I can remember the strange feeling of adaption when we hauled Finley into our house for the very first time. Nearly six pounds, I sat her carseat on our apartment counter and thought, Okay… so we just start living now? It was a hard and tiring adjustment. She was colicky, she needed constant movement — so Ron and I spent hours upon hours bouncing on a giant exercise ball, and swaying into the night. I swayed and bounced so much I would be dishing myself dinner and bouncing the plate in my hand. Or shampooing my hair and swaying in the shower. The constant rhythms she needed infused my day with uncontrollable relaxation techniques.
I went into labor and had Riv (a nickname for Ronald Vernon Cox V) in a breeze. Naturally, I had my mind set up for domination and my marriage prepped for struggle based off of how exasperating Finley’s labor/birth/postpartum was. It was mind-blowing going from zero kids to one. Our whole life needed changing. On the flipside, it’s been — dare I say it — enjoyable this time around. I’m used to late nights, waking up, changing diapers, bath time, family time, that Riv’s coming into the world hasn’t shaken any ground. He’s a great sleeper, an avid eater and for the most part Finley has happily accepted him as a new member of our family. I’m recovering unbelievably well, and for nine days after birthing a little boy I can karate chop any anxiety I had about bouncing back to being a playful and mindful mom.
I labored for about 12 total hours with Riv, 6 of those spent in the hospital. His birth was quiet and peaceful with only Ron at my side. I did call for my Mom to be next to me in the room, but with a large and quick jump from being 6cm to 9cm, she missed his birth by a minute. Movie-like even, since she busted through the delivery doors as Riv had just been set on my chest. I had an amazing doctor, an amazing nurse: it was just so good. We stayed at the hospital welcoming visitors for about 24 hours, and left the following day.
As of today, my only adjustment is showing equal amounts of love to each kiddo. Making sure I am attentive to Finley’s needs and Riv’s needs without blindsiding either of them.
Ron is home for his second week off of work, and his help has been immeasurable. We’re dividing and conquering two kids like rockstars. I am slightly interested to see how I will adjust to his help being gone when Monday rolls around and he heads back to work.
As for now, a quick little update. Riv has been a great baby. The ying to the yang of Finley’s infant hood, which has been a huge blessing.
(most mornings include quaker cereal and dora on mama’s bed)
Today seems like a milestone. I’m finally thirty weeks pregnant and slowly but surely making my way into the homestretch. Week thirty hit like a train wreck with baby boy sitting on my sciatic nerve and causing lots of pressure, um, downwards. Stings of pain down my legs the last few nights have kept me awake, but I still remind myself of the thankfulness of pregnancy and how worthwhile it truly is. I love that both of my pregnancies have ended in these last few holiday months. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s (now followed by Fin’s second birthday?!) are all yearly highlights for me and it takes the wishing-away-the-end part off my heart. This holiday season is especially significant because Fin is our only child for just two more months — dates, art projects, dance parties, and bed jumping (although when Fin asks to do this I move my arms a lot more than my legs to mock jumping) are daily activities that I’m trying to soak up and do thoughtfully.
I’m starting to feel the urge to “nest” recently. Organizing drawers, tidying up corners: preparing my home and heart physically and emotionally for the arrival of a new person. In the mornings when I wake up tired at 6am from Finley yelling, “MAMA! Mom! Hey! Mom! MOMMY! MA-MA-MA!” I remind myself how awesome a night’s sleep is, and 6am is going to feel a lot more daunting after nightly feedings in the mix. Being grateful for each day. I’m no expert, but I’m working on it.
My stomach is officially smooshed to a dollar’s thickness, and if cravings exist (I hardly have them), a spoonful usually does the trick. I can hardly eat, and most days my largest need is a bowl of yogurt and fresh fruit. Healthy may be my motto this pregnancy, but I still avoid the number on the scale at all costs. Pregnancy is such a mental game, isn’t it? Day-by-day Ron and I try to think positively through the rest of the pregnancy and look forward to the whole “birthing situation”. Although nothing is set in stone, we do feel confident that two children is enough for us. This idea makes it worthwhile to soak up our memories and enjoy the good days.
I’m beginning to feel anxious for the big arrival. Birthing Finley was an experience I did nothing to prepare for. The pain was astonishing and my attitude wasn’t pretty. This time around I’m spending lots of time inward — focusing, journaling, readying my mind and world for the big day. Mostly, the idea of ordering off a menu for two days with no cooking and no clean-up sounds majestic. I can’t wait for that.
This week embarks a whole new chapter in my life. I’m finished with being the Assistant Editor for Oregon Bride Magazine (although I’ve been invited to write for them when I want to) and foresee lots of new family time etched into my day. One guilt-trip I’ve dealt with as a Mom is the constant emailing and computer-checking I’ve had to do as a contract writer. Having a home office was a dream, but work followed me where ever I went. I’m happy to set aside working for now and begin a new phase of life. I’m exponentially grateful Ron’s job is fruitful enough for me to make that choice.
Bedtime is calling my name. Ron remade the bed last week with our heated mattress pad — so now, 30 minutes before bed I heat up my side and dive into warmed covers. For anyone, but especially a pregnant lady, it’s heaven. Sunday night means Ron and I get to catch up on our latest and favorite TV shows while Fin sleeps in her room. Back when we were childless, getting hooked on a TV series was our thing. With little time these days to do it, zoning out for an hour with “Homeland” on is our Sunday pajama party routine.
Until next time.
This glimpse into daily life might be a little strange since Ron is (NON VISIBLY!) in the bathroom. But, I feel like this is a great window into our world: Finley being a non-stop talker who needs all eyes on her. It’s long, I know, but it makes me laugh. She is persistent, isn’t she?
Why is there joy in being a grateful person instead of an expectant one? As humans, and lots of times as women, we are coached to navigate life with the idea that things make us happy. Biggie’s always said it right, mo’ money mo’ problems – but it’s not just until recently in life that my mind has grasped the concept. Money isn’t bad, it’s when money blindfolds us and we lose concepts of gratefulness and humility that it unravels our hearts – and for me, it took a really long time to realize it. In fact, it took becoming poor to grasp what gratefulness is, and how truly – it doesn’t revolve around money at all.
One year ago if Ron was to show his love for me, it was bringing home a no water soy chai. They’re my favorite, and it didn’t matter how much I really truly desired a drink – it was the comfort of a chai in my hand. Or the comfort of a new pair of shoes, buying new soft towels, or going out to try a new restaurant. Funny enough, although I was sure those things brought me joy, I was never fully content after finishing my chai, or wearing my new shoes, wrapping up in a newly soft towel, or finishing an excellent meal at a new dinner spot. It was like a drug. From what I’ve heard, taking hard drugs for the first time brings an amazing experience – but one that is never adequately felt again. It takes more drugs to get the high you want, and therefore the dirty cycle begins. Hello modern America – consumerism. Rhymes with som-super-ism and tastes like cocaine. (I would imagine)
When Ron and I moved to Salem we said goodbye to a large chunk of income. At the time we were like, “Totes! Here comes saving more and spending less!” and when I moved to Salem I started having with-drawls. It’s a human internal temper tantrum. I fought with my heart for relying so much on “stuff” that I let my pride swallow my sorrows and became bitter. I had built my life on expectancies, and now life was letting me down. Hey life, we’ve been bffz for like 23 years and, like, stop, cause like, I’m talking like this right now, and I’m going to tell on you.
Call me crazy because this is going to sound insane, but then God spoke to me. Not in a dream on a white horse, but more like listen girlfriend, get it together. It was not long into living in Salem that I had two special people in my life give me a chapter in the bible to read. For me. From God. And I was all… um, I’ll read it later. (big mistake)
Later came and I was billowing with resentment for arbitrary things. We can’t afford soy latte’s, we can’t afford to buy a new car seat, and we can’t afford anything besides rent – and I opened up my bible to read “from God”, and thought, holy sh*t. Along with this chapter given to me, there were some amazingly true words,“God is going to provide for you in this new season of life, and he wants you to be expectant of it”. In my head: provisions = money and money sounds like a trip to Mexico so WE’RE GOING TO MEXICO and I’ll buy that cute new suit from Anthro online. Thx, God, K Bye.
But, like the God I grew up learning about, it turns out he threw a wrench in my plan to make me learn. So, about a month went by and I started to really grasp what God was trying to teach me. Gratefulness. Being grateful with really, really, small things. Which, the longer we’ve been poor those really small things are starting to become much bigger than I once thought.
God has been providing so much for us lately it has been blowing my mind and simultaneously making me realize, God is real. From date nights being handed to us, baby items being given to us, friendships being built, and items needing replacement being handed to us (ie: someone handed me like-new pampered chef pots and pans the other day) it hasn’t been the cold-hard-cash I expected to receive when I heard God would “provide”, but it’s been so much better. It’s taught me how to be expectant through God and not through my paycheck. To be grateful to get that one gingerbread latte I had this season and really truly feel blessed to drink it. To be grateful that although our “things” aren’t updated versions Finley has toys and clothes and a hot shower everyday – and why was I so hard on my life a year ago?
I got mixed up with the wrong crowd – the idea that money buys you happiness and you have to keep on getting and buying and purchasing and receiving to be grateful and live with joy. When in reality, I took a drug and all I wanted was more.
God told me that when my heart shifted I would see things new. And I do.
“So you’ll go out in joy,
you’ll be led into a whole and complete life.
The mountains and hills will lead the parade,
bursting with song.
All the trees of the forest will join the procession,
exuberant with applause.
No more thistles, but giant sequoias,
no more thornbushes, but stately pines—
Monuments to me, to God,
living and lasting evidence of God.”
I can’t say finding time to get on my blog and write is an easy process. As values, priorities, and attentions shift — my eyes look at the pile of unwashed dishes in the sink, or the quiet hurl of our chihuahua throwing up on our bathroom rug. Needless to say, sitting down and writing down my thoughts has seemed overwhelming. Even now. What do I have to write about, and where do I start this catch-up?
Let’s bring it to the pregnancy. Since I updated the blog last I have hit my final trimester and have embraced the wide-stepped pregnant waddle as my get-around. This pregnancy is going great, and compared to my pregnancy with Finley, I have nothing to complain about. No nausea, no aversions (except watching people eat meat off of a bone. ie: chicken legs, wings: barf), no signs of trouble. If I’m getting used to anything lately, it’s the constant — and I mean CONSTANT — swirling and twirling from this boy. The kid moves 24 hours a day, which brings my two complaints: lack of sleep, and sore muscles. The last couple of days I’ve felt the return of that barely-pregnant exhaustion. Even after resting during Finley’s nap I’m yawning mid-conversation and laying my head down when I get the chance.
Finley is grasping the idea of an all-new family member, and routinely gives the little guy big hugs and kisses. We’ve started implementing baby boy’s clothes and details to Finley’s room, since based on space the two littles will be sharing. Which honestly, I love the idea. Lots of my childhood memories stem from bedtime books with my siblings, and late night stories together. Fin is growing up so fast (so cliche, but so true!) and has a Pacific Ocean sized vocabulary. This means Ron and I have capped off our slippery lips and tried hard to be better examples vocally .
I am gearing up for the new addition as well — preparing my heart and mind and eyelids for domination. My motto this time around is to set low expectations and ask for help when I need it. Two things I did terribly wrong the first time around. I’m feeling lots of pressure this pregnancy (as in, my under region), and thinking it has a lot to do with the fact that my muscles have been used once before. My aches and pains are tolerant but definitely dull and constant as I lead into these last few months. Therein brings my joy to have this baby and start the process of getting back into shape, and slowing down my trips to the bathroom. Those happen about 1234567891011213 times a day.
A big life shift will be becoming a full-time mom: with no outside priorities. As of right now, I work as an assistant editor for Oregon Bride Magazine, but have put in my notice that this will be my last issue. It will be sad to step away from the magazine, but I feel confident this choice is the best for me. I’ve already felt a burden lifted as I’ve slowly been getting less work to do. It’s a great feeling.
Ron is still working at Corban University, and has been promoted to being their Director of Graphic Design. We’re attending church in Salem on a regular basis (a first for us), and going to a couple small groups on the side. Trying our best to get immediately grounded in Salem, we’ve been making progress with building community around us. It does feel strange being back in Salem, and I do find myself missing the amenities of Portland, but it feels very right to live here and we are adjusting well.
I do see myself making major strides in life lately — being grateful for small things and finding sublime in the mundane. Ron and I have geared down a new lifestyle that is “living within our means” and it has been a learning transition for both of us . It’s funny how having a lessened ability to do/pay for/experience makes a grateful heart for when special moments and times do come along. I’ve been documenting how God has been providing for us and it has been astounding to see it happen day-to-day.
I wish I had an updated gallery of photos to share, but I really do lots of Instagram’n – so feel free to peek and follow my photos if you want up-to-date check ins: http://instagram.com/brittanynoellecox
As for now, I have cinnamon rolls raising, and swedish meatballs cooking (from Ikea. God Bless all things Ikea besides furniture). Fin and her Daddy are jumping on the bed and I can hear her yelling “BLAST OFF!” before she is thrown to the pile of blankets. They have too much fun together, and with all their rough-housing, I think a little boy is going to fit right in.