your faults (as opposed to all the wonderful things about you) as your “real” self. You are, after all, the only one on earth who is privy to the knowledge of each and every single failure you’ve ever executed. So, I suppose, it stands to reason that it would be hard to let someone forgive you for accidentally bleaching their pillow sham. Because then, you’d also have to accept forgiveness for all the other metaphorical pillow shams you’ve bleached in your life, both accidentally and otherwise, and that would mean freeing yourself from the notion that you are only as good as the times you haven’t failed which, of course, are fewer and more far between than the times you have.

TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP: GRACE IS REAL.

According to Dictionary.com, grace is, indeed, a real thing, no matter how unfathomable it may be at times:

grace (n, v):

  1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.
  2. a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment.
  3. favor or goodwill.
  4. a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior.
  5. mercy; clemency; pardon.

Elegance. Beauty. Mercy. Favor.

It can be hard to accept things like that when you know that you’re a habitual pillow sham bleacher and/or book bather. But grace is real. And if we could only learn to show ourselves some grace first, we could maybe be better at accepting it from others.

Learning how to show myself grace is arguably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Watching myself fail and then making every effort to stop all of the negative self-talk from flooding my brain has proven to be way too challenging. But, after being diligent with it for a while, I think that it’s finally starting to stick.

It’s okay. It’s just a book. The pages are still readable, even if they are unfortunately crinkly.
It’s okay. It’s just a pillow sham. At least it’s not one of the kids.
It’s okay. It’s just one fight. We’ve been together four years and this is the first time it’s happened.
It’s okay. You’re human. Humans make mistakes.
It’s okay. You are still loved. 

Maybe I’m alone. Maybe you’ve got this grace thing down already. If you do, that is awesome. But if you’re like me, and you’re trapped in this cyclical pattern of walking on egg shells only to beat yourself to a bloody pulp each time you accidentally break one, know that the effort it takes to show yourself grace is so unbelievably worth it. Just like you can’t fully love someone else until you love yourself, you can’t really extend grace or accept it from others until you learn to give yourself a little.

What do you need to forgive yourself for?

things i love thursday: MY SON! (march 1, 2012)

For those of you who aren’t following me and the hubs on our pregnancy blog, we found out this week that our little baby is a BOY! His name is Dax Arthur and we love him so much already it hurts, so this week’s TILT is appropriately all about him.

Check out our little man, currently spending his days rolling around in my belly!

Are those cheeks not the cutest little cheeks you’ve ever seen? And that NOSE! How are you not swooning already? Ladies?

(Also, yes, in case you didn’t know, my real first name is Helen. I’ve gone by my middle name all my life. Anywayyyy.)

Despite the fact that 90% of my friends and family were positive I was carrying a girl, I knew better. I’ve always said that God has been preparing my heart to mother boys ever since I was born. The pets I’ve raised on my own (Romeo and Hamlet) are boys. I was the only girl in my family. As a matter of fact, I used to think I could actually be a boy if I tried hard enough. (Oh, did you miss that? You can read about that nonsense here.)

For me, mothering a boy is a huge blessing. I don’t know the first thing about girls. I mean, I obviously have the girl thing down to some extent, what with being pregnant and all, but I think that trying to live up to what a “real” girl is supposed to be (fashion-forward, gourmet cook, a “gentle and quiet spirit,” all the things I’ll regrettably never be) would be overwhelming if/when I have a girl. While everyone says girls are “easier” to raise and that boys are “a handful,” I say bring it on. The fact that my first go at motherhood isn’t going to be associated with perfect girliness but rather messy rambunctiousness is (believe it or not) a huge relief for me. If and when we do have a girl, I’ll already know what it’s like to be a “mom,” and I can focus on figuring out what it means to be “feminine.” (SIDE NOTE: I’m currently thinking of my poor mom on my 4th birthday, desperately running around town to try and find the sole My Little Pony in existence that wasn’t pink or purple but blue. Sorry about that, Mom.)

Bottom line? I’ll take fart jokes and little league over… what is it that girls do? Good Lord, I don’t even know. Playing with non-pink My Little Ponies?

Dax, your mommy and daddy love you so much! We can’t wait to meet you and play with you!

What do you love this week? Is it my kid? I wouldn’t blame you if it was. He’s pretty great!