life: pumpkin patch.

October was a crazy insane month for us. We got married on October 25 and the entire month felt like one long, panicked planning session. So many ducks to get in a row! We were out of town every weekend, on the road more often than not. Halloween, a holiday we usually revel in, was seriously placed on the back burner.

But we did take a moment to scoot over to the beautiful pumpkin patch set up at our local Methodist church, with the intention of taking cute photos of Cece and maybe all three of us as a family. I had dreams of our darling little gal, dressed in a crochet pinafore I made when I was pregnant, sitting pretty amidst the pumpkins. I had my run-through of wedding hair & make-up earlier that day, so was feeling pretty enough to pose with her. Oh the best laid schemesΒ of mice & men.

Have you ever tried to photograph a baby? Like, really take a nice portrait? Because it is damn near impossible. How do you baby portrait photographers do it? Between propping her up, getting her to look at the camera, wiping off the drool – it’s the hardest thing ever. I wasn’t going to post any of the over 50 photos I took. Because they are not what I expected. And then I looked again.

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They are funny. Warm. A true representation of what that day was like. Hot and hectic. My make-up was sliding off my face, Cece was getting tired, James is never the most patient portrait-sitter. But we were laughing through it all, joking with my mom and cousin and brother who had come to help. (Seriously, we had THREE extra sets of hands and it still was impossible.)

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But I love them. I might frame some of them. Because you can see how fascinated she is by the grass and the sun and the hay. You can see our hands supporting her, holding her up before she can do it on her own. And I can almost hear my frustrated laughter.

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life: back seat.

My view from the back seat.

My view from the back seat.

In the past four months, I can count on one hand how many times I have been in the front passenger seat of our car. I dislike driving, and when James is around he is usually behind the wheel. And, since Cece arrived, I am in the back seat.

She does alright in her car seat once the car is moving. She will watch the world fly by through the window and will nod off, as long as her belly is full and her diaper is dry. All of this is true as long as I am sitting next to her in the back seat.

It is getting better. Whatever desperate link existed between us, the one that makes her scream in anyone else’s arms, the one that causes her little fists to grip my skin and clothes as if holding on for dear life, is changing. It is lengthening and strengthening – changing from grasping need to a genuine warmth based on comfort and love. She must be learning that I will come back when I leave. Her cries for me are becoming more like a baby’s cries, and less like a panicked, injured animal.

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But there are still times when she needs me as close as possible. Car rides are one of these, and we take a lot of long car rides. This past month has been a constant blur of movement as we prepared for the wedding. And now the holidays are here, made especially exciting for our extended family by Cece’s appearance. We don’t live in the same city. Cece has three sets of grandparents. You do the math.

Poor James must feel like a chauffeur these days, as he ferries us around. Sometimes that empty front seat is like a gaping maw, a reminder of a time pre-Cece when we would sit side by side. Where once I sat is now the domain of diaper bags. He has to raise his voice so I can hear him over the road noise. We hardly speak for fear of waking her.

I miss our old car trips, just the two of us on our way somewhere – massive ice teas from Sonic or Whataburger in the cup holders, sunflower seeds being passed between us, music on the radio, inane conversations flying back and forth. I would sit in the front seat, legs tucked beneath me, watching his profile from the corner of my eyes. I was in the front seat when I realized I loved him. I was in the front seat when we talked about whether we wanted kids.

I know this back seat time will pass. Soon we will road trip as a family, with Cece ensconced in the back seat surrounded by the accoutrements of childhood travel – coloring books, dolls, books, pencils, games. She will whine and ask “Are we there yet?” and her Dad and I will go hoarse from singing her favorite songs over and over. We will try to distract her as we pass by fast food signs. We will whisper to each other as passing headlights illuminate her sleeping form, so far away in the back seat.

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wearing: sweet home.

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forever 21 floral bells / zara top / birkenstocks

I gained more weight than I had hoped during my pregnancy — especially frustrating since I was the fittest and healthiest I had been in a long time when I found out I was pregnant. I had worked so hard to get to where I was and was feeling confident in my skin for the first time in years. Now I am back to almost exactly the weight I was when I made the decision to get healthy – and it is hard. Cece is worth it, obviously, but I hate being back in that place I was before. Not feeling comfortable in my clothes, in my body. Having to do it all over again.

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And with the wedding and now the holidays coming up, it makes it even harder. I know it’s such a cliche — but I really feel so down about it. I want my body back.

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