Thursday, February 26, 2015

The End of an Era . . . Time for a Change

Loveys, I have news.

This post is a little bittersweet for me, to be honest. On the one hand, I am SUPER excited to share with you that my blog has a fresh look. I just felt like it was time for a change. I’ve been writing this blog for five years now. Crazy! I know. I love blogging. It’s been such a fun way for me to write and keep up with everything going on with my family. And it just felt as though maybe the blog needed a little face-lift. Nothing too major, but some fresh changes. I absolutely love the new look. What do you think?

Now to the bittersweet part. We’re talking about change, loveys. You guys know that I’m actually one of those strange people who likes change, to an extent. I do. It keeps things interesting, I suppose. But some changes are harder than others. Before I dive into all the change, let’s chat.

First, let's talk about the fact that I know I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm one of those people who knew what she wanted to do (work with books), and who worked hard and got her degree and was fortunate enough to find a job in the field that she'd dreamed of working in. Did you know I did an internship in book publishing right out of college? I knew by day two that being an editor was the perfect job for me. Authors and books and writing and cover meetings and editing--it felt like happiness to me. Then I got the call that I was being hired to be a real-life editor. And Jeff was able to transfer to the Pepsi plant in Denver and we moved to Colorado and . . . suddenly I was a grown-up person with her dream job.

We're more than ten years down the road, and it's been amazing. I'm so, so thankful. But the truth is that I need a break. So once Lillian arrives, I won't be going back to work any time soon. After much discussion with Jeff, I decided I needed to do this. I think it's important to recognize our limits and to know when we need a little more space to breathe. And I have a feeling I need more than six weeks to adjust to life with three kiddos. Seriously. It's been a hard decision for me, but once I made it, I felt total peace about the whole thing. I just need a break and I want to focus on my kids during this season of our lives. I'm thankful I even have the option! I know lots of moms have to work outside the home, and I know lots of moms just function better when having an outlet like work (I tend to be the latter as well. We'll see how this goes! I think Jeff's a little nervous). Remember my word for this year, loveys? Brave. It's time for me to put that into action.

Once I’ve adjusted to life with three darlings, I’m sure I’ll ease back into freelance editing and such. It’s such a part of who I am. But I’m also really looking forward to writing more. That’s another large part of who I am. The writer in me has words to share. And I can’t wait to spend more time doing that. There are also other projects on my heart. Service and volunteer opportunities and that sort of thing. I want to get involved in areas where I’m really passionate.

So it’s a season of change, loveys. New baby daughter coming soon. I’m stepping back from a career I’ve loved for a decade. This will be my first summer at home with my kids. (Nancy, I will need lots of playdates or I know I will go nuts.)

The plain fact is that sometimes we need a break. Sometimes we need space from our “normal.” Sometimes we need a change in direction. Time to breathe. Time to dream all over again. Time to start something new. Time for quiet cuddles with the newest member of our family. I don’t know about you—but all of that sounds refreshing to me.

Here in Colorado—amid the 9 degrees and falling snow this morning—I’m dreaming of warm summer days. Hot dogs and watermelon in the backyard. Days to come. What are you dreaming of, loveys? What’s your heart longing for? Winter can be long in Colorado, I’m starting to feel desperate for spring. (And desperate for Cadbury eggs.) I’ve got two weeks left with my job and then right after that, Lillian should be making her appearance pretty soon. The end of an era. And a new beginning with beautiful possibilities.

Breathe deep today, loveys. Don’t stress. Wherever you are—deep in snow and dreaming of spring, making snow angels and loving the cold, or somewhere warm and sunny—pay attention to the whispers of your heart. Close your eyes and pray. Throw your hands up and dance. Be brave. It's in you. Let's be brave together. Really, it's in all of us.
Sunday, February 22, 2015

Unveiling a Baby's Room and Making Space in Our Hearts

Loveys, it's different the third time around.

Of course it is. I remember when Jeff and I were getting ready for Ashtyn to arrive. We worked on the nursery--chair rail in the bedroom, painting (even tracing and painting huge pink circles--this from a girl who is not that crafty), bedding, and so on. Everything was carefully chosen and I would just sit in the room and stare at the nursery, overcome with anticipation for my first baby.

There is little time for sitting or reflection these days. But still . . . Lillian's arrival is a momentous occasion for the Bruce family. She is loved and wanted and we're so excited to meet her. And she needs a nursery that was made with her in mind. I might have two other kids to chase after, and a job that requires my attention, and laundry that threatens my sanity--but you know what? I'm going to do what I can. Because I want to. So we've finished Lily's nursery. It's a little simple, not too fancy--but it seems perfect to me. At night after the kids are in bed, I open the door to Lily's room and take a look, and I smile every time. Because it's sweet and simple and lovely, and it's for her. What do you think?

The color scheme really came to us from a painting made by my great grandmother. I knew I wanted to find a spot in the nursery for the painting, and the soft colors of the flowers inspired us to go with yellow and pink and gray and white. My great-grandmother Taye was an artist. She taught classes for years, she painted china/porcelain and gorgeous pictures like the one in Lily's nursery. She was also one of the most wonderful, capable, smart, beautiful women I've ever known. Having her picture hanging in my baby's room feels right and warms my heart and only adds to that sense of family that is so important to me.

There's a rocker with pink cushions in the corner right under the painting. And a small shelf next to the changing table, that's already stocked with diapers and wipes. All we need now is a little baby girl. :)

Ashtyn's baby nursery was PINK. And I loved every square inch of it. But going in a new direction for Lillian's room was so fun! I love the soft colors. Lily's baby book is all caught up and ready for me to write the birth story, once that happens. The baby book is covered in paisley print, which seems oh-so-cute when you think about it.
 As I said, it's different the third time around. Then again . . . it's the same in so many ways. Our hearts effortlessly make room for the new baby (who's been kicking me for months now). Whether there's time for lots of preparation or barely time to throw things together, it's the heart space that matters. The love that the baby is born from and born into. This house loves Lillian. We're ready for her. (Except if my water were to break right now--we might have to stop and buy a car seat on the way to the hospital!)

There are dreams in every woman's heart. There are dreams in my heart. Some that have come to fruition, some that are still growing. There are hopes and wishes in every woman. Things we want to see, things we want to accomplish, things we want to be (grace-giving, forgiving, patient, wise, a woman of integrity). Some things are out of our control, some things are within our reach. For me, my children are my best dreams come true. There are other dreams too, you know. But none quite as beautiful as Ashtyn, Lincoln, and Lillian.

We've been snowed in over here in Colorado. I've played princess and Barbie dolls today with Ashtyn, while Jeff played superheroes and wrestled with Lincoln. We've watched movies and the kids played camp-out in a tent made of sheets. There were bubble baths tonight and more play time, pizza and ice cream (we ran out of Dr Pepper and I'm still trying not to think about it or I may send Jeff to the store in blizzard conditions). Jeff shoveled snow (it has literally snowed all day long) and I got in a nap this afternoon. A home day with our family--what a blessing to be warm and safe indoors, with food to eat and toys to play with and people to love.
Thursday, February 19, 2015

Four Weeks Out

Loveys, I'm four weeks out till delivery. Thank goodness. I'm not sure how much longer I can handle this heartburn! Nothing fits anymore. I feel huge. My mother reminded me that this is why God made pregnancy nine months. So that by the end, you're ready to do the impossible.

I took Ash to gymnastics tonight and one of the dads walked in (whom I've never even seen before) and looks at my tummy and says, "You're almost there, aren't you?" Thank you for that observation.

So, here I am, feeling very pregnant at the moment. If you give me a pillow and a moment to myself, I can literally fall asleep within seconds.

Lily's doing somersaults at the moment. I can see the waves on my stomach as she moves. And I know that despite the weariness and discomfort of entering my ninth month of pregnancy, it's a process and the end result is something beautiful. The kids are so excited for the new baby. They can't wait to meet her and they tell me all the time how much they love her.

I had sort of an emotional spill this week. Probably hormones. I just started crying over something small. Maybe that means I'm about to get a little more weepy these last few weeks. Considering how hormonal and emotional my last two pregnancies were, I'm actually very thankful that this pregnancy has been different for me. I can deal with some weepiness here at the end. Four weeks out. Let's hope it goes by fast. I'm ready.

Do you ever look at your life and just wonder how you got where you are? Jeff went to play basketball tonight so I had the kids to myself at bedtime (which is usually a battle but they went down easy tonight!). As I turned out lights and said goodnight and turned on everyone's bedtime music, I couldn't help thinking that pretty soon one more bedroom will have a sleeping baby in it. And I thought to myself, How did I get here? I'm thirty-five. I have all these children. I'm going to be a mother of three. I've been married for twelve years. I've been out of college for more than a decade. I've been a book editor for ten years and I've written four books. I've lived in Colorado for more than ten years. (That still really shocks me!)

Life is full of surprises, isn't it?

Time goes by and we change. Our circumstances change. Our life looks different, perhaps, than we thought. Or maybe it's even more than we hoped for. I read stories and gave kisses and tucked Ash and Linc into bed tonight. I could never have known that they would be mine one day. I could never have known how much I'd love them. I do know that I'll love Lillian just as much. And I can't wait to meet her. There's nothing quite like the blessing of motherhood. I'm grateful, loveys.