May 23, 2013


Tonight Nate was performing his evening penance of rubbing my back when I finally tried to verbalize what I've been feeling this week. Me: "babe, did we make a mistake in having another baby?" Nate: "um, seriously, we're having this baby in, like, 5 days." Me: "i know, and we're about to wreck everything. Clementine is perfect and enough and I'm really actually super satisfied with just her." Nate: "um, seriously, we're having this baby in, like, 5 days."
Since seeing my doctor on Friday, and since scheduling my c-section for Memorial Day morning, I've totally changed my tune. I used to be all "la la la, I want this baby out this minute. dum dee dum dum I'm so ready not to be pregnant anymore." And now, now that the surgery is scheduled and come 8am Memorial Day morning I'll be nearly cut into two separate pieces while my beloved doc thrust her arm into my torso up to her elbow and pulls out a new member or my family, I'm back peddling. My tune sounds more like, "I HATE being pregnant (as thankful as I am to be so) but can I push a pause button someplace, recoup some energy cycles, and just plaaaaaay with Clementine all summer long. Just the two of us dee dum."
I love my kid. She is smart and funny and spontaneous and soooo random. She loves to laugh and make others laugh. She is great at giving compliments. She yells, "toot" whenever she...toots. And loves it when Nate and I burp (which, if you've ever been around a pregnant often). She loves to get dirty and play with toy sharks and be outside. She sings! She dances! There is a million versions of her smile and each one makes you feel like a million bucks.
So, who in their right mind would ever want more than what I already have? Who would want to introduce a distraction from the most amazing person ever to be born? WHAT HAVE WE DONE? These are the thoughts that have passed unceasingly thru my head. I took Clementine to This is The Place park a few days ago, which sidenote was a perilous endeavor for someone of my pregnancy level, but I did it because when else could I and how could she turn two without having ever petted a baby goat or rested one tiny little finger on the top of a baby chick's downy head? HOW? So we went. And I sweated mighty rivers. If you were there on Tuesday and you saw a woman that was totally pregnant and pitting out and drenched in a gallon of her own sweat...that was me.
Clementine embraced the baby animals with nothing less than 100% of her love. She squatted right over the sleeping baby goats, patted them on the tummies, and said, "soooo cute". She gently rubbed her fingers through the wool of the baby lambs and declared, "sooo soft". The pot belly pig, while in a pen, was a highlight. And the baby chick? Now I know how she will be with baby Busy. So gentle and sweet and ADORABLE. Every time her pointer finger softly touched the top of the chick's head she would say, "cheap". The pony ride was a no-go. I was disappointed because what mom doesn't want her girl to be fearless and embrace every opportunity. But she is MY daughter after all which means she does realize that the only horses you can trust are the ones my dad, "Pop", has trained. Period. Anything else is taking your life into your own hands.


Aside from the baby animals I've tried to do something special with just me and Clem every day. We've painted pictures (which has quickly become her OBsessions). We've played in her shark pool. We take walks and sing and dance and eat cookies whenever we damn please. And I've been so tired and felt so disgusting and I've had the time of my life. Like, queue up the song from Dirty Dancing because "I've haaad the time of my liiiiife."

I know what will happen though. I know that by 10am on Memorial Day I'll be gazing into a pair of dark eyes, kissing a soft cheek and holding a tiny wilted hand and I'll be like, "Okay, you can come play with us. We'll make room." And then the three of us will hold hands and skip off into the sunset. Or something like that.
When I had Clementine my heart literally broke. I held her and tended to her in the hospital for ten days and it just broke. And when it grew back together it was a little bigger and softer and began communicating regularly with my tear ducts. And I know that once Busy is more than this little body that kicks me incessantly with all six of her legs, my heart will break again. And what I'll be left with will be a superman strength heart that will become even more annoying on Facebook and Instagram with all the "my babies are better than your babies" posts. I'm sorry about that by the way. Every baby is perfect and beautiful. Mine just happens to be a smidge more-so.
So once again, this blog has served more as a personal therapy session. I have a fear, I stew over it for days and nights, I decide to blog about it, and voila! I come to some conclusion on my own that makes me feel a little better.
So I guess I'm still basically excited for Beatrice to be born. Busy, don't take offense to any of this when you are 13 and snooping through my personal stuff, it's not that I didn't love you from the moment you existed, it's just that I was super busy being completely in love with your older sister. And this, as it turns out, is a good thing because it was all good practice for loving you, too.

May 20, 2013


First I have to explain that before I had Clementine I HATED animated movies. I couldn't stand how predictable they were, how animals talked, how so many of them were about princesses. And the singing...oh, the singing killed me. Get on with it, tell a story without singing so many songs for heaven's sake.

Then I had Clementine and while I still don't love the genre I put up with it. I put up with it every. single. day. Especially lately because I've become so pregnant and tired and impossibly sick. So queue up the movies and let's have a party.

Clementine first became interested in Finding Nemo. We found Nemo every morning. The first time I watched it with Clem was fun because she loved it. Then the next 30 times came and went and I was very capable of reciting the movie word for word. And the next 30 have really just become an exercise in ignoring what is happening. But unable to completely block out that little clown fish I've learned many lessons. Here are a few.

First, does anyone else really hate Marlin? I mean, he is such a complaining, whining, fish that never takes ownership of anything. I admire his tenacity in finding Nemo but good grief, he is a complete pain in the ass.

1. Don't doubt your children. Even if you don't believe in your heart that they are capable of doing something, never ever let it show. Everyone deserves to have a super fan in their life; someone who believes in them 110%. Be that person. Be the person that encourages them and not the one that teaches them to doubt themselves and fear failure.

2. Love makes us brave. When you have someone to love and someone that loves are a more brave, strong and determined individual. I know this from experience. When you find people that make you brave, let them know how much it means to you and never let them go.

3. Fear makes us unproductive and miserable. As much as you can, trust the world and people in it. There is so much more good than bad and you can accomplish a lot more when you don't focus so much on your fears. If you trust yourself it is much easier to trust others.

4. You can find great friends in unexpected places. Be open to recognizing personal connections. Consider them gifts and grab hold. I love it when my path crosses with someone and I know in an instant that we have the makings of a beautiful friendship. Some people are just good solid friends and you love and cherish them. Others literally come into your life and fill a spot that must have been saved just for them. These are the friends that are really family in disguise.

5. Doing things that scare you almost always pay off in the end. So challenge yourself and get a little scared. Just see what you learn and how much more amazing you become as a result.

That's about as much deep thought as I want to devote to Nemo. Besides, we've moved on to new content like Fabulous Mr. Fox and Tangled. And teaching these lessons to Clem is gonna be a challenge because as I was typing this out I realized just how cheesy and self-improvementy these things sound. If I try to say half this stuff to Clem when she is old enough to understand it...she'll blow me off as the lamest person around.


March 18, 2013


(A love note to my unborn daughter)

Dear Beazus,
Your beautiful name is actually Beatrice but we started calling you Beazus while you are in my tummy and it has kind of stuck. Plus, if you could hear how cute Clementine says it you'd totally understand why Beazus is really the absolute most charming and lovely thing you could ever be called. What I should call you is Busy. Because you are oh, so busy kicking and twirling and jabbing me. I anticipate seeing you for the first time and realizing you are actually an octopus. This would make so much sense, actually.

Clementine and I say a prayer every night and we always talk about you. How we are excited to meet you. How we pray you are healthy and stay in my tummy long enough to grow a tangled mop of hair just like Clem has. Pray for me too? Mostly for energy and patience. Being trapped in this body right now, in the state it's in, well, it's hell. But you are worth it; no doubt in my mind you are worth every tear I've shed so far and every tear that has yet to fall. 

Tonight some of your cousins dropped by. You should have seen how completely adorable Clementine was with little Cole. All she wanted to do was kiss him and hold his bottle. She even gave him the cutest high-five when he stretched open one of his little hands. Get ready to have the BEST big sister ever. She will love you and teach you and share with you as best she can. I know you will grow up admiring her and guess what, so will I.

I guess the last thing I have is a warning or a series of warnings, really. I'm warning you that you're in for a wild ride with this family. Your dad is off-the-charts CRAZY and will probably make you pee your pants well into adulthood. Be prepared to have your toes and legs and neck and belly nibbled on by all of us. We can't help it, we are part carnivore when it comes to baby flesh. We sing about everything. Clementine can vouch for this next one: I will love you so much that sometimes I'll just stare at you. Don't ask me what I'm thinking about during those times because oh, I could write a book about that. 


This is your sister, and she is so rad. Promise.

March 02, 2013


Some of my close friends and family will remember when I was about 6-months pregnant with Clementine I worried that I didn't love her or that I was going to be a terrible mother. I didn't sit for hours and think about her or imagine how life would be with her. Probably, mostly, because I really had no idea what to imagine or think. Motherhood and a tiny baby were just beyond my ability to pretend.

So actually, I don't think I was one of those moms who bonded with their unborn baby. I mean, I was happy to be pregnant, happy for the chance to be a mom, grateful that she was growing healthy and strong. But I just didn't feel mom-like or get overwhelmed with loving her. Not until those first few minutes, hours, and days at the hospital.

Our first encounter was a few minutes after she was born. I was super high on morphine but managed to lift one of my 85 pound arms to her tiny head as a nurse held her close enough for me to see and touch. My first words to her were, "hi baby". Swaddled up she looked even smaller than 4.5 lbs and in my drugged out pillow brain I almost thought I had given birth to nothing more than a baby head.

About six hours later I finally coaxed one of the nurses to break every hospital rule and take her out of the nursery and bring her to me so I could see her with a clear head. So I could hold her with arms that didn't feel like they actually weighed 85 lbs each. I held her for about 30 minutes before word got out that I had a preemie baby outside of the nursery and she had to go back. But "hi baby" and 30 minutes was all I needed to fall for her hook, line, and sinker.

Everyday this kid, this little girl who once was born half the size of our 8 lb cat Agnes, will do or say something that turns my heart into a big clump of gummy bears. In these moments it is best if I'm not driving or doing anything that requires logic and reason. Because I don't have any. The only thing I'm really capable of doing is breathing in and out and falling even deeper in love with her. I'm fairly certain that is my new job; I fall for this kid again and again, every single day.

So the fact that I'm six months pregnant with baby girl #2 and not feeling a really strong maternal bond doesn't freak me out the way it did with Clemmy. I know it will come. It will come when we meet and every moment after that. Just like Jerry McGuire, she'll have me at "hi baby".

January 10, 2013


Subtitle: This reinvention is something that continues to change every. single. day. Today's post is a simple snapshot in time of the me I am right now. Tomorrow I may be a slightly different version. Hopefully a better one.

I'm learning to, or rather I'm being forced to, become less vain. It's something we all say we want to do, but ultimately that means letting a lot of our pretenses go. De-vaining is super liberating but oh, so painful and emotionally overwhelming. It's also not that fun.

A few years ago it was really super dooper important that my house always appear clean. These days, clean is relative and oh my if you could see the dust in some places or the disorganization happening in my closet or the bag I haven't completely unpacked since our Christmas visit to Logan. Just the fact that I feel comfortable enough to mention this publicly should show how well I'm progressing.

A few years ago I really took my personal style seriously. I'd bow to some of the trends but mostly I tried to dress to the beat of my own drum. I also spent hours thinking about and working toward not gaining weight. Now I wear the yoga pants and wash my hair twice a week and one of my new year goals was to not gain that much more weight. Hah pregnancy!

This morning at 9:55 my friend Kelly sent me a text asking if Clem and I wanted to go to story time at the library at 10:15. The library is probably 10 minutes away. There I sat, in yesterday's yoga pants (p.s. I haven't done yoga in about 4 years), my hair hadn't been washed since Monday, I still had makeup on from yesterday, and my teeth weren't brushed just yet. I looked at Clem, obviously already growing bored of the games we always play and I just had to take her. I brushed my teeth but not my hair. I threw on a jacket, wiped the makeup from under my eyes, a little lipgloss and we bolted out the door.

While I was there I got a library card, too. I'm that girl now. Yay me!

I love how social Clem is. She just walked up to this boy during play time and started riffling through blocks with him. She is so independent. And she is oh, so cute.

January 08, 2013


Let me preface this post by saying that I love the two ladies who did wear sequins and I think it is fabulous of them to do so.

When you are 41 and pregnant, plus you are chasing a toddler around the house who only recently figured out how fun it is to walk, it's just plain hell. The first few months were a blur. I was so tired/sick/sick/tired that I was in survival mode and yesterday's clothes all the time. My best moments were in the morning so I made sure to be all the mom I could be early in the day, mostly so Clem wouldn't hate me for being curled up in a ball or gagging over a toilet from about 2pm on.

Oh, and also, thank you to the makers of Yo Gabba Gabba for getting us through. It may not be the best thing for a kid to watch that much TV, but she learned cool songs and dance moves and I could lay on the couch and die a quiet, pathetic death while learning the importance of baby steps vs big steps.

Just a few days before Christmas we did a gender ultrasound and found out we are having another girl. Yahooo. Don't get me wrong...I love boys. I married one. I think they are cool and cute and essential to the human race. But having one baby girl makes it feel like all the babies in the whole world should be girls. Does that make sense? It does to me. Nate said he wanted a boy but the first word out of his mouth when we learned her gender was, "yay". It's nice to know those coats and shoes that were worn six times will get used another six before they go into full retirement.

We'll probably call her Beatrice.

So by New Year's Eve I was 17 weeks and feeling a little better. Mostly not queasy and able to manage any remaining quease with the magic of ReliefBand. Get one. Trust me.

We were getting together with a few friends for dinner and party afterward and I seriously wasn't looking forward to any of it for one main reason. I'm big. Like EVERYWHERE big. Not just the cute barely there baby bump kind of big that you may expect at 17 weeks. Also, having a fibroid the size of a softball in my uterus has made it really uncomfortable to wear clothes. So while I know I have the option to go get a few cute maternity pieces, I'm less inclined to do so because I probably won't wear them much. All I do wear, all that is really comfortable, is some version of the yoga pant, a tunic or tee, and Ugg boots (that Nate got me for Christmas and that I love. Thanks honey). Pressure of any kind on my stomach is basically out of the question painful.

So back to New Year's Eve. I just didn't have the energy to try and look good (good being relative). My two girlfriends going to dinner, who I love (remember?), are gorgeous. And one is even pregnant and just a month behind me. But she is still a size 2. And the other is just thin to begin with and they are both super pretty and they dress great and have amazing style and I just knew they were gonna look "new year's eve" fabulous next to my "you're lucky I even came" style.

About 30 minutes before we needed to leave for dinner I moped into the bathroom to try and make the best of a seriously depressing situation. I put on eyeliner (I rarely do this) and eye shadow (I NEVER do this) and I combed my hair. I stood there looking at my almost familiar face in the mirror, a little heavier, looking older and more tired, and I thought, "eff it". I just couldn't do any more than that. All the blogs and Pinterest posts and Instagram photos were sifting through my head and I had all these expectations about how I was suppose to look. But "eff it".

That "eff it" moment was big for me.Because I normally would have tried on everything in my closet. Looking blindly for the one combination that would make me look like I used to look. Like I still had style and self respect. But there, standing in front of the mirror wearing a striped tee, yoga pants, and my Uggs, I made a decision. "Let them wear sequins", I said. This is me right now. This is who I am. I know I have style hidden under these layers of motherhood and pregnancy pounds. And that style can come out and play later when it's time. But right now I'm not going to even entertain the idea of anything other than what I am. I turned off the light and walked out wearing just what I had on before. No stylishly mismatched layers or belts or heals. No skinny jeans or tailored jackets. Just me and my knits.

So there I was in a swanky, dimly lit sushi restaurant. I was the only one with a toddler on my hip (babysitters on new year's eve...yeah, right), I was the only one essentially wearing pajamas, I was the only one who probably also felt insanely comfortable and warm and finally, FINALLY, okay with it.

Don't get me wrong, I really do still wish I was  a size 2 pregnant girl with shiny hair and glowing skin. I promise I'd be so very cute. But I'm not so I'm choosing to be okay and even grateful for what I actually am which is a healthy body engaged in a bit of a miracle. Also, I have the biggest boobs known to man. So there's that.

p.s. how cute is Clementine in this picture?

September 14, 2012


It's been so long since I updated the blog that the entire blogger interface has changed. Blame it on what I think is post-partum or the side effects from Zoloft (to treat the post-partum), or the fact that I have a baby whose face I could stare at from sun up to sun down and never ever get bored. Blame it on one or all of those things. Anyway, here I am.
Every night after Clementine has had a bath and is safely snuggled in her jammies, cuddling with her pal "hippo" and laying in my lap sucking feverishly on her bottle I turn off the lights, listen to her suck and swallow and suck and swallow and I say a prayer. A few things dominate the prayer every night. 1) how insanely grateful I am to have her; healthy, happy, dorky perfect little Clementine Imogen Conger. 2) that she always knows without a doubt that she is loved by me, Nate, God and Jesus. 3) that she will grow to be confident, brave, happy, kind, forgiving, strong, and gracious. There also might be something in there about "please sleep through the night" but I can't be certain.
Dr. Phil says the biggest influence on a child's life is the same gender parent. Um, folks, that's me. I'm carrying that yoke. Me. The self deprecating, overly anxious, slightly lazy, incredibly insecure girl over in the corner wishing she was home wearing sweats and eating Nutella with a spoon.
I've gotta pull myself together. I've got to become graceful and brave and kind to myself and others. I've gotta mellow out and stop obsessing over being perfect. My neurosis is the absolute last thing I wanna pass on to my daughter.
The amazing and very unexpected twist in this story is that Clementine is probably the biggest influence in my life right now, too. The little girl that poops in her pants and would eat a dead mouse if she found one on the floor. She is so mellow and comfortable in her own skin. Things make her happy. I make her happy. She is unabashedly social and has this gift for drawing people out and making them smile. She is healthy. She's not perfect. She encourages me to act foolish and talk to strangers and take her to the zoo even when I'm feeling particularly fat that day. It turns out, elephants don't give a damn how much you weigh.
And then I started wondering if Clementine is saying her own little prayer at night while I rock her to sleep. A prayer for me. A prayer about how she is so grateful to have me, here, healthy, to take care of her and make her laugh and teach her how to be authentically dorky. Maybe she is praying that I'll know I'm loved by her, my parents and Nate and Heavenly Father and Jesus, too. And I like to think she is also praying that I'll grow up to be confident, brave, happy, kind, forgiving, strong, and gracious. Also, I'm pretty sure there is something in her prayer about when she wakes up at 2am that I'll hear her and come rock her back to sleep because she really just want to know that I'm still there even when it's dark.

Clementine is now 13-months old. She knows lots of words and animal sounds. Her favorite books are I Want My Hat Back and Barnyard Dance. She started crawling shortly after her first birthday and loves climbing stairs. She also (pictured above) prefers to cut her teeth on large pieces of dirty bark selected from the flowerbed where cats have peed and birds have undoubtedly died. I tell myself it will just put hair on her chest. I love her.