Meet Matilda!

matilda2 (1)My littlest love turned 2 weeks old today!  This sweetie has officially made me fall in love with the newborn stage–up until now, I’d said that I love the toddler stage but not the newborn/baby months.  She’s just so much fun!  Violet was a really sweet/easy baby too, but the stresses of school and work and everything else made it difficult to enjoy each moment.  This time around, I’m really able to soak in every little sound and expression and it’s amazing.

Matilda Irene Neely was born on June 17–right on time!  After being induced with Violet two weeks past my due date, I wasn’t too hopeful about having a baby at 40 weeks of pregnancy.  But she was prompt and after labouring overnight on Father’s Day, Matilda arrived at home at 7:46 A.M.  The home birth experience was so different from the hospital experience!  It was really nice to be able to relax in my own home immediately after delivery, and I’ve felt great since about 30 minutes after Matilda was born!

Last week was my first full week (well, six days) without BJ or any other family members at our home to help, and I survived!  I even made it out with both girls a few times.  One of those trips resulted in my tiny baby screaming while my 2-year-old puked in her car seat, but I consider that initiation to mothering two.

If there were any concerns about how I could possibly love another child as much as Violet, they’re long gone.  My heart grew to make room, and I love my two girls like crazy.


I mean, how could I not?

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Stream of consciousness.

  • Sometimes it looks like an alien is trying to claw its way out of my belly.  I feel like this would be cool if it were happening to someone else, but it’s actually really awkward in public.
  • Doing 110 squats in a row just now was ten billion times harder than doing 105 yesterday.  I was out of breath for 15 minutes.
  • Every now and then, I’ll find some change in my washer and think “Score!”  On rarer occasions, I’ll find a spoon and remind myself not to attempt anything more important than laundry with pregnancy brain.
  • This blog pretty closely resembles my burn book, with pages for squats and jogging and anything remotely athletic.
  • I have been lusting over a vacuum cleaner for 24 hours now.  Not even kidding–I think I need therapy.
  • When I scroll through my Instagram photos, it makes me feel kind of pathetic.  Other people are posting from incredible vacations, Pinterest-inspired shopping sprees, and perfectly planned mommy outings, and I’m taking pictures of a kid asleep on the floor…every day.  MLIA.
  • To all those who thought/think that Violet and Matilda are little old lady names or totally weird choices for our daughters: You should’ve seen what I wanted to name them before BJ intervened.
  • I took a chocolate cake to a potluck at church today, and cried the world’s tiniest tear when it was all eaten and I didn’t have anything left to scarf down at home.
  • I’m making a list of whatever pops into my head instead of making a list of things I need to do tomorrow.  I should stop that.






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Baby Rory.

One year ago today, a nurse confirmed what we already knew–we’d lost our second baby.  The weeks prior had been spent trying to convince ourselves that we’d receive better news, that all signs pointing to a pregnancy loss were just a variation of “normal.”  But by the time the nurse called me with the test results, we knew. 

Because few people knew I was pregnant at that point, few people found out then about the loss.  Since then, it’s come up in conversation every now and then.  I’m a pretty open person, and I don’t mind talking about it (at least not now), but I’ve noticed that pregnancy loss is a really awkward subject for some.  I can recall a few people asking “When should we be expecting a second Neely baby”, to which I’d reply honestly that I’d just miscarried a baby due in December and wasn’t sure what would happen next.  This almost always elicited backtracking and often some really stupid comments (“Well, I’ll bet you’re relieved, right?” being the least sensitive). 

Pregnancy loss is not a shameful thing.  Despite the occasional fleeting doubt, I know I did nothing to cause it–my body did exactly what it was supposed to.  If someone is comfortable sharing that painful part of their life story with you, I plead with you to offer support, not stupidity, and tact, not advice.  It’s a long path to healing, physically and emotionally, and ignorant words or even misguided attempts to comfort (“It’s all in God’s plan”) are not appropriate.

I’ll probably always feel a tinge of sadness on that December due date, but being open about the loss and connecting with other women who have been through the same ordeal (sadly, a rather large club) has been healing.  I’m okay now.  By the grace of God, I’m okay.

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That formidable canteen.

Here it is–the 27 ounce canteen that’s been by my side pretty constantly for the past five days.  It’s particularly embarrassing for someone pregnant to admit, but up until five days ago I drank absolutely no water.  I mean, every now and then I’d pour a small glass to take a pill or something, but I never liked the “taste” (or lack thereof) and relied on less-than-healthy liquids for hydration. Which probably means that I was pretty constantly dehydrated.

Five days ago, I traded my soft drink habit for my Klean Kanteen Reflect (which had sat on the counter unused for far too long).  I’ve made it my goal to drink three canteens-full of water a day and nothing else, and so far I’ve met or exceeded that goal every day. I separate it out–one canteen by 12, one by 4, and another by bedtime–and it really doesn’t seem as if I’m drinking all that much (although 81 ounces of water is a big jump from none!).  With the exception of a small glass of coffee punch at a shower on Saturday, I’ve had nothing but water to drink for five days.  And I’m losing the soft drink cravings!  I’m actually finding that I don’t crave sweets nearly as much as I did a week ago, which is an unexpected plus.

On top of my new commitment to H2O, I’ve also been doing the 30 Day Squat Challenge.  I’m on day five–a set of 70 squats–today, and it’s been pretty easy so far.  I do look a little further down the line and see a couple hundred squats looming ominously, but I’m trusting that my body will know what to do by then (surely).  Putting the computer up to do my set of 70 (and refill my canteen) now!  


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From sorrow to joy.

 “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.  So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.John 16:21

The spiritual lessons to be learned from parenting are still being revealed to me, and each is so incredible.  The book of John has been such a source of comfort and enlightenment recently.  With Pastor Paul walking through John on Sundays and BJ uncovering some particularly profound applications from John for our family life, I’m seeing the path of parenting laid out more clearly now than ever before.  I ask all my prayer warriors out there to lift me up for relief from anxieties and insecurities that could cause me to stray from that path, and to praise God for ALWAYS lighting a way for his children who are willing to follow!

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4 months in review.

Jesus loves me, this I know / Even when my blog is slow…

Once I’d gone about a week without blogging in the new year, I was too embarrassed to have already broken one of my resolutions to actually sit down and type a post.  I told myself that I’d finally post when either: 1) I had some major news that would make people forget my broken blog promises; or 2) I had a really, really good excuse for not blogging.  Neither have happened; it’s now April.  Whatever.

There have been some pretty big changes for the Neely household this year–good changes!  BJ started work as an analytical lab tech at SiO2 Medical Products in early January, and he’s really enjoying both the scientific aspects and the pajamas scrubs he gets to wear to work every day.  The job has really been a blessing to our family.  It’s particularly nice having him home at 4:30 every day with no homework or night job to occupy his time!  We’re spoiled.

In February, we made a tough (but right) decision and I stepped down from my position at Women’s Hope to be a stay-at-home mommy.  I do miss a lot about my job–and about working in general–but I’m fueling my creativity into planning activities for me and V.  Such as:

Making paper plate Abe Lincolns for Presidents’ Day

Painting “Let there be light” with yellow

Visiting the Atlanta children’s museum and playing with fake fish

Running around outside so we have crazy 80s hair

Watching cheesy performers make pirate-y things out of balloons

Practicing our innocent faces

Okay, so none of those things kept me too busy to blog.  But we’ve had fun!  Now I’m just preparing for the major dynamic change when Baby Girl #2–henceforth referred to as “Matilda,” “M,” or “The Tilda” (thanks, Jordan)–arrives in June (or July, if I’m honestly assessing the situation).

And now I’m off to work on resolution #3–that gnarly line about working out that I’ve been ignoring for far too long.  It really isn’t fair that pregnancy, during which I want absolutely nothing to do with any sort of exercise, ends with hours-long labor (aka, exercise).  I’ve downloaded a Couch-to-5K app, but I think I’ll have to hold out for the On-the-Floor-with-Chocolate-Cake-to-Walking-up-Stairs-without-Dying version.  Which I hear launches in August, about the time I’ll be writing my next blog post.  See ya then!

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2013 (AKA That Boring Post with No Pictures of Violet)

Confession: I suck at blogging.  You already know that if you follow my blog.  But hey, that’s okay!  Because near the top of my list of 2013 goals (not resolutions–I’ll get to that in a second) is “Be a better blogger.”  I have so much insight to impart; it’s a shame to let all that wisdom go to waste.

There were some amazing moments in 2012, and some not-so-amazing moments.  For the sake of New Year Goal #1 (see below), I’ll overlook the negatives and highlight the five greatest moments of 2012 (in no particular order):

  1. Hearing Violet say “I love you”
  2. Violet surprising us by singing several songs we didn’t know she knew
  3. Getting pregnant with our rainbow baby
  4. Graduating college with a job lined up
  5. BJ graduating and being offered a job

And now, for the list of New Year Goals.  I say “Goals” because “Resolutions” suggest that I can commit to my list and make it happen, and that isn’t true for all of these.  Some of them are out of my hands.  Plus, I tend to fall by the wayside on resolutions by the second month week day of January, and I’m not going to beat myself up about it.  With “Goals,” I can fall off the horse or wagon or whatever, wait a few days, and then hop back on when I’m in a better mood.  So here goes (once again with the random order):

  1. Maintain a positive outlook on life — Much, much easier typed than lived out for a year.
  2. Be a better blogger — As in, update more often than I dust my baseboards.
  3. Exercise regularly — I actually did start this today; yay me!  Pizza all around.
  4. Be accepted to the MSW program at UA — I should find out next month!
  5. Be a more hands-on mom to Violet — When she spends 9.5 hours a weekday with her amazing teachers, I don’t always feel the need to provide creative experiences for her.  This started with rainy-day craft time today!
  6. Have a baby!  — So I’m aiming to gain ~20 pounds rather than setting any weight loss goals this year.  Score!
  7. Have a clean house every day — Watch out, I’m getting radical.
  8. Simplify our family life — This involves lots of decluttering and routine-building.
  9. Write a novel (again) — Okay, this one I just thought of on the spot.  But it’d be cool, right?  And these are “Goals,” so it’s okay to write like 1/4 of a novel and say I meant to type “novelette.”
  10. Cook more, and try new dishes — I’ve gotten better about this over Christmas vacation.  My crockpot and I are BFFs.  Now to keep it up while working fulltime.
  11. Stick to a budget and pay off some debt — Our student loan debts scare the crap out of me.  I need these suckers paid off.
  12. Leave work at work — I’m guilty of checking my work email from my couch and working on projects at home that could and should be saved for the office.  While the quality of my work is important to me, so are my marriage and family.  Home time is us time!

And there you have it!  12 of my goals for this year.  Now that you know them, you should know not to mention them to me at all, ever, because accountability is the worst.  If I want to make an Eeyore comment, there will be no “What about Goal #1, Kacey?” in reply.  And if you notice I’m Instagraming a whole lot of “fancy” Ramen noodle dishes, no comments of “Wow, you’re sure doing swell with #10, eh?”

Just kidding about that last part.  I don’t use Instagram.  Happy New Year!

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