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One year ago last night, Mikey and I came home with our baby girl, had a moment in the living room as a family of three, and began our new life.

And what a great life! One year into it, it gets better and better every day. On Saturday and Sunday we celebrated this fact as we celebrated our one-year-old Katie Pearl. A birthday photo essay …



Sometimes I just have to embrace the fact that I write what Seth Godin calls a cat blog. Mikey and I started blogging a few years ago because we thought it would be a good way to make our journals searchable (which it is), so I continue on in that vein. I’m fine with it. If you like it, too … icing on the cake.

And with that preface, my LinkTastic list of mom blogs.

Chronicles of a Babywise Mom – I’d be a full-time resident of the funny farm right now if not for this blog. Mikey and I read Babywise before Katie was born and figured it sounded simple enough, right? Big news, fans. There’s a lot it doesn’t tell you. Val (the Babywise Mom) fills in the gaps. She’s working from three kids’ worth of experience and covers absolutely everything. If you’ve got an issue she doesn’t address, I’ll eat this cupcake right here.

Orange Parents – There isn’t a sufficient supply of words in my brain to describe how edifying this blog is. If you’re a parent, about to be a parent, thinking of one day becoming a parent, or are of appropriate parent-being age, you should read every solitary post on this site.

Wholesome Baby Food – I have really enjoyed making Katie’s baby food, and this site provides a diaper-load of recipes and ideas. They don’t stop with pureed peas, either – I’m looking for Lemon Plums on my next visit to the Farmer’s Market.

Adopt A ‘Do – This may be the single most inspiring blog I’ve read this year. I spent several hours reading and watching videos the other night thinking, Can I make rosettes with Katie’s 1-inch-long hair? First order of business, though, is getting her to keep from pulling the bows out the instant I put them in.

Etsy – Mike will attest to the fact that my mom and I cannot attend an arts & crafts festival without at least once saying, “We can make that.” Etsy is basically the largest, awesomest, most easily accessible arts & crafts festival in the world. I go here for sewing ideas, art inspiration, and to support the quarterly urge I have to take up crochet.

Others I love (and not just because I love the people who write them): Happily Mother After (I will never be as good at party planning as Lauren), Nate’s Lucha Libro (Technically not a “mom” blog, but with great pictures of Elsita), and Vamos Juntos (Mothering and ministering in Africa … Katie is so much more woman than I am).

It’s funny what becomes a big deal when you become a mom. Poop has never had so much significance (How much is there? What color is it? How often is it showing up? Is it too dry? Too wet? Too smooth? Too lumpy?). Weight is a matter of national importance (You should hear the calls we get from all over the country when we’re due for a pediatrician’s visit.) And then there’s leaving the house.

When Katie Pearl was about three weeks old, I’d had enough of my living room. I set my mind on going to Target. It took three days for me to work up the courage, in addition to phone calls to my husband and friends to hear them say I could do it. It was late in the day before I got it together enough to go, but I did it. The car didn’t blow up. No tuberculosis patients tried to cough on her. The diaper held everything in. We left the house, did our shopping, and returned home with absolutely no drama. I felt like a superhero.

So you can imagine how I feel about our impending first flight together. “Anxious” is a strong word, but I sure am thinking about it a lot. I’ve packed our bags five times in my head, which is only half the number of times I’ve worked out our schedule for the day. I’m sure everything will go smoothly enough. And when I return, I fully expect a new cape.

I’ve been a mother for 12 weeks and 6 days.

Who is that tiny baby? I barely recognize her.

What’s better than I expected:

  • When she looks at me and knows I’m her mama – bonus points for smiles when she sees me.
  • When we’re “talking” – I’m making sounds and she’s trying to mimic them. It’s like connecting with extra-terrestrials.
  • Watching her discover things – that she has hands, that she can use those hands to bat at her toys, the look on her face as we stroll outside.
  • My excitement about her first Christmas – cannot WAIT to get that girl a stocking on the mantel.
  • My parents as grandparents – they’re even more incorrigible than I anticipated. I love every second!
  • The spiritual lessons I’m learning – too numerous to count.

What’s worse than I expected:

  • Guilt. I feel guilty about everything – When I mess up her schedule. When I wake her up to eat. When I give her the horrid-tasting vitamin supplement. When I can’t change her clothes fast enough to keep her warm. When she scratches herself because I haven’t cut her fingernails in the past hour (they grow so fast!). And so much more.
  • Hormones. I’m playing with a theory – and I’m not saying this as a cliche – that hormones are a tool of the Evil One. They lie to me. Regularly. See above.
  • The feeling I get when she’s really wailing. Not just fussy, not bored, but angry. It’s bad enough when it’s because she’s getting a shot, but it’s much, much worse when I don’t know the reason.
  • When her schedule is messed up / changed / otherwise impaired. The wheels seem to come off. I heart Babywise.

[Hee hee … new category … yay!]

After a recent ultrasound appointment:

Mike: Did you see the hand of God in our ultrasound pictures?

Me: Erm … yes? Well … like, how?

Mike: Like in your belly. Holding our baby girl’s foot.

Me: I definitely missed that.

His proof:

Look closely and you’ll see a man’s hand wrapped around my baby girl’s foot – thumbs along the top of her foot, fingers along the bottom. Yes, I know it’s just a void of amniotic fluid and muscle, but look at it. How much more perfect could it be?

Her Creator already has her in the palm of His hand and she isn’t even born yet. I pray she’ll stay there the rest of her life.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:13 (NLT)

Before Saturday, I’d forgotten what it was like to be in a room FILLED with some of my favorite girls. My mind went back to a little over seven years ago when I was preparing to become Mrs. Mike Nelson – it was surreal to look around at a party and not only know everyone in the room, but love everyone in the room. Much love and many, many thanks to everyone who came to celebrate this baby girl at the shower on Saturday.

As I looked around the room, I realized that every woman in the room has helped pray my little girl into existence. Without the faithful and passionate intercession of each of the 20-or-so people who were there (not to mention several of their husbands, the girls who couldn’t make it, and many other family members and friends), we might not be getting to experience all this right now.

I thank God every day for His unfailing kindness and perfect faithfulness. What a fortunate girl I am!

Me and the grandmas (but don't call them grandmas!)

Roughly 30% of shower attendees was with child ... amazing! We lined up in order of due date left-to-right: Danielle (due in a couple of weeks - boy), Kristen (girl), Michelle (TBD), me (girl), Dana (twin boys!), and Jenny (due in September - girl)

The Friday morning girls group (but missing Carmen). They were sitting in Starbucks with me when I got the call on December 11, 2009 that I was pregnant. One of the high moments of my life - I LOVE these women.

I’ve been a little busy lately.