All in Moderation

Hello, my dear friends! I am so happy to be back in this space, reading and reflecting on old posts and getting inspired to write more in the coming months. Our beautiful Ruby is nine months old – where is the time going?! – and we are more in love with her than ever. Each day we feel increasingly grateful for the gift that she is to us, and we can’t believe we were blessed with the sweetest, smiliest, most loving little girl.

The months after Ruby was born were blissfully calm. Of course we had days when sleep evaded us and sicknesses reared their ugly heads, but mostly we were enveloped in an atmosphere of peace as we soaked up every minute with our baby girl. My friend Gwendolyn gave me my favorite piece of advice about the postpartum season, telling me to ignore the feeling that, after we had settled into a routine, I had to be up and about all the time. She told me that she felt like she’d forced herself to get up and go too early on, that I’d likely prefer nothing more than snuggling up with my baby girl for hours on end. For an introvert, this advice was easy to take but I’m so glad she shared it anyway. There were days when while I was on maternity leave when I wondered if I should be more productive or active. But I quickly recalled Gwendolyn’s advice and hopped back into bed with Ruby in my arms, knowing that time was slipping through my fingers, knowing that there was nowhere better to be at that present moment. I loved every minute of that sweet, sweet season. I had nothing to do but be Ruby’s mom and it was the most surprisingly beautiful period of time, one that I had anticipated anxiously – I hadn’t known how I would feel, physically or emotionally, and I was so encouraged that I felt so calm and so at peace.

We did get out and about, of course. We met our dear friend Emily and her baby girl, Grace, for coffee once a week, exploring fun shops around town in an attempt to source the best brew (I think Weekend Coffee still remains my favorite). I started exercising just as soon as I got clearance from my doctor, and in addition to going for cleansing runs around the neighborhood in the morning, Ruby, Coach, James, and I went on a walk every evening. I met friends for wine and went to parties and scheduled lunch dates. We took Ruby on very first trip: fittingly, to Malibu, one of my most favorite places in the world. But I tried to move carefully, as I had learned early on that life’s pace with Ruby was much slower in the most refreshing way – if I allowed myself to resist the urge to rush and check items off my list and accomplish more, more, more. I intentionally left blank days on my calendar. I left my over-achieving attitude at home. I embraced the days when Ruby didn’t feel up to going out, and I shifted my plans. Some days this was easy to do; some days it wasn’t.

After I transitioned back to work part-time, after the holidays came and went, after the new year was upon us, I really started to feel like myself, like I was hitting my stride: as a mom, as a wife, as a daughter, as a friend, as an employee. I will always have moments when I’m not sure how I’m doing, when I don’t know how I measure up, but I seemed to settle into a rhythm in the new year.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about moderation. In many senses, I have always wanted more, even in diametrically opposed ways. It’s as if I’m attempting to balance desires on one end of the spectrum with desires on the other: more tacos + more kale. More wine + more water. More exercise + more rest. More weekend trips + more Saturday mornings at home. More coffee + more sleep. More books + more Netflix. More playtime + more naps. More baby cuddles + more me time. More plans + more spontaneity. More writing + more free time. More of this + more of that.

I struggled to reconcile this feeling of wanting more with my desire for wanting less. I loved the feeling that I had experienced right after Ruby was born, and the way that it inspired me to pare back my life in so many ways – by saying no to invitations, by keeping my calendar more open, by decluttering closets, by maintaining a slower pace, by being present with Ruby. But I also wanted to show my daughter the world, to engage in activities that I love and fill life to the brim with experiences and meals and trips and sunsets and books. Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about moderation, that it’s all about enjoying the things I want more of (the tacos and the wine and the exercise and the travel) while balancing them out with the things that help me say yes to less (the kale and the water and the rest and the Saturday mornings at home).  I’ve been thinking that moderation is the key to the joy our family has been experiencing in this season of life – and, maybe, it will be the key to experiencing joy in every season.

Anyway. That’s plenty of pondering for now. I plan to be popping back in to this space with more frequency, all while keeping moderation in mind. More writing, more connecting on the wonderful world wide web – but also more face time with the people I love.

Photos via Hunter Folsom – check out the link to read Hunter’s beautiful post about Ruby and our family. I am so honored to call her a friend! If you’re in the Dallas area and you’re looking for photos, Hunter is currently donating 100% of her proceeds to Preemptive Love Coalition. Amazing, right? 

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Ruby Clare

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetOur sweet baby girl arrived on July 17th (her due date, can you believe that?!) and we are over the moon. Ruby Clare Brown is named after her beautiful great-grandmother (whose 120th birthday was on July 20th!) and James’s amazing younger sister. We can’t stop staring at this gorgeous miracle of ours! Thank you to James for being the very best daddy and night nurse on the planet, to my parents for being total rock star helpers, to our siblings & friends for flooding us with loving visits and calls and texts, to Mr. Coach for being such an adoring puppy and protective big brother, and to Ruby for being everything we ever dreamed of and so much more. We are so blessed!

P.S. Two fun facts about Ruby’s name – the birthstone of July is a ruby (so naturally I’m eyeing something like this in honor of baby girl) and it is also the traditional 40th wedding anniversary gift, which is perfect timing since my parents celebrated 40 years of marriage in June! So fun & definitely meant to be, right?