Friday, March 25, 2016

Joanna is 6 Months Old!

Our baby girl turned six months old today. SIX MONTHS OLD - I cannot even believe it.

The biggest fear I had when we learned that we were expecting a baby was how in the world I would function on less than 8 hours of sleep every night. It's not like I now know how it's possible to function, I just know that it's possible. Can you believe that I wasn't even scared about all the things I didn't know about being a parent? Somehow, just like you learn how to function on far less sleep - you also learn how to listen to your "gut" when making parenting decisions. I'm incredibly thankful that I don't have to partake on this journey alone because where I lack parenting knowledge, Brad definitely excels. Like two peas in a pod, like ying and yang, we've survived this thing called parenting together.

You hear it all the time, how is it possible that you can love the way you love when you become a parent? I don't know the answer to that question either! But now as a parent, I truly appreciate all of the love, support and sacrifices that my parents have given me over my entire life. I hope that one day when Jo is old enough to understand, she can say the same about her mama and dada.

I am in awe at every new skill and sound Joanna makes. I am also amazed when I see her learn or discover something new. Every step of way, I have absolutely enjoyed watching her grow! Right now her favorite thing to do is sit up - sit up in her reclining chair, sit up on her changing table, sit up on the floor, on the bed, everywhere!

I am incredibly proud of Brad and I. This sound so cheesy, I know. But I'm so proud that we've worked together to find a "system" that works for our family. I'm so proud that even when we are so frustrated and tired and cranky - we still try put that aside to give Jo what she needs. I am so proud that we survived every change that has transpired over the last six months. It hasn't been easy. It's probably been a hell of a lot harder than either of us imagined it would be, but I'm proud that we are doing it. I'm proud that we've grown stronger in our faith with God and our faith within ourselves.

I'm amazed at how parenthood changes people. We've tried our hardest to hold on to the interests, hobbies and individuals we used to be before Joanna joined our family. We've tried to get outside with the dogs, go for runs, read books, be career driven, eat healthy - continue to live the life we previously lived. It's been one of the biggest challenges we've had as a family - to balance Jo's needs with our personal needs as well. Everyday isn't perfect, but I think everyday we make an effort and that's what's most important.

I'm surprised by how much I have enjoyed our breastfeeding journey. I debated for years if I really wanted children. When I met Brad and I learned how to cook and I learned how to be crafty, I also saw how much I wanted to have a family with him. I imagined breastfeeding my child because both of our moms did it. But in the beginning I didn't feel a bond or connection with Jo the way other moms described nursing. I felt like feeding her was my duty as a woman because I could produce milk. As time passed and Jo became more interactive (probably around the time she learned to smile 6-8 weeks?), I really began appreciating our nursing time together and this feeling has only grown exponentially. This is truly one of those things that you can only understand after experiencing it (and I'm sure even then, everyone's experience is different). After 1 week of not nursing Jo, I really became sad that our journey was over and I realized that I wasn't ready for it to end. Luckily it was just a hiccup and we are back at it.

I'm saddened that I don't make an effort for my friends in Florida. Life is busy and when it's not busy, I try really hard to be in the moment with Jo. I try to sit on the floor and play with her, I try to sing in the kitchen, talk to her, do anything to make her smile or laugh. But I'm sad that I don't text old friends or call them as frequently as I previously did. I probably hide behind the excuse that we live 2 thousand miles away - but I just don't want to live my life staring at my phone 24/7. Every time I hold my phone in my hand and hold Jo on my hip, she reaches out for it. And I'm quickly reminded that if I want to raise her to live more "unplugged" and in the moment... I need to set a good example and put the phone down so that I can live in the moment myself.

Our lives have changed pretty drastically over the last six months. We had a baby, sold our house, lived in a small town with grandma that had NO GROCERY STORE (how did we survive that lol), moved to Texas, started 2 new jobs and I started traveling for work. When I look back and think about how we did it, all I know is that we couldn't have done it alone - I thank God for guiding us and helping us. I also thank our family for believing in us. I'm sure it was hard to watch us go - it was hard for us to leave! But anytime we've needed their help, they've always been on the other end of the telephone.. they've also been there at the airport to pick us up and drop us off.

On Tuesday, Brad and I celebrated 2 years of marriage. On Wednesday, we celebrated 6 months of parenting. Joanna is our biggest accomplishment to date. As she continues to grow, she will probably be the biggest accomplishment of our lives.

Happy 6 months baby girl, mama and dada love you more than you could ever imagine. 


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