As I mentioned in Week 18 of my pregnancy, we decided not to have a baby shower before Sam was born. But we did have a celebration last weekend for his arrival. To see it all put together was very overwhelming to me. I didn’t know if I would actually get to this point, but here we are.
One thing I know for absolute certain is that Sam is loved. And there were so many who have been waiting in anticipation to celebrate this arrival. He was held and cooed at and loved on the entire time. In fact, one little girl, the daughter of one of my friends, followed him around as he was passed from one loving set of arms to another, just fascinatingly smitten.
Another special part of the shower were the people there. Especially these four girls. I hosted some of their showers when their boys were born, and now they were here to celebrate my son.
I have an amazing community. I am so grateful for the people who have celebrated this little boy’s arrival both near and far. We have been just incredibly touched by those who have sent cards or other items, encouraging notes, and sweet messages. Thank you for loving our little family and for providing such an amazing welcome for our son.
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a YA dystopian future novel. In this future, technology has advanced to the point that there is no sickness or death. People don’t experience hunger, mental illness or really any poverty. But in order to maintain the population growth, an ordained group of people called the Scythes are created to “glean” a certain quota of people each year. They are above the law, though they do follow their own set of laws. They can glean whoever they want, as long as it isn’t with prejudice.
The two main characters, Citra and Rowan, are chosen by Scythe Faraday to be his apprentices. At the end of the one-year apprenticeship, only one will be chosen to become a scythe. Each scythe has their own philosophy on gleaning, and there are two camps within the Scythedom. One gleans with compassion (though the compassion manifests in different ways) and the other gleans with efficiency (and slight enjoyment). Whoever becomes the new scythe will have to decide whose camp they belong to.
The book is written in the third person, mostly from the perspectives of Citra and Rowan. There were a few moments that were written from other characters’ perspectives in order to reveal something that wouldn’t be known by the two main characters. There were a couple of plot twists in the story as well, but most of them were pretty predictable.
Citra and Rowan’s characters definitely evolve in different ways by the end of the book. And their choices and experiences, as well as their lives before the apprenticeship, play a part in this transformation. The author does a really good job of showing how all of these things affect their outcomes.
I don’t recall much in the way of profanity in the book. As far as sexual content, there is a kissing scene, but not much else. Primarily, this book has a lot of violence. Scythes can glean pretty much however they want to, so there are a variety of killings and deaths in the book. Also, there is a brief mention of people who jump off of tall buildings, knowing that they will be revived in the revival centers. It’s not true suicide, but more like high-risk activities. When people do get injured to the point of death, they are referred to as deadish but can be revived at the centers. The only way you cannot be revived is if you are gleaned.
There is a lot of talk about death and mortality, the last moments of someone when they find out they will be gleaned. It’s an interesting commentary on someone’s last moments before dying, even in the present world. The second book in this series came out at the beginning of the year, and I hope to get my hands on it soon to find out what happens next.
It’s the number one question I get. So, I thought I would answer that question.
For our rat terrier, the boy is nothing special. She hasn’t shown much interest in him, only a few sniffs here and there. The one time she does notice his presence is when our lap is full. It’s a new experience for her, being that she has been in our family for over 10 years. She’s not used to sharing, but if we give her a bit of attention at some point during the day (and keep her food coming), she is adjusting well.
For our blue heeler, it has been a little different. Teddy is a newer addition, himself. So, he was a lot more curious. Whenever he can get the chance, he loves to kiss the boy’s feet, and sometimes even noses his head. And Teddy is so gentle in general, so I’m not worried. In fact, I am looking forward to the two of them becoming best buds (and getting into all sorts of trouble, I’m sure).
I feel like we lucked out in the canine department. I’m so glad the transition is going so well. Of course, we are always vigilant and never leave them in the room together unsupervised. As gentle as my dogs are, I’m not going to assume they know all baby etiquette right away.
We did bring home the blanket from the hospital so they could smell him before seeing him. That is the most recommended way to introduce a new baby to your fur babies. But I think it’s also in knowing the temperament of your dogs and being vigilant during their interactions.
Have you ever had to make these kinds of introductions? How did they go?
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is a Young Adult Coming of Age Contemporary Fiction. It’s written completely in poetry form, which I thought was perfect for National Poetry Month in April. I received my copy in my Page Habit box. It’s not really something I might have picked up on my own, although the format was quite intriguing, and I might have gotten it much later in the year. The book came out in March.
The story follows Xiomara, a 15-year-old girl living in Harlem in the present day. Her family is from the Dominican Republic, but her and her twin brother were born in America. Her mother is a devout Catholic and her father a recovering womanizer who doesn’t speak much. Xiomara has to navigate high school, the neighborhood, her changing body and the remarks from boys and men alike about those changes, as well as her mother’s strict opinions and rules about faith.
I was actually surprised how much faith is the center of this story. Xiomara, in several of the poems, examines her doubt and her struggle with faith and her opinion of God. The line that caught my breath was “God just wants me to behave so I can earn being alive.”
Since the book is mostly written in poetic form, the plot goes pretty quickly. It covers from the end of summer to the beginning of the next spring. So much happens in that timeframe that develops the characters, especially Xiomara and her brother. The book is divided into three parts, and the third part I just breezed through because the plot speeds up and so much of the story really plays out in that last section.
There is profanity in the book, as well as a lot of sexual content. There is one poem about masturbation and several about her relationship with a boy in bio class. The conflict of sexual urges versus waiting to be ready is apparent through most of that relationship.
There are a few moments of violence, but nothing graphic. Xiomara, before she really gets into the poetry, relied on her fists to protect herself and her brother. But that really was more just referenced than spelled out.
I think it might be a good book to read with a mother and daughter. It definitely would spark conversation with the endless pressures young girls deal with in today’s society as well as within the church. I would recommend it, but with the caveats of the profanity and sexual content. But the ending of the book is so beautiful. Flawed, but completely beautiful, which is why I give it four stars and a recommendation.
Hello everyone! It has been one wild and crazy month in our house. But I thought it only appropriate to look back before looking ahead.
Our son arrived. It was a pretty straightforward induction and birth. I’m very grateful for that. Of course, we are overjoyed and overwhelmed with the arrival of our Sam. You may notice that we aren’t sharing too many pictures or information about him. Right now, we are wanting to limit the online exposure of our little one. This has been a conversation between Michael and me for a while. In fact, I even wrote a blog post about it during the pregnancy of my first daughter.
Of course, my perspective has changed a bit from that post. After losing my two girls and getting involved in the pregnancy loss community, I share more than I would have back then. And I do this on purpose. I want to provide a window into pregnancy loss, even if it’s not everyone’s experience. And let those going through it know that they aren’t alone. It was one of the reasons I made the pregnancy updates purposefully open about my anxiety and struggles during this pregnancy (other than just being a fun way to keep my friends and family in the know).
But Michael and I have chosen for the time being to keep Sam off the internet, especially considering my blog is public. I’m sure he will make a cameo here and there on my blog, but it will be in a limited capacity. Everyone has been so understanding about this so far, and I am incredibly grateful.
As far as new rhythms that I anticipated in May, that was quite the understatement. It sometimes feels like a new rhythm every day, or even every 12 hours. It’s definitely a challenging adjustment, especially for someone who prefers the planned and predictable, but I have an incredible group of people supporting me and encouraging me daily. Plus, I have the most incredible husband who has been so patient and sacrificed so much. Words just can’t describe how amazing he is.
So now, a look into June.
- Getting back to the blog. It’s going to be a slow comeback. Maybe a blog post or two a week for a bit. But I’m excited to get back into it. I don’t think this will happen this month, but I want to reorganize my blog for easy navigating, maybe change up the About me. I also am thinking about some things I want to do with social media as well. I’m definitely anticipating some fun with the blog in the coming months!
- Celebrating milestones. This is my birthday month, and I have no idea how I want to celebrate it. But I know it will involve my two favorite guys. But in addition to this are the milestones Sam will reach as well. So far, he can make eye contact pretty regularly and he is getting more neck control each week. I’m looking forward to seeing what else this little human will accomplish in the following month.
- Nesting purges. I don’t know if it’s leftover nesting instincts or the numerous things we have gotten/purchased for the baby, but I have had this overwhelming desire to purge other parts of my house. Primarily my closet, but also possibly other parts of the house as well. I don’t know if I will get much done about this during this particular month, but I know I will want to get started at least!
Of course, the main thing I anticipate this month is to continue and complete physical recovery from having the baby and spending time with that baby. If nothing else gets done but that we survive the month, I will be happy!
Michael and I are pleased to announce that our son, Sam, arrived this week.
She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” (1 Samuel 1:20)
We are over the moon excited and completely exhausted. In anticipation of this event, I filmed a video early that ties up the Dear Future Self/Pregnancy Update videos.
Basically, I’m going to go on a hiatus from social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc) and from blogging for the rest of this month. The plan is to come back the first full week of June, unless it’s still a little too crazy and in that case, I will still probably let you guys know what’s going on with a short post that first week of June. And coming back may only be a post a week for a while, building back up to a regular schedule as I gradually get into the swing of things. No worries, I’m giving myself a lot of grace and space for this process.
I hope you all have a wonderful month of May. Due to the hiatus, I may not be able to respond right away to comments, but just know that I’m so grateful for all of you. Now I need to go snuggle a baby. Talk to you in June!
The last month of the Spring season is here, and so many other things I’ve been waiting for. But first, a look back at April.
The pregnancy has been moving right along this month, thankfully without any more trips to the hospital! The baby has grown to over 6 pounds, and everything seems to be going well. My anxiety definitely has heightened, despite the pretty easy month. But I continue taking it one day at a time.
I did get some reading done this month. I managed to complete 4 books, which is the most I’ve been able to do all year. The book binge is still going strong after the slump of March. It’s been a nice and needed distraction from the anxiety of the pregnancy. I’ve also been perusing a few pregnancy/baby books in preparation for the impending arrival of the boy.
And I did manage to complete a lot of organizing projects for the baby and the nursery this month, despite my heightened anxiety. The nursery seems as ready as it’s going to be. And the registry should be up after the baby arrives for whatever sip and see will be scheduled after his arrival.
Now, onto the month of May!
- The arrival of my son. We are nearing the actual due date of our boy, which is Mother’s Day, however, I’m pretty sure he’s going to come before then. My nerves are very raw and there are still some impending concerns and issues that could arise (as with all pregnancies and deliveries). I’m anticipating (and praying for) a smooth labor and a healthy arrival of this sweet guy.
- Some time off. I will be talking about this more in an upcoming video, but the plan is to take a small hiatus this month after the arrival of our son from blogging and social media. With family coming in and the transitions and chaos of a newborn, I just know taking a break will be beneficial for me.
- New Rhythms. I know that no matter how everything will go this month, there will be some definite changes in our life. And that will probably be the most consistent thing in our life – change. If I’ve learned anything from my friends, doctors, and family it’s that I should expect to feel lost and hopeless and overwhelmed for quite a while. But that it all will be worth it.
I’m still not out of the woods yet. And I’m, again, cautiously anticipating the arrival of this little boy and this new facet of motherhood. But I just have to remind myself that I’m not alone in this journey. Not only do I have amazing doctors, supportive family, and an incredible husband, but I have an all-knowing, all-powerful God by my side every step of the way.