Maternity Session with Chloe

We are at the tail-end of this pregnancy journey with our rainbow baby! Despite some sleepless nights, heartburn, slow-walking and no beer — this has been a great ride. Now the anticipation of meeting our little boy is the highest it’s every been. Come on out when you’re ready!

To capture our excitement, we asked our wedding photographer Chloe Ramirez of Chloe Photography to shoot a maternity session for us. Pregnant herself, due just a month after me with a baby girl, she was completely understanding of my slow pace.

It meant a lot to us to have Chloe come back into our lives again to shoot this next chapter. We will cherish these photos forever and grace our baby’s room with a few special shots.

Click here to view Chloe’s blog post on our session!

Operation Nursery Begins

Part of the fun of gaining a new family member is being able to make room for them in a home. For this baby, we knew it would be an undertaking to re-do an entire room in our little old house. But a great excuse nonetheless!

Before finding out the sex, we knew that neutral colors were the best choice considering strictly blue for a boy and strictly pink for a girl seemed like an outdated decorating scheme. Once we found out we were having a boy, the only thing that the gender dictated was a few small touches and the name we would emlazon above the crib. Here are some “cut-outs” of our decoration inspiration:

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But before we could even think about decorating the nursery, we had some major overhauling to do in this outdated bedroom. Orange-y tan walls and carpet with an unknown age (shudder) needed to go. Here’s Ryan looking around at one of the biggest “honey-do” projects he would even undertake. Also, those closets behind him were full of junk. Two people can accumulate too much junk!

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The walls are painted a “Oatlands Subtle Taupe” by Behr, with room for white wainscoting.IMG_2969

Removing every bit of carpet, including pesky staples…IMG_2968

Prepping for laminate wood flooring…IMG_2967IMG_2966

The finished floor!

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It’s a great way to pass the time during pregnancy, but it can be a tiring endeavor. Thank goodness for Lowe’s, nesting energy and Shop Vac’s.

The Beard, the Bride, the Beagle and the…

So you’ve probably caught on by now, but there’s a baby in our midst!

Design by CKCalligrapher 2014

We found out late September and couldn’t be happier that this was finally happening. The hardest thing was keeping this news under wraps from our family members. To make this a special announcement for everyone, we decided to throw together a slideshow for our family to watch:

 

Here is my parents’ reaction caught on camera, which is a video of a video, so forgive the poor quality… I’ll upload a better one soon:

 

Ryan’s family’s reaction was a bit blurry in photos, but they were just as elated, trust me! Lots of happy tears.

 

In creating the video for the family, we incorporated some photos shot by our own family members, family photographer Kelsi Pitts of It’s The Pitts Photography, our wedding photographer Chloe Ramirez of Chloe Photography and our dear friend Devon Takenouchi of Devon Michelle Photography. Last fall, Devon offered to shoot a pregnancy announcement shoot for us after hearing that we were hoping to start a family soon. It meant a lot to capture our initial excitement of this new addition. Thank you all for the love. We are looking forward to sharing this special chapter of our lives.

Xo,

MW

The Rainbow Effect

The Rainbow Effect

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When you first get married, the first question you get asked is (say it with me)…

“When are you having kids?”

An innocent, slightly burning question that comes from eager relatives and friends who are already imagining mini-you’s. Apparently the next step is to let the practice of baby-making become a fruitful one? Now, I was only 23 when I got married and my priority at the time was to spend some one-on-one, adventurous, baby-free 20’s time with the future father of my children. Eat, drink, travel the world and be married. We wanted to get to know each other in person more than we had ever been able to. To dig deeper and find out each other’s weaknesses, grow with each other and become a stronger team. Just the two of us.

As innocent as that question can be, it can also go deeper than picturing a happy couple creating a happy baby. It can also poke into heartbreaking issues that aren’t ready to be poked at yet, let alone discussed openly. Issues of infertility, miscarriage, and the scary stuff no one ever talks about can be poked at constantly. But you answer with a “When it’s time” and give a reassuring smile in hopes of a segue out of the subject.

So when it came time to finally try for a baby, it’s not like we wanted to make it headline news. Personally, it is such a private journey that is between you, your partner… and maybe your doctor. God too. He’s got a pretty big part in it. And not to mention that the process of making a baby is a behind-closed-doors kind of thing. I know, I’m such a prude.

With so many factors involved, needless to say, I was afraid. When you think of everything that goes into conception, implantation and then pregnancy–a baby can really be a miracle.

Unlike trying to bake a pie or paint a wall, when trying to create life the consequence is not a burnt pie or accidentally painting outside the lines. It’s the loss of a life. A life that you briefly got attached to, that you created with the intent of meeting, holding, smelling, seeing and loving. For years and years to come.

Before this little baby we are expecting (and praying for) now, there was a storm of heartache that we waited out for months. We miscarried a baby who we thought had been growing for weeks, only to find out from the ER doc there was no heartbeat, becoming the miscarriage that certainly haunted us for months to come. I will never forget waking up knowing something was wrong, showing the symptoms of something being wrong and knowing–while waiting for results–that I was alone again.

My baby left.

The emotional devastation and pain from that kind of loss far surpassed anything I felt physically at the time. I felt my heart break and my faith leave and it was terrifying.

It was something I did not want to talk about and wouldn’t know how even if I wanted to be more open about it. I wondered why Ryan and I, two people who couldn’t wait to be the loving parents we knew we could be, deserved to go through such a thing.

I wasn’t myself. I couldn’t help my husband heal from a loss that was most certainly affecting him as well. I couldn’t sleep, focus, or be happy. What didn’t help was me not wanting to talk about it at all. Of course, I needed my time to come around and tell my family, the people who also shared blood with this angel. But at one point, I was fine not saying anything at all. It took my brave, genuine husband to reach out for support for us. To be honest about our pain and not be ashamed. (You can see why I love him so much.)

The problem with my generation of new moms is that the tragedies that come with trying to have a baby are not talked about as much as I personally think they should. A lack of honest precedence lulls most of us into a quiet, suppressed grief.

But I can’t allow that to happen anymore. This healing process is a delicate one that can’t be rushed, but it also doesn’t have to be a lonely one. Nature’s way or God’s way, whatever you believe, is not exclusive to one prospective mom. It affects more than we know. Some moms lose their babies early enough to not know she was pregnant, some lose their babies after getting halfway through their pregnancy, some sadly at birth. Some moms have fertility issues that prevent a pregnancy to begin with, becoming a monthly heartbreak. And we must not forget the effect this kind of tragedy has on a dad. While his body is not the one undergoing physical loss, he still feels pain for his grieving baby mama and the precious child he will never meet. That is an unspoken, undermined sorrow that should be acknowledged as well.

My want for a solitude was achieved by yoga, a beach getaway with Ryan and Elvis, and just… time. But I knew that there was a part in me that needed to eventually come out and be the woman I wish I met when I first got hit with news that I lost my baby. To be the woman who tells me that just because everyone else around you is having beautiful babies, doesn’t mean your loss makes you any less of a woman or mom. It means it’s a storm you need to sit through, but even better if you can build shelter with some trusted folks who know the storm all too well. With the kind of faith that you didn’t know you had until you were put through something like this.

The reason why we call our expectant baby a rainbow baby is because it is beautiful, colorful joy that resulted from the grey turmoil beforehand. It is the miracle of life that swells in your heart in a unique way. We can all appreciate a rainbow even more when we see it against the dark clouds behind it, making way for the kind of hope we need to move forward.

If you have ever had your heart broken in the process of trying to have a baby, I want to tell you that you are not alone. You are not a failure. Your rainbow might be another pregnancy down the line or adoption of a precious life deserving of a chance of being loved or the ability to use medicine and practices that can help your body carry the child you have been praying for.

The rainbow effect is a real one. Trust me.

 

So the next question I’m sure I’ll get asked after this rainbow baby is born is “when will you have another?” Everything I’ve been through will swirl in my head and render the reply, “when the weather is just right.” 😉

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Throwback to when Wee Will was 10 weeks

Anniversary of Sorts

September is my favorite month. It’s not because of a certain birthday, start of football season, playoff run for baseball season, or the best Northwest weather–even though all those things are worth celebrating!

I love September because it is an anniversary of sorts. Three years ago, we had a wedding in front of our closest family and friends in a humble ceremony that we scraped our own pennies for. He was home from deployment, both sides of the family traveled from afar, and everyone we cared about got to celebrate an important milestone in our lives; the creation of a new branch of our family tree. This was a milestone in the making.

Melissa & Ryan from Edward Bello on Vimeo.

Another anniversary I celebrate is the first and last time I ever fell in love. Sure, cheesy. But hear me out…

Eight years ago, I met my future husband. He was comfortable. He was a challenge. He was so foreign to me. When you’re a 18/19, your standards are far from set and you’re still reeling off the pain of knowing that Ryan Gosling will never be your future husband. And while our “how we met” story is far from romantic (no clumsy coffee shop run-in, no damsel in distress situation), it’s my favorite story. A story most of you know that involved expensive phone bills and having no idea how tall he was (and how short I was) in person until months after we started talking.

Every September that passes, I think of how I felt at 19, wondering how a single person could change my world for the better. How a life partner could be your biggest cheerleader through life’s ups, and a major source of encouragement through its downs. The Lord knows how euphoric those highs were and how deep those downs have been. It all feels so vivid like it just happened at the blink of an eye, even if several years and changes have passed by.

Every September, I feel 19.

So cheers to another year with my best friend. To our health, the home we’ve built together and the dog who has our heart. Cheers to the many memories we get to make together, especially after many Septembers we’ve been apart. Cheers the belly laughs we get to share together and the tears that bring us closer. Cheers to growing older, but still looking at him like the clean-shaven, dimpled, freckled kid I fell for–that I hope our babies will look like!

Anniversaries are a great reminder of how you felt the day you kicked off a love worth celebrating. They tell us “hey, you made it this far!” and “hey, you have a long way to go!” Every day is a blessing, and every year is a culmination of those blessings. Celebrate and cherish each of them for what they are and how they shape you.

Wedding photos by Chloe Photography: http://www.chloephotographyblog.com/?p=1654
Engagement photos by Chloe Photography: http://www.chloephotographyblog.com/?p=468

 

MW

365 Project + Elvis’ New Knee

We know a gifted photographer/dear friend named Devon, who is responsible for the banner photo you see on this blog. She is inspirational in a lot of different ways, so ever since she started her 365 photo project to reflect her daily life I’ve been inspired to do the same. You can check out her website here. I highly recommend her for your family, portrait, senior photo needs. Trust me!

While my eye and photography-know-how is LIGHTYEARS behind hers (I mean, she is a professional), I am simply doing this for personal pleasure and learning basic functions on a simple, amateur-friendly camera. I feel like a snapshot of our lives will not only be a lesson in the art, but a lesson in holding on to brief, snap-worthy moments. These moments slip by faster than we know.

Here we begin with Day 1…

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Elvis got knee surgery last week. It was something we were honestly dreading for quite some time, but knowing that it would improve his quality of life made it an easy decision. Fortunately, he had a smooth procedure getting his knee cap groove deepened so that the cap can move back and forth without painfully popping out again. He now has a shaved leg and a dozen stitches that make him look Frankenstein.

I’m not quite a mother yet, but being responsible for this dog for the past two going on three years has brought out a side of accountability and compassion I didn’t think I was capable of. One of my biggest hopes is that this dog somehow realizes just how much we love him. It’s impossible, but I think we are close when we have moments like this with him.

Warm summer nights are a favorite around here. We get to tinker around our little yard, tend to an amateur (yet flourishing!) garden, and give Elvis some much-needed fresh air while he hops around (for now) on three legs.

IMG_9994 IMG_9996Here is one of Elvis and his red wagon, fabricated by the beard himself. Stay tuned for a post about how he made it, customized and fit for a king. 
IMG_0011My handsome man looks great in green!
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Cheers to beautiful weather and family time!<3 MW