THIS SIDE OF LOVE

 
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There is simply no way to put into words the all-consuming sensation of looking at your baby. Your baby. Someone you made; someone who did not exist before. There is no work of art more beautiful than the face of your baby, and I understand now that all parents are actually artists. Life is a paradox, where newborn days are mundane and monotonous and magnificent and magical, proving to have no discernible beginning or end. Nurse, poop, cry, sleep, nurse, poop, cry, sleep. Bounce, bounce, bounce, rock, bounce, never stop bouncing. We've danced this new reality for three weeks, which is simultaneously an absolute eternity and no time at all, a flit. Our baby is ancient but impossibly fresh to the world; she is tiny but two whole pounds bigger than when she arrived. She is our baby, our baby, our baby. We are merely shepherds to this little lamb named Rosemary, and we do our best.

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I took the photos of our bedroom when she was still in utero. Things are decidedly less tidy and there are a few telltale signs of new parenthood now: a stool next to the bed covered with salves and balms and breast pads, a pillow on the rocker for extra lumbar support, an unending supply of to-be-washed cloth diapers on the changing table, an exercise ball for the aforementioned bouncing, a heap of Mark's and my clothes in a pile, and our beautiful linen sheets have been temporarily replaced with trusty flannels. I am particularly glad for the sheets decision, as she has had a blowout while nursing on our bed every day this week. During the final weeks of nesting, I knit Rosemary a humble little stack of sweaters, diaper covers, hats and bonnets — even a little stuffed bunny — only to find that we hate dressing our child and can hardly bear to put anything on her precious, perfect skin. It's enough to put her little tush in a cloth diaper. So the woolens will dutifully remain in their drawer. On this side of love, mama, dad, and their little Rosie valentine learn as they go, and boy are they ever glad for it. 

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—S

LO, HOW A ROSE E'ER BLOOMING

 
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We are truly overjoyed to share the good news of our daughter, Rosemary Isidora, born to us at home on January 21st. With the help of many loving hands, our 9 lb., 8 oz. baby was ushered into life on this side of Earth. Our hearts are exploding with the immense love only a parent can know. We give thanks to God that we have been entrusted with her life, that we could be so blessed. Thank you for the outpouring of love we've received.


—M&S

FROM THE FEET UP

 
This summer; trimming the hooves of our favorite beast, Tyrandelion. Clad in coveralls because sometimes you want to hug your favorite buck but you don't want to smell like him. Miss you, Ty. We hope you always get hugged while your hooves are being trimmed! 

This summer; trimming the hooves of our favorite beast, Tyrandelion. Clad in coveralls because sometimes you want to hug your favorite buck but you don't want to smell like him. Miss you, Ty. We hope you always get hugged while your hooves are being trimmed! 

Two years married. Six years together. Baby coming any day. Working hard to start our own farm. Unsure of where we'll live or what we'll be doing in a year's time. That's the pulse. Tonight we'll feast on a roast from a goat we raised ourselves. Mark will surely crack one of his few remaining tart cherry saisons, and Sam will opt for a cup of tart cherry juice. We will toast to this life we have cultivated in marriage; the mystery and the magnitude and the magic of it all more real than it's ever been. I suspect our baby will spend the evening dancing around and teasing us from in utero.

We could wax poetic on how totally wonderful marriage is, but we'd rather just let the year keep moving and be along for the ride. Maybe in fifty years we will have sage advice or wisdom to drop, but for now it's just coffee in bed every morning and laughing at how unpredictable and fun our life is together. Thanks be to God for a beautiful two years! 


—M&S

MOTHERHOOD RISING

 
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Happy 2018! If by chance you, like us, have ushered in the new year under the deep freeze of Winter, I hope it has been coupled with warming beverages and hearty food. More than that, I hope you and yours have stayed safe and well shielded from the elements. My heart feels very drawn to the poor and homeless among us seeking shelter and sustenance. In my rural locale you don't see homeless men and women on the streets, but if I did, I wonder how I might respond. I hope with a charitable, trusting heart. If nothing else, now is a time of year to work on being genuinely grateful for a warm home and ample clothing, not begrudging of the inconveniences the cold brings. Following along with our farmer friends in the Northeast is no joke — it's cold, and while animals and farmers alike are hardy, they are all pushing the limits of their working bodies. If you are one of the many working with and through the elements, bless you! And thank you. 

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I am acutely aware of how different life would be if we hadn't moved home. For one thing, we'd be in this cold every day, caring for goats. At least, Mark would be. I might be wiling away the time knitting by our woodstove. Ah, how we long for you, woodstove! I miss putting my body outdoors and feeling the harsh air on my cheeks. I miss throwing hay and crunching snow under my work boots. This year, instead of all that manual labor, I am hugely pregnant, preparing for the biggest labor of my life, and walking up and down stairs is enough. All of my body's resources are inwardly focused—baby gets (and deserves) it all. 

We are mere days away from being cataclysmically blindsided with love when our baby finally comes earth-side. Every day is a lesson in patience as I slowly waddle around my house and wonder when shim will feel ready to be born. Every day is a lesson in cherishing this fleeting time when it's still just Mark and I. Every day is a lesson in forfeiting the desires of self for the needs of the baby. Here we are, nine months into a whirlwind pregnancy that started with us feeling scared and excited, and wraps up with us feeling eager and oh-so-ready. I want to be a mother. Mark wants to be a father. Every night before bed, and every morning when we wake, we talk about cuddling our child. Our very own! An actual breathing, thinking, sentient human being. Is there anything so equally magical and practical as new life? Advancing the race is the purpose of being alive, and yet it is the most miraculous act I can possibly conceive of. Motherhood, I'm coming for you.

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Photos were taken at 36 weeks by our dearly beloved best friend, Andrew Enslen.


—S