A Chapter in the Life (Ch. 16)

Great Reads

Seven Things I Don’t Do With a Newborn (Anymore) – Catholic All Year – Very insightful and helpful and it actually echoes a lot of what my own mom and aunt have been sharing with me about their newborn experiences. Kendra just had her eighth baby and has a lot of wisdom to share!

A Few Lessons from Eight Years of Breastfeeding – Better Than Eden – Everything Mary writes is wonderful and she was one of the minds I wanted to jump into right away after I found out I was expecting Eliot. Her advice has been a tremendous help in my journey into motherhood! This one was really encouraging for me in my first few months of breastfeeding.

NFP Should Be a Part of Parish Life – Carrots for Michaelmas – Haley’s thoughts mirror my own on this and I actually just had this same conversation with the priest that I went through RCIA with when I converted. NFP is very much on my mind these days as I transition into postpartum NFP for the first time.

Family News

Whales — It’s been such a long time since I’ve posted a Chapter in the Life post! The last one was at the end of May and it feels like a year’s worth of events have been crammed into the months since then. Pretty much from early June until the middle of June, I sat on my couch and enjoyed whaling. (Not wailing, mind you, that didn’t happen until the two weeks prior to my labor.) I went whaling as in the virtual ocean on the Xbox thanks to many games that kept me occupied. I nerded out for three weeks or so and didn’t do much but bake cookies and play my pirate game so that I could go whaling. Daniel participated in whaling of a different kind… He spent the hours that I wasted my brain away on the Xbox reading Moby Dick, and becoming a smarty! Following all of the whaling of different kinds, we both went to Target and bough a whale mobile for Eliot who finally made his appearance on June 23rd. Then after the whales came and went and Eliot arrived, life got C R A Z Y.

Sleep — I wrote about the things I wanted to remember pertaining to Eliot’s arrival but not about the four day stay in the hospital at the NICU because of certain events (who wants to remember the scary parts? Not me… It’s all about perspective!) But the four day stay did happen, and it was part of the craziness. We finally got to go home and after enough visitors in the first couple weeks to make my head spin (I actually don’t remember who visited because of newborn sleep schedule) we rested and got to know our little one. He decided to have a flip flop sleep schedule too, and got his nights and days confused (oh, how he is my son). After four weeks, he was finally sleeping the majority of his bigger chunks of time at night and we celebrated!

baptismeliot

Baptism and Car — And then, at five weeks postpartum, we had Eliot baptized and then decided to visit my family at home and let everyone meet the little guy. The baptism was wonderful and such an experience for two converts and first time parents! We drove and stopped and nursed and repeated that throughout the four hour drive home and after a night’s rest at my parents, we took my husband’s grandfather out to lunch. It was on the drive back to my parents (five minutes away) that we had a wreck and our car was totaled. Thankfully, the gentleman that hit us is a wonderful man that my parents actually know and so dealing with the event has been easier than it could have been! Everyone was all right, except for some frayed nerves exploding into tears in the McDonald’s from a hormonal mother with a five week old while strangers approached to pat her back and tell her it was all okay. Everybody has a meltdown in a fast food restaurant at some point in their life, right?

School, Friends, and Paperwork — We stayed in town a little longer than we planned and we got home in time for Daniel to deal with craziness at his job and then for all of the school preparations to begin for this semester. Always insane. We then had some close friends come and visit us right after they got engaged and it was the good kind of crazy! All the while, we were digging through mounds of paperwork to try to find our car’s title which had been misfiled. We were just about to give up and deal with having to file for a new one to give to the insurance company when I locked myself in the closet praying that I would find it and pulling everything out of every nook and cranny. My prayers were answered and I presented the troublesome paper to Daniel who then dealt with getting it sent in! We still don’t have our new car yet, but hope to have it within the next few days.

Whew! I think that ends the stressful (and probably boring) saga of the last few weeks. This last week, I’ve been enjoying snuggles and smiles from Eliot, watching the ending of The Office, and listening to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (which I never finished reading) while surfing Pinterest for hairstyles that I will show my stylist come Saturday. Yay for the haircut that I had hoped to already have two weeks postpartum!

DIY

eliotnewhat

I finished Eliot’s little sack hat that I was working on (pictured above) right before he was born and just in time since it almost doesn’t fit him anymore. I did braids on this one instead of pompoms and really love how it turned out! The braids were difficult to attach so if I make another one, I’ll have to figure out a more efficient way to attach them. It’s such an easy pattern though! I bet little bear ears would look cute too.

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

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On Adventures, Joys, and Virtues

instagramjournalingTwo years ago, I thumbed through a sea of blank pages in a brand new journal, thinking ahead to my future. What stories would these pages contain in just one year? What adventures would I one day look back on and remember fondly? I had carefully chosen an attractive journal covered with an array of world maps. Quotes about traveling and exploring graced every few pages of the inside. It truly was fascinating to behold and I had many hopes of recording a life that mimicked its cover in theme. I was dreaming of adventure with my beloved that would produce joy, laughter, peace, and spiritual growth.

Certainly, there was nothing wrong with my desire for that kind of adventure to be housed in my new journal. In fact, I think that’s a great way to reflect on one’s life. To hope for happiness and virtue for your life through the ability to reflect on them (journaling) is honestly dwelling on heavenly things. Things designed to point you to our Maker.

But I have to say… it was a little childlike of me to think that those desires would make themselves present in my life without struggle. All I saw when I looked at my journal was ease and leisure. Who has ever achieved virtue through ease and leisure? I know, you’re laughing now, right? You’re waiting for little Hannah to crash her bicycle into a tree and wail at a scraped knee… At least, that’s how you view the girl that just confessed to have thought virtue could come without pain and work.

What has filled that little red journal so covered in pleasurable ideas, you might wonder? Well, instead of writing about the first plane flight (maybe one day) like I hoped I would see in there, I wrote about that first time I looked down at the test and saw double lines… I wrote of the fear, I wrote of the pain I would endure over the next several months. I wrote of the happiness and joy I experienced on feeling life in my womb.

Instead of recording events in fun new places, I jotted down failures and insecurities in my vocation. I poured out my heart and watched it bleed onto the paper as those quotes mocked me for my childish thoughts. I followed it up with records of the lessons I learned in humility while doing this thing called “marriage.” I wrote down humiliations at work and then scribbled in the way I felt when I persevered and forced myself to return. I recorded the way my feet felt like cans of paint when I made myself walk somewhere to do something uncomfortable. Struggle tugged each word onto the next page. Discomfort raged all throughout the sea of crisp white paper.

But so did growth.

And, wonder of wonders, happiness too.

Now, different kinds of joys are being preserved than the joys of travel and fun. I’m in this adventure called motherhood now, so while I don’t get to see the world, I’m seeing the world anew through a little set of eyes. I find happiness in my tasks, like when I’m taking a shower and having to sing “the itsy bitsy spider” over and over to placate the baby until I can actually pick him up. And you better bet that there’s more laughter in this book than I ever would have had without my new little adventure cooing and smiling all day long. Motherhood is full of laughs.

This journal looks different than the polished, fun, and glamorous life I pictured reflecting back at me. It looks raw. It looks ugly at times. It also looks lovely, and I’m so glad to be writing about the adventure that God chose for me.

Have you kept a journal? What do you write about?