the present

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Do you ever feel like you're living in slow motion? No matter what you do, you can't seem to speed things up a little? It's not that you want your days to zip on past you, but you're just a little bit tired of them always feeling a bit sluggish.

Do you ever feel like your life won't slow down? You can't seem to ever find a moment to simply step back and breathe. It's all one big, scary blur, and you're starting to feel a little lost int he whirlwind of diapers and editing and maintaining your husband's pile of laundry.

Like a thong betwixt a pair of buns, I'm caught in between.

I realize that may sound like an oxymoron. How can  your life be racing past you, yet simultaneously creeping along like that tiny old grandma who somehow always ends up in front of you on the highways? I catch myself having nostalgic moments at the most random times. Sawyer has really been loving forks lately. With the confidence and expertise of a child much older, she has transformed into a utensil-bearing baby (my scary reality). Every time she brings a speared bite of avocado to her lips, my heart breaks a smidge. Where did my baby go? Time, won't you stop for just a little bit?

On the other hand, I find myself consistently praying to make it through the week. Whenever Sawyer has a mini meltdown because weaning is apparently the hardest thing that's every happened in her fifteen months on earth or I get bored copy editing whatever novel I'm working on or I wish Gram could be a stay-at-home parent with me, I pray that my days will zip right on by. The stpud tick tok of the clock toys with me as time slinks on by. I can't help but wish it were tomorrow or next week or summer or next baby or time for babies to go to school. And so on and son on. Maybe it'll get easier then. Maybe when Sawyer can dress herself, I'll be able to take a longer than five-minute shower. Maybe then I'll have the energy to muster up a decent meal for my family. (Ha.)

Neither one of these mentalities is beneficial. Neither is satisfying. On the one hand, I never want to experience anything other than my current routine. I'm desperately clinging to the moments of today, never wanting my redheaded girl to gain another pound or learn another word. And yet, I want my present situation to speed right along to an easier time. (Again I say, ha.)

These perspectives make us miss things, BIG things. Our most satisfying moments are the daily makeup of our lives. Do we really want to miss it because our attention was elsewhere? Well, I sure don't. I want to find pleasure in my present, a true contentment in my day to day. I don't want to be constantly looking forward, no do I wish to be fixated with the rearview mirror. Because somehow I know, no matter what stage of life I'm in, my sinful heart will never be fully satiated. Without the contentment of Christ, I'll always be looking ahead or staring behind instead of enjoying the blessings of my present. 

mother's day

Monday, May 11, 2015

I spent my second Mother's Day saying goodbye to my family (this gets harder every time), seeing old friends, and driving ten hours with a 15-month-old. If you haven't combined your baby and a road trip, you haven't really lived. Or you're just a heck of a lot smarter than me.

Between scream-singing with Grahm and drooling on the front seat during one of many naps (I'm an excellent road trip buddy), I quietly mused on the life-changing whirlwind of motherhood. There are many aspects of caring for a wild child I could describe for you (lots of poop, lots of Ritz crackers), how I've changed as a person (lots of being covered in poop or Ritz crackers), and how much my heart has swelled with love (despite the poop and Ritz crackers) for a tiny red-head.

But one of my favorite parts of having a sweet baby is watching my family and friends love her. This last week in Nashville, my family spoke my love language of diaper changes and REM cycles. They loved on Sawyer, changed her diapers, took her to the park, fed her (no small feat), and let me sleep till glorious 9 o'clock. (No wonder it's hard coming back home.)

I am so lucky to be Sawyer's mother and to have so many wonderful people in my life who love my baby just as much as I do.

Fri-DIY, a play kitchen

Friday, May 1, 2015

Don't quote me, but Fridays are going to be DIY day over here at Nestfull. Grahm and I have been up to several projects since the start of the New Year, and I wanted to share a few for those interested (hi, Mom). 

Because we want our daughter to know her place is in the kitchen (wink wink), we made a play kitchen for her first birthday. I wasn't in blogging mode in January, so I don't have a ton of pictures (try any) of the process, but I'll try to explain the steps. I like this project because you can be as cheap or extravagant as you want. We opted for a bit on the pricey side, since it was her birthday present (and obviously she really cares about beadboard and trim).

I scored this jankosaurus entertainment center on Craigslist for a whoppin' $10. These things are always in Goodwill, too. They're like grandma's varicose veins, not hard to find.
First, we moved the wall of shelves over to the right. I wanted them to be even with the cabinet door underneath, so we moved and cut the boards accordingly. (I say "we," you know I mean Grahm.) This isn't necessary, but I thought it looked more aesthetically pleasing.

I painted the entire thing in Sherwin Williams Rainwashed (same as our bedroom), cut 50% white, and the inside is purple for an extra pop! Next we added some beadboard to the back. Again, unnecessary but pretty! We tacked it in with some finishing nails and then added some quarter round trim to give it a nice finish. We made a panty door out of trim and chalkboard MDF. Two hinges and a cute knob and bam! A pantry is born.
We used a jigsaw to cut a hole for the sink (It's very helpful to buy a bowl with a good lip on it.) and faucet. Since we changed a pedestal sink in one of our bathrooms, we just happened to have a spare faucet. Measuring in the little stove space, we set the four stovetop burners where we wanted them. I painted them gray before we screwed them in.
With my handy 40%-off coupon, I snagged the four oven knobs from Hobby Lobby. Grahm made them a little loose, so they actually turn when she grabs them. Next, we changed the orientation of the left cabinet door so that it would open like an oven (from the top). We added a sleek oven handle and one just a little bigger to the right of the sink for a washcloth. Using a jigsaw, Grahm cut the inner square of the cabinet door and tacked on some Plexiglass (which Sawyer has already broken).
Try to ignore the exercise orb in the corner. (Hey girl, hey!)

My mama sewed this adorable three-ruffle skirt for under the sink. We used a dowel rod to hang it.
I hung a picture of a meadow in an IKEA frame to give the appearance of window. This easy fabric banner (seriously, just tie fabric around a piece of yarn) added some color around the frame. 

And voila! This is one of my favorite projects because Grahm and I got to create something that Sawyer will love for years to come. Next up, a tool station!

What would you have done differently?

Stove Burners (painted gray)

boob, party of one

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

There's nothing quite like strolling up to your car on a chilly evening with your giddy baby and a cart full of groceries only to come to the terrifying realization that your keys aren't with you...

Your hands begin to sweat as you furiously fumble through your purse. No. No. No. This can't be happening. You double and triple check your bag, your pockets, and your mischievous baby who has recently mastered the subtle art of thievery. Nothing. Oh my god. The worst has happened.

You pull up to your car window and see the lost set of keys unabashedly plopped next to your kid's car seat. Bad word. Bad word. Baaaaad word. They're in plain sight, cruelly taunting you as you stand outside tangoing with the desire to burst into your best ugly woman cry or fat man chuckle.

You choose the former.

You frantically call your husband, thankful it's already time for him to come home. Phew. We'll be waiting ten or fifteen minutes, tops. No answer. You text him a myriad of sad emojis. No reply. You repeat this process a good 700 times before you realize that he's in the middle of a soccer game and won't be done for a long while. Cue Sobfest 2015.

You move your full cart and fussy baby back inside the store because it's cold and people are starting to raise their eyebrows at your projectile tears. Frantically, you call your in-laws, who live five minutes away, before remembering they're out of town. You call your friend who lives fairly close, but no response.

Panic mode sets in. I am going to lose this perfectly good gallon of ice cream. 

You try to avoid eye contact with the shoppers entering the store. Desperation pours out of your every nose hair, and you wonder if they can smell it. You silently beg one of them to ask if you need a ride. Whoever warned against getting in the car with strangers never had a toddler and a full cart of groceries on the line. No one approaches. No one asks. You can't blame them; you'd avoid the wailing child and the strange lady smashed between the coin exchanger and arcade game, too.

You call USAA and start crying to some poor soul about letting your baby play with the keys when you were getting her out of her car seat and something about mom brain and melting ice cream and a soccer-playing husband. Your phone suddenly beeps that you have less than 10% battery, so you tell the kind stranger to get a locksmith and step on it. Please. Thank you. Hurry.

You then pump your now screaming baby full of unwashed blueberries and say a prayer to the pesticide gods to stay away from her. She's innocent...ish. A few minutes later, a text message appears on your phone proclaiming your lock guy will be there in two hours. And then you really lose it. You hunch over your cart and seriously debate trying to carry everything, except that darn watermelon, and walk home.

Then a miracle happens. Your friend calls you back. And she rescues you and your baby from grocery jail. And she takes you home. And you try to appropriately thank her despite the clear trauma you've just endured and the mascara running down your face. And you make a mental note to duct tape a spare key between your boobs from now on and to never, ever let your baby play with your keys again no matter how shiny and fun they may be.

P.S. Somehow the ice cream survived. Thank you, Brittney. Thank you.

Dear Sawyer

Monday, April 27, 2015

Today you learned that bubbles aren't for eating. Though I admired your go-getter attitude with that plastic wand drenched in cheap diluted dish soap, I think we both can agree that some things are better left uneaten. (Don't worry, that's not my philosophy for most things.)

Your recovery from devouring those soapy spheres was about as fast as your ability to reload a fresh diaper in the middle of church. Astonishing to the point of admirable. (Slow. Clap. For. You.) No sooner had you face-planted into my lap, full of despair and a tiny mouthful of suds, were you up and Adam and ready to blow another "ba ba" into my face. You're were bubbling over with curiosity.

Though you haven't quite grasped the concept of blowing air, you kiss and drool and cry some big crocodile tears like the best sorority girl on the block. That 99-cent bubble wand has never known such love.
Your blue eyes grew wide as you watched each fleeting bubble burst in the afternoon sun. Sometimes you would laugh in amusement; other times you'd smack the orange stick in frustration, as if summoning the bubble to reappear. (Trust me, you'll be doing the same thing with your post-nursing chest.)

For the most part, you enjoyed our bubbly afternoon in the backyard. You may have been on the verge of a colossal melt down at points, but somehow you picked yourself up by your tiny pink sandals to once again watch the magical circles dance around you. 

Sometimes in life, sweet daughter of mine, we accidentally swallow a little bubble juice. Our fragile bubbles sometimes pop right before our eyes, despite how carefully we've tried to coax them into sticking around. But even in the midst of a bubble-busted, soap-slurpin' day, we can still choose to smile, to laugh, and to eagerly await the next bubble to come our way.

You go, Glen Coco

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

                                                                             Shirt (Let's forgive Target the grammatical error.)

About five hot minutes after the fruit of our loins make their grand entrance into the world, the mom guilt begins. She's an ugly Betty, that one. Constantly toying with our emotions and sending us into full-fledged panic attacks about being the worst mother of all time. (Move over, Kim K.) Some days my guilt comes in waves as high as the dirty laundry pile in my closet. Other days I manage to arm wrestle it into a manageable, steady stream like my summertime sweat in this Texas heat. Dab here, wipe there, and pretend no one can smell me.

It can be about anything. Everything. And nothing.

My kid will only eat Ritz crackers. I use too many diapers. I don't buy the right brand. My kid needs to have more independent time. My kid should be around kids more. My kid still has eczema all over her ankles. My kid is bipolar about napping. Am I being selfish for wanting to run errands without her? Am I being too needy to want a Mother's Day Out? Maybe I should play with her instead of doing the dishes. Maybe I should do the dishes instead of playing with her. I work too little. I work too much...

In true Miley fashion, I can't stop. I won't stop.

In the muck of mom guilt, I'm very clearly not resting in Jesus. Instead of entrusting my child's needs to the God who created her and knows her better than I ever will, I'm relying on my own strength and foresight to give her everything she could possibly need. Like my pre-pregnancy bra, mama ain't gonna ever fill that cup. Yet still, I try.

It's an easy problem to diagnose, but not one so easily cured. And to be honest, I'm not sure what the real answer is. Maybe some better mommy blogger has the answer for me. But I'm still stuck in the trenches of learning that it's OK to wean my baby from nursing (and no, she isn't going to die), and it's OK to leave her in someone else's care (and no, she isn't going to die), and it's OK to sometimes feel like I'm going to pull all my hair out (and no, neither of us is going to die).

Moral of the story? I do a lot of things wrong. A lot, a lot. (She can send me the therapy bills later.) But maybe I also do some actual good for her, too. She's alive. She's happy. She's fed (most days, anyway). It could be worse. We mammas wag our fingers at ourselves all day long, maybe it's time we collectively cheered for ourselves, too. So tomorrow when you have the hankering to get down on yourself because you just plopped your kid in front of the TV so you could have a whoppin' ten minutes to get something done, why don't you give yourself a little pat on the back for making it this far in the parental colosseum and for loving your baby something fierce.

You go, Glen Coco. You go.

It's the best ship

Monday, April 20, 2015

Last night, while pounding half a tube of glorious Nestle Toll House, Grahm and I were talking about life here in San Antonio. Three years ago, we moved to the land of bluebonnets and sweat with nothing but a nearly empty bank account, a full-size mattress, boxes of unopened wedding presents, and an excitement for beginning our new life. Here's the thing. When you uproot your life and leave essentially every friend and familiarity you've ever known, you wonder when you're going to be out of the woods. Out of those lonely, maneuvering-through-the-bear-shit, will-I-ever-feel-at-home-again trees that can make you disoriented and bitter and equipped with the ever-present desire to eat your feelings.

Slowly, we meandered out of the friendless forest and found community within our church. It was a painfully slow process. The transition from "Hi, we're the Roaches; please like us despite our last name and our needy expressions" to feeling comfortable inviting someone to enjoy a meal with us was no walk in donut park.

Flash forward two years later. I have this tiny, perfect infant in my arms. My milk-crusted shirt (cause mama ain't got the energy to put on a bra), eye bags the size of soccer balls, and mommy mush brain made me the poster child for NyQuil and loneliness. The desire for someone to talk to (besides hubby dearest) was as real as my hankering for my sweet baby to sleep through the night.

The need for real friendships (the "hey, can you come over because I haven't had a conversation with someone other than my four-month-old pet rock and the cashier at Target and I just really need to feel normal even though I haven't showered in three days" kind) escalated when Sawyer entered my world. When you're ankle deep in diaper changes and counting the minutes till your husband gets home, you look around your empty house and begin to beg for companionship and solidarity... despite how happy you are to be doing exactly what you're doing.

I began to pray for deep friendships, for women I could relate to and love and encourage during this wonderful and really hard life transition. And the weirdest thing happened. He answered. San Antonio doesn't look like it did three years ago. I no longer have a running mental countdown of when we can move back to familiarity and old friendships. We are happy here. We feel at home. We are finally out of those God-forsaken woods and feeling like this city is where our family is meant to be.

I guess what I'm saying, kids, is you can live anywhere as long as you have real friendships with real people who really just get you. Words cannot express how thankful I am for the women in my life, pictured and not. Friendship really is the best ship to be in.

Deep in the Heart of Taxes

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ever candid.

Nothing screams success quite like eating leftover chocolate cake with your child's (dirty) plastic fork while watching someone else do your taxes. Your naked toddler is getting her loaded-diaper groove on to "Blank Space" in the corner (Who put baby in the corner?), and your husband is slowly shaking his head with each number crunch...

If there's one thing this Professional Writing major enjoys, it's a good numbers game. I speak the language of 20-percent-off sales and Hobby Lobby coupons and marked-down prices in the clearance aisle of Target. See? Numbers... ish.

But taxes? Oy to the veh.

April 14 has been the same in our household the last few years. The day of intaxication. I do my part (gathering all the necessary documents that have come in the mail the last few weeks). And Grahm does his part (everything else). Yeah, we're those people. The ones who literally wait until the very last possible minute. (In case of fire, you should probably call someone else.)

As I watched that handsome guy I married stare at his computer and mutter amusing political quips about Obama (cause everything's his fault, duh), I stewed on how grateful I am to have someone who a) knows his way around Turbo Tax and b) doesn't treat me like the IR-No. 

Maybe I've been eating too much of this yummy chocolate cake, but I think there's a tendency in all of us to view our relationships like paying taxes. There's a sense of obligation, entitlement, and return. We feel like we've been serving and serving our spouses and our friends and our children. Our money has been continuously taken out of our checks. Day in and day out, we've poured our time, our energy, and slivers of our souls into people. And by golly, they better pay us back. A big ass return check better be in the mail.

I wonder what it would look like if we loved people without wanting or expecting a return check? What if we abandoned our agendas and our tit-for-tat perspectives and just got on our knees to wash one another's feet? Tonight (and every night) I'm thankful for a husband who gives me a better picture of what a servant really should be,* even through something as dreary as paying Uncle Sam for his math-incompetent wife.

Loving me can be pretty darn taxing (ba dum tshhhh).

*Gal 5:13-14 and 1 Peter 4:10-11

Going (back) UP on a Monday

Monday, April 13, 2015

Testing, testing... is this thing on?

In an unlikely turn of events, blogging has managed to seduce me back to her quirky world of open letters, hodgepodge tutorials, GIFs, and house tours that make you want to set your furniture on fire for the chance to buy something more Pinterest-board worthy. (Oh, just me?) Instead of running away as a sane person probably should, I found myself flocking to her temptation like that girl unable to resist a Saturday-morning trip to the donut shop. What can I say? I love a good apple fritter.

Recently Roached, like my pre-stretchmark self, is still a whisper of the past.
This little space now has a new name, because I am not who I was when I began this documenting adventure in our 400-square-foot apartment so long ago. I am no longer a newlywed, learning the nuances of sharing a bed with (gasp!) a boy or attempting dinner for (gasp!) a hungry boy. Though "she burned meals" and "he stole the cubbies" will probably be intricately carved on our headstones when we're pushing up daisies, I wanted the chance to begin anew. A fresh page for our bustlin' and ever hustlin' family of three. Plus, my buggy last name is already part of our Wifi name (Roach Motel), so I feel fairly certain I've fully covered all of my insect obligations for this lifetime.

Nestfull Blog.
We are a nest full of many things. A nest full of laughter. Chipotle bowls. Sticky floors. DIY attempts. Unfolded laundry. Panera runs. Grace upon grace upon grace. Baby giggles. Naps. Netflix binges. Meal planning and meal burning. Aggressive cuddling. And an hourly need for Jesus.

I don't pretend to know a lot. And I won't pretend to say anything that hasn't already been said by every other mommy blogger on the stratosphere. But maybe, in my own fart-joke, slap-yo-mamma kind of way, I can make you laugh as you read about our journey through parenting our red-headed wild child, home ownership, marriage, and every frozen pizza in between. So stick around, and I promise to blog as infrequently as I darn well please.

I was all, "Babe, can you take pictures of me?"
And he was all, "Only if you do that melodramatic half-smirk thing."

Happy to oblige.