A Chapter in the Life (Ch. 15)

Good Catholic Literature

5 Saints Every Nursing Mom Should Know Carrots for Michaelmas (guest post by Mandi Richards)

We’re Not All The SameMy Serenity Prayer – My wonderful friend, Mia, wrote this great post and it has really been making me think! 

Treating Maternal Anxiety – Call Her Happy 

And check out Mary’s blog over at Better Than Eden if you find yourself in need of newborn baby pictures, the experiences of living with FIVE BOYS, and great baby advice from one of the most inspirational bloggers to me! (P.S. There’s more baby adorableness and all things boy on her Instagram feed, so go give her some love!)

Family News

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I’m almost thirty-seven weeks pregnant now and boy, can I tell you that for this pregnancy, it’s like there’s a switch in there labeled “NOW YOU’RE REALLY PREGNANT” that somehow got flipped on. It’s okay though, we’re almost there. I’m so ready to meet this little guy.IMG_2388

My labor bag is all packed, Eliot’s bag is packed, and I even managed to finish my birth plan/notes this week! We really don’t have much left to do for the little guy. I also wrote out my prayer intention list for the labor and I’ve already begun praying for some of them during the contractions I’ve already had that have NOT been so fun… I have another appointment on Thursday in which we will have another sonogram and I’m SO excited to see him! As he grows in there, it gets even more exciting to see what he is looking like as you can see more and more features every time.

IMG_2383Speaking of those uncomfortable pains, this massage ball has become a definite must for future pregnancies. It took us a few stores to track down a decent massage aid but eventually, Academy won out! Our goal was to find something that would help Daniel not to tire out and to save his hands since he’ll probably be massaging me for hours. This thing just rolls over your back, or you can hold it in place on your lower back which has worked wonders during contractions. It helps me fall back asleep when I wake up in the middle of night and I’m uncomfortable. Almost like how a back scratch just makes you feel so relaxed and you’re slowly able to drift back off to sleep!IMG_2389

We set up Eliot’s little play corner which houses his toys, books, and awesome dragon! We know it’s early for all of that, but what can I say… I really look forward to playing with this little guy! We put his play quilts there too for easy access and I’m thinking of adding a little storage box for diapers and wipes so that we have them accessible in the living room.

IMG_2385Lastly, we set up his Co-Sleeper in our bedroom and it gives me good dreams when I fall asleep staring at the little place where he will lay. Are you sick of baby talk yet? I’m sorry to add to the cliche…

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Fine, I’ll talk about something else. Marriage! (What did you expect?) In addition to Eliot’s godparents from our hometown, and then the lovely Haley from her blog, “Home to Catholicism,” my friends Mia and Joe also tied the knot within the last two weeks! We gave the latter a print from Dave Pollot’s shop on Etsy for their wedding gift and yes, you need to look closer in the picture to see WHY we did so. Awesome, RIGHT? The Star Wars print on the right is actually one the seller sent to us for shopping with him and so it now hangs on our wall too. So many beautiful couples got married this week, it really had me nostalgic for my own wedding! I’m so happy for each and every one of these women! Congratulations to them all!

IMG_2298I made some delicious pasta inspired by a place some friends recommended we go to eat Italian food. The food was outrageously good and it made me want to try making some summer pasta. This is a ricotta tomato basil pasta and really it was just simply those ingredients mixed with penne pasta, crushed garlic, and olive oil. Mmmm!IMG_2366

Daniel also put his hands together in the kitchen and made this Chocolate Italian Love cake we found on Pinterest! Don’t you want your death to look this luxurious?

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IMG_2354 I finished making my Jack Johnson pillow and I’m excited to be able to move on to other embroidery projects! It looks good on Daniel’s new arm chair.IMG_2372

After finishing the little lap blanket I was crocheting, I made this little hat for a friend who is also expecting a little boy. I was hoping to use up some of the left over yarn from the lap blanket since it was baby soft yarn anyway. I discovered that I hate making pom poms.

Thanks for reading another Chapter in a Life post! Don’t forget that you can find me on Pinterest if you fancy and you can always shoot me an email at hannahsalisbury@outlook.com. I’d love to hear from you!

Peace be with you,

Hannah

Adventures in Pregnancy with Eliot

eliotblogimageI am really struggling to remember even my first trimester already as I sit here in my third one waiting for Eliot to come out. One day, especially if my child has children, I want to be able to answer questions like, “did I kick a lot when you were pregnant with me?” and “what sorts of foods did you eat the most?” because those were the questions I immediately wanted to ask my own mom and mother in law when I found out I was pregnant! I don’t want to forget how Eliot was unique even when he was growing inside me, especially if I am blessed with future pregnancies, which I’m sure would be quite different.

Cravings: My biggest craving this pregnancy has, without a doubt, been fruit. Not one specific kind, but rather every kind I don’t even normally like when I’m not pregnant! I’ve had phases. For instance, oranges are out (they had a good run for three or four weeks) and bananas are in. Bananas then go out of style after a few weeks, and it’s watermelon. fruits I’ve craved have included oranges, bananas, watermelon, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, honeydew melon, plums, peaches, and grapes. My second biggest craving has been milk! Whether it be a plain glass of milk, chocolate milk, milk in my cereal, or sometimes an occasional bowl of ice cream, milk has been a favorite. That’s unusual for me too, because even as a child, I hated drinking plain milk! I never said no to chocolate milk, but I definitely wouldn’t ask for two glasses of plain milk after dinner for dessert. It’s full on toddler style drinking too… I’m talking, both hands around the glass for better control and steady gulping. Junky cereals seem to be my guilty pleasure as the third most common craving. Trix, fruit loops, reeses puffs, pops, you name it.

Pregnancy Symptoms: Taking the lead with no challenger has been the constant emotional state of my being! Hormones have been absolutely overwhelming this entire pregnancy, but as my mom said in the first trimester, “crying constantly is better than throwing up all the time.” I’m thankful for that! Second most common pregnancy discomfort for me has been heartburn. But I don’t mind since I NEVER have it any other time in my life. I actually feel like I’ve been pretty blessed in this pregnancy where this whole area is concerned.

In the Womb Activity: Eliot Hayden is definitely a kicker. He doesn’t have a favorite time of day for kicking, but he certainly makes his presence known (enough to where you can see it from across the room if you stare at my belly hard enough). Sometimes he will go on for a couple of hours without pause. He does more kicking than rolling, but he does that too on occasion. I’ve also noticed that he gets the hiccups constantly (and seems to get them right after I down a big glass of water, which just doesn’t make sense to me). His kicking started really early (around almost 16 weeks) where I could feel it. They were just little flutters at first, but they grew to very strong, swift kicks and stretches in no amount of time at all. In fact, there have been a handful of nights that the kicks have been so uncomfortable that I’ve asked Daniel to talk to my belly to see if he could encourage some calm. Sometimes we would pray for Eliot to not be restless, and other times, Daniel would break out this sweet Dad voice in which he would kindly ask Eliot to calm down and “not hurt Mama.” The funny thing is that Eliot, so far, has always responded! He definitely knows Daniel’s voice.

How We Spend Time: We’ve been making family time a priority throughout this entire pregnancy, and if I ever ask Daniel to read to us, he’s always ready and willing to stop whatever he’s doing to have family time. We like to read books around here. I don’t read or sing as much as Daniel (mainly only if I’m alone all day) but Daniel reads to Eliot every night and sings him a lullaby. Eliot’s favorite is Daddy’s Lullaby and during the story, he’s as quiet as a mouse. No kicks, no movement. But as soon as Daniel begins singing the lullaby at the end, he goes wild and it looks like there are fireworks in my belly. This kid definitely likes singing! We’ve also included The Itsy Bitsy Spider book to our reading and singing time, and will often pick up other random books on our bookshelf to read aloud. Paddington Bear, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and Peter Rabbit have been books that we’ve shared with him.

Changes: I did quit working in the middle of my second trimester due to an increase in contractions that started to worry us. The contractions, for the most part, subsided as soon as I was home. So I had to learn to continue to be productive in my days even while being home for hours and hours every day. I also learned that work was one of the things that made me more introverted (probably because I was exhausted of talking to people all day). Now that I do not work, I really love having company and spending time with people, and I find myself being a bit more outgoing when I’m in a group. I also have learned how to keep a cleaner home (now that I have time) and have even been doing a pretty decent job at keeping laundry and cooking going. I’m very much enjoying my home time.

Those are my specific pregnancy documents for this most special and cherished child. I look forward to holding his hand and cuddling him close to my chest when he’s out! I’m sure I’ll then have to begin documenting all of his firsts and fun life activities.

On “Being Yourself” (A Mother’s Love Letter)

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Dear sweet Eliot,

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with how much I wish you were out already and in my arms so that I could kiss you all over and stroke your sweet little fingers and toes. On those days, I find it easy to rub circles over my tummy and for tears of happiness to come into my eyes. Some days, like today, it’s not enough, and I just have to sit down and hack out my thoughts and feelings for you just so that I don’t explode with them.

I wonder at what age you will read this little love letter and I wonder who you will be that day. I spend so many afternoons dreaming of you and the little ways you will surprise your Daddy and me. I know there will be little reflections of us in your habits, speech, and mannerisms and while I can’t wait to see what they are (after all, I love your daddy to pieces), I really can’t wait to see you just being you! I never want you to feel that you cannot be yourself, or that you must be just like us, because you are more special being just who God meant for you to be. I could never give you a perfect mold to fit into like a finely formed piece of chocolate–not even if I spent my entire life trying, and I would never want to force you into something that confines your abilities or your personality.

I wonder what sort of food you will like, the hobbies you’ll have, and the music that will speak to you. Your Daddy hated mushrooms and loved heavy metal music when he was growing up. I loved avocados with French dressing and spent most of my days sewing medieval costumes and running around wearing a cape. Your Daddy ended up fine-tuning his love of music with its depth and the theory behind it, into a career in classical music and he could not be happier. My generally odd mixture of activities as a child has grown into, well, an odd mixture of homemaking and daydreaming of the pretend sword fights you and I will have, the seas we will sail as pirates on our couch-turned-ship, and the way I can help our family have joy in creativity and imagination.

God shaped me and your Daddy into just the people he wanted for us to be, and then brought our individuality together to bring you into the world. I can tell you without a doubt that my own Mama never ran around wearing capes and pretending she was every historical or made up character she could possibly imagine, but she encouraged my hobbies, and let me be just who I was growing to be. Your Daddy’s Dad never desired to spend hours listening to Metal or wanted to join a choir of chamber singers, but he sure encouraged your Daddy in his pursuit of those things. What I’m trying to tell you is that no child is a clone of his parents, and we wouldn’t want it to be that way anyway. We are all created unique from each other, like one of a kind stones that are chipped and shined into beautiful jewels.

I can’t wait to meet you, and I love you for your differences already. Sure, there are activities, foods, hobbies, and likes that I hope we can share with you, but I’m looking forward to you sharing yourself with us too! I wonder what sorts of things you’ll introduce us to… Maybe you will be really into sports and I’ll have to learn all about one in particular only to discover that I love sports and it has been missing from my life all of these years! Maybe you’ll introduce me to new foods that I’ve never tried, and maybe you’ll teach me about things I’ve never thought of before. You are going to be my biggest growth spurt, and I thank you for that, because I never want to stop growing or forming.

As you read this letter, I want you to know that you’re more than just our son. You’re a full person with ideas, habits, thoughts, and feelings that might very well differ from our own, and that’s exactly what we want for you. Your Dad and I will spend all of our parenting years teaching you the love we’ve known from our own parents for the world, faith, and God, and we can’t wait to see what you do with that love. You’re perfect just the way you are, sweet son!

For now, keep kicking away at me and letting me feel your life inside me even when I’m exhausted and wouldn’t mind you sleeping for the sake of my own sleep, because that’s how you’re different already. Keep on defying your lullaby that your Daddy sings to you at night to tell you that it’s nighttime and show us some of that fierce independence to go against the grain (although not too much, after all, we do have to sleep sometime).

You’re going to do great things one day soon.

The Little Lap Blanket

I’ve been attempting to redeem myself from extreme procrastination that occurred when making my brother’s blanket for him (I promised him a blanket on his birthday and then three birthdays later, finally gave it to him. SHAME). I started a little colorful granny square blanket, which, happens to be my first attempt at a granny square! My goal was to make a little lap blanket to hang on the back of my rocking chair/glider to cover my feet and legs while breastfeeding in the middle of the night. I also really wanted to add some color and cheer to my living room (it’s hard to combat the apartment’s beige walls). I would say that it was a success and Daniel seems to like it too!

This project took me two and a half weeks but I cannot take all the credit, because Daniel was such a sweetie and helped me pick out the yarn colors after I had attempted to pick them out, got overwhelmed, and left the store twice before he helped me. Pregnancy brain, y’all! Well, that, and the fact that this elderly Dallas lady kept following me and crowding me aisle after aisle and whenever I looked at her, she scowled… I think she overwhelmed me more than the yarn decisions did.

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I’m looking forward to making more blankets in the future, but I might be exhausted of the process right now just because the Texas heat has begun to make an appearance and I’m eight months pregnant. I’ve been eyeing the knitting classes in the area. I would love to start knitting!

A Chapter in the Life (Ch. 14)

Good Catholic Literature:

A Guide to Jane Austen for Men Who Don’t Think They Like Jane Austen – Daniel Bearman

5 Tips for Pursuing Your Dream When You Can’t Pursue Your Dream… Yet – Carrots for Michaelmas – This post really came at the perfect time for me and spoke to me the day after I had a huge meltdown that Daniel got to come home to after a long day at school. It really touched my heart. Just go read it.

Family News

IMG_2235My darling little baby boy stuck his tongue out in the last ultrasound we had with him and it might have truly been the most adorable thing we’ve seen him do in an ultrasound! This is a profile picture of his head with a hand up by his face in case it isn’t obvious to you (which according to my husband and brother, is not easy to make out). He has such character already and seems to be always doing something interesting in there. This time, he was kicking so much during the ultrasound that my tech couldn’t keep the screen from shaking and losing his picture because of it. I think they were amused.

IMG_2224 My belly is getting quite large and uncomfortable. Typical third trimester and I’m thankful for no problems! I will say that it’s so big now that I can feel him kick and move on my legs when I’m sitting since my belly rests on them. Last ultrasound I had, Eliot was measuring 4.3 lbs at 31 weeks!

What else has been happening… Daniel is almost through with this semester of grad school and things just keep getting more and more busy for the two of us. It will be so nice to have him home so much as soon as finals are over and before Eliot gets here!

We had our friends Kristina and Cody come up and visit us and it really was one of the most enjoyable visits! Daniel still had a school day to do so we hung out at the apartment for the most part and went to the school for lunch to chat and eat (the four of us). Kristina and I then hung out at the apartment that evening while the guys went out to do manly things that make them smell rugged (smoke cigars at a cigar place). It was lovely!

My mom also came up this week to visit with me very spontaneously. She stayed for two nights and we spent a whole day sewing and crocheting together. I haven’t had a “project person” in such a long time to do DIY stuff with and my mom is in the same boat where she lives. When I used to live at home, we’d do projects together all the time. Since we don’t live in the same place anymore, this visit was so special!

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IMG_2250We ended up making cute little zippered pouches (I turned one into a lunch bag for Daniel but I forgot to take a picture) and I made this little elephant for Eliot from a tutorial I found on Pinterest. I taught my mom how to crochet the Willow squares that I was doing for my recent blanket and then we went out and bought her some coordinating yarn so she could start making a blanket too! Such a special visit.

I bought some knit material that I’m hoping to turn into some little baby caps for Eliot and other various babies that are coming into the world. Also a Pinterest tutorial I found! I have so many projects in mind lately.

This week has been a tough pregnancy week with the hormones and the exhaustion. I’ve taken a nap almost every day this week (due to the fact that I’ve been unable to sleep) but I’m trying not to be too negative about it. I hate to act like pregnancy is horrible because it’s such a blessing! A tremendous blessing that many people don’t get to enjoy and I never want to seem ungrateful. It’s just exhausting sometimes. I can tell my body is getting ready for labor as things are beginning to change drastically so I suppose it’s to be expected! I’m really beginning to count down the days to when I get to meet my little boy on the day of his choosing and I can’t believe I’ve been entrusted with something so precious and huge.

Thanks for reading!