New Year, New Look!

Hi. You might have noticed things changing around here. My life has changed so much in the past year and I want those changes to be reflected here as well.

2014 was a year of miles for me. I ran 9 races in 8 months, logged over 200 miles and developed a respect for a sport I always thought was beyond my abilities. With work and dedication I went from a 14 minute mile to a 9, from not being able to run a quarter mile to completing a vicious 20k. Through running I was able to recenter, better deal with my postpartum depression, and give myself the energy and confidence I needed to get back into the gym. Through running I realized I can still be an athlete.

That’s what it all really boils down to for me, what can I do that I never thought possible? What kind of example can I set for my girls as they grow up in this very complicated and women-negative culture? I want them to look at a challenge and not even question it because it’s just natural for them to go, do, conquer. I want them to hear “Girls don’t/can’t/shouldn’t…” and to be able to say “Girls do, I’ve seen it.”

Not to mention I feel better than I have felt in a long time. My mind is clearer, I’m happier, and I’m more determined than ever.

I’ve got big plans for 2015, big lifts and big miles are waiting for me.¬†500 lbs and 500 miles, here I come!

musclemama

New Year, New Look!

Interlude

Hi there, old friend, It’s been too long.

Last winter I was invited to join a group of women writing about motherhood on The Mommy Dialogues. It was an exciting opportunity and I enjoyed writing with a group, but it didn’t pan out the way I had hoped. I don’t think I ever found my footing there. I felt self-conscious and tongue tied and my writing became forced and uncomfortable for me.¬†I wasn’t finding joy in writing anymore,¬†it became a source of anxiety so I decided to walk away.

In the last few months I have been trying to decide if that meant writing in general was over for me, but I missed the outlet too much to stop, so here I am. I love reading back on these posts, this is my journal and my reminder to keep trying and growing.

In the months since I’ve been gone a baby was born, a house bought; lives began and restarted and I have a so much to say about it all.

To begin with, let me introduce our newest family member, Ella Mable.

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Melanie Sonnier Babywearing 9-7-14 (4)

I might be a little biased, but I think she was worth the wait.

Interlude

Home

I grew up in a small town. The kind of town where people are born and die in the same hospital bed. Midwest dreams of nothing more than marriage and babies and your own plot of land to park your trailer…

¬†I chose to head West. To follow love and adventure and something else, something I still can’t quite put my finger on. I found those things in my husband and in the life that we have led since then. I chased the sunset looking for a place to stick my toes in the sand and smell the salt water air. Those places seemed golden to me at 18 and live somewhere between my memories and fantasies now that I have experienced them.¬†

In the last six years I have learned to let go, to forgive, to love unconditionally, and to trust in the process. I had a baby, lost a baby, and am growing new life again. It all comes down to family, first seeking my own and now trying to fit it all back together. 

So away we go. Tonight we pack up the car, say goodbye to the California home I never thought I’d own and head back towards the sunrise, to start anew in an old place. So many changes to come and I have never been so ready.¬†

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Aside

16 Weeks

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Rainbow baby is the term for a baby after the loss of a previous child. It is the understanding that a rainbow’s beauty does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean that the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds.

I feel you now baby, little flutters and tickles every once in a while. I’ve felt your soul since the very beginning, but feeling your movement is such a relief. I even bought a doppler and though I don’t use it often or for very long, every time I hear the flutter of your heartbeat it soothes those jagged places that still exist in side of me.

Baby, you are so strong. The beginning of this pregnancy was just like the last, but you held on, charged through. When I thought you were lost, you waved to me as if to say, “I’m right here Mom, don’t worry.” But I do. I worry all of the time. I love you so much, I want you so fiercely that I worry every day. With every nudge you reassure me, though and I am no longer gripped in fear all of the time. I understand your strength and it helps me be strong, too. I have so many hopes for you, and I can’t wait to meet you.

I love you, Baby. Bigger than the moon.

16 Weeks

FYI: My Response to Unsolicited Advice

Today, all over Facebook I have read many letters.

Letters to sons, letters to teenagers, letters to moms and letters to letters to letters…

Mr. Pyle’s letter to his son made me cheer, made me feel such pride for this man and his relationship with his son and so hopeful for his son’s future contributions to society.

The second infuriated me. So much so that I needed to respond, to pour the words out of me in an effort to cleanse.

To that letter I say this:

No. Just¬†No. It is not your role to tell my child your opinions on her social media life. It is not your right to tell her to wear a bra or to make her think it’s wrong not to. It’s not your right to tell her it’s her responsibility to control how YOUR boys view her. Don’t stifle, judge, or label my daughter according to your narrow views. You don’t matter. She matters. Self love, acceptance, honesty, integrity, awareness, strength, comfort, and kindness matter. Your “holier than thou, bless your heart” vitriol¬†disguised as a mother’s message to young girls is disgusting and offensive. Your obvious double standard and depiction as men as weak and uncontrolled is offensive. You are trying hard to be a good parent to your boys, that shows in your letter. But think long and¬†hard about the message you are sending your daughter. Still, I hope you read these responses and I hope you feel reproved, you should¬†at least be learning something from the backlash you are receiving.¬† Yes, you are a person and that entitles you to human courtesy,something the internet isn’t exactly known for. Still, when you share your views online (and direct them at teen girls who are still evolving into the women they will be)¬†you are opening yourself up to the opinion of others. Isn’t that what your entire letter is about, anyway?

So to all the girls who read your piece and felt bad about themselves, felt judged and dirty and responsible, know this is only one woman’s ideas. Run free, make your mistakes, burn your bras in the streets, DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING, but sit back and fear being targeted as an instigator. Your body is not responsible for anyone elses thoughts, you have no control over other’s reactions. You only have control over you. You will screw up, but life is so beautifully full of “second” chances, no matter what this woman says. You can dance on tables, wear bathing suits to bars, kiss all the boys and all the girls, and let me be the one who tells you that doesn’t make you who you will be. It doesn’t define you as broken. You are wonderfully full of possibility, and mistakes are our greatest teachers. So strike your red carpet pose, pout those lips, and know that this is all a normal part of going from a child to an adult.

Go forth and be fierce, my little love.
Go forth and be fierce, my little love.
FYI: My Response to Unsolicited Advice

Every Little Piece

Emilia,

It’s been a while since I’ve written a letter like this. This one is important to me and¬†it’s something I need to write down to remember to enforce every day in myself.

The first time I looked in the mirror and saw beauty there, I was in my 20’s. I have heard the word my entire life, but it was the first time I saw it myself. With naked lashes and spotty skin, I admired the shape of my jaw, the strength of my chin, the size of my eyes… I saw someone who I could¬†love.

Now that I have you (and you are what it took to see myself clearly) I realize how important it is to feel that way. How important it is to bury that self-love deep into your soul.

From this point on I will make up for all of those years I missed. I will love myself now, because now is where we exist; you and I in this moment that¬†we’re so lucky to have.

I am not perfect, but I am beautiful. I am strong. I am confident.  I am secure.

You are all of¬†these things, too. Right now. In all of your two-year old glory. You are SO fierce. So beautiful and strong. You will do it “all by yourself.” And you do, you almost always do. At the same time, you don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. I admire you so much for that. You’ve taught me that strength comes not only from independence, but recognizing limits and seeking support.

When I told you your hair was crazy, you corrected me right away, “No, my hair is BEAUTIFUL, Mom.”

And it was. You are always beautiful.

Your anger is beautiful and a force of its own. You lash out, you scream, you don’t want to be touched or spoken to. I stay back, but still as¬†near as I can. I sit there with my arms open and my lap waiting and you come to me, you¬†crawl into it and your hug is just as powerful. I love you so much then. I love every tear that spills over, every scream that rocks my¬†core. You’re so beautiful in that moment it breaks my heart.

Your love is beautiful and¬†more gentle than I ever would have expected. You caress my face and pat my hair and look deep¬†into my eyes. “You love me mommy?” Yes, baby, I love you so so so¬†much! “I love you so much, too. I’ll keep you safe.” Emi, my fierce little girl, that will never be your job. I will always be your¬† mother, you will never have to take my responsibility onto your shoulders. Broad like mine, yet so delicate, you will always be free to be a kid.

That little sigh you make right before you fall asleep, the way your breath hitches twice; your hand gripping mine from the backseat as my arm goes numb; the way you sing E I, E I, O; the way your whole face frowns; the way you smile all the way to your toes; the color of your skin and your hair and your eyes and your lips and your nail beds; your very faint scar; your endless bruises; your baby teeth gap; your voice; your cry; it is all so very, very beautiful.

By the time you are old enough to read this, Taylor Swift probably won’t be music you listen to, but you’ll know every word to this song anyway.

I love you, little big girl.

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Every Little Piece

Seeing Signs

My father’s mother¬†has had¬†perhaps the biggest influence on my life. Her endless patience and unconditional love for me has shaped the way I love others and I try to live in a way that would make her proud.

I miss her every single day.

She loved hummingbirds and always had full feeders hanging from her porch. Whenever I’ve made a big decisions or have gone through something hard I see a¬†hummingbird, even in the middle of the winter. Whenever I see a hummingbird, I see her. I feel that she sends them to me to reassure me that everything is going to be ok.¬†They day I started to miscarry I was sitting in the front yard while the Hub took out his feelings on an ugly fountain with a sledgehammer. It was loud and I couldn’t stop crying.

BOOM!

No heartbeat.

BAM!

No heartbeat.

BOOM!

No heartbeat…

Then, out of nowhere a hummingbird flew into the yard amidst all of the chaos and came right to me. The Hub stopped and we both just watched her hang in the air like magic. I could feel my grandmother right there with me, hear her voice telling me it was going to be ok, that I was going to be ok.

Yesterday after a particularly bad day where I was barely hanging onto my sanity and negativity was all I could muster, I saw my first hummingbird since my miscarriage. She flew right up to me, so close I could have touched her, and she brought me peace. She told me again to just let go. To let life happen. So I did.

Those we love stay with us, we just have to pay a little more attention.

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Seeing Signs