{11 Months}

12:36 PM

11 months old. 

It is becoming increasingly harder to get Isla to sit still (especially lay still) for photos. I just roll with it and aim for more candids of her exploring her world. Every day this little delight of ours is learning something new. I actually can't handle how sweet she is... I'm honestly shocked at how easy it is to love her and spend all my days caring for her. I don't wish away my moments with her as a baby - they are going by oh so fast. I'm proud of all her recent milestones but I'm more proud of her heart. She has a real light in her. Today while eating, she stopped to smile at me, laughed and then kept eating. Three seconds later she stopped, looked up at me and leaned in and gave me a kiss. Unasked for, just because she felt like it. She melts me in the best way and shows me what love is every day. I have always wanted to be a mom but I never knew just how much I would enjoy it - it's totally shaped my world in a new way. Of course some days are hard but I have to say loving her is so easy, and my life is so blessed by her existence. It's like I finally understand why my heart ached so so badly for a child - maybe my heart knew all along that it was aching for her. In my wildest dreams I couldn't have imagined this girl. I couldn't even dream her up. Only God could make someone so lovely with such a spark and joy for life. She is a gift through and through...and like her middle namesake, she sure is a sweet rain in the desert. 💧♥️

I really love how much things have changed in the past month with her. It's been a whirlwind actually. She started crawling, climbing, standing on her own, and just simply becoming a little explorer, eager to touch and see all that she can. She is learning gentleness and is actually doing really well with it. She knows she can pet Meadow or touch my hair but she doesn't pull anymore.  She gets so much joy out of seeing people. When someone new arrives on scene and greets Isla, she smiles but leans into my chest as a little shy gesture before she warms up moments later and is chatting (babbling) and clapping and showing off her skills and massive smile. We are still cloth diapering, using a mix of our mama made diapers and our Charlie Banana diapers that are new to Canada. Isla is going to be modelling for some great small Canadian companies this summer as I trade some photography for products + promotion of small shops I love. I mostly promote on Instagram, but of course the photos will end up here too. If you ever want to know where anything is from, please ask in the comments! It's too hard to tag every single photo here but I definitely am happy to pass on support of some small mama shops. 

I am still breastfeeding and excited to make it to the one year milestone! It wasn't even really my initial goal - but there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. It's going great. Isla is a great eater honestly. She has still yet to refuse to eat ANYTHING at all. She has tried lots of regular expected foods but also tomatoes, onions, pickles, radish, lettuce, berries, indian food, eggs, avocado, asian stir fry, zucchini, mushrooms... she will eat it all! I am thankful. I have been a picky eater my whole life and it's honestly a struggle for me to enjoy fruits and veggies. But my generation was a different time - I really wasn't exposed to anything on the above list until I was much older than Isla and by then I had developed what I liked and didn't want new stuff that tasted weird - lol! I am thankful for the new baby led weaning trend and love seeing Isla enjoying eating - she definitely gets this from her dad but I like to think the way we have exposed her to many things very young is a big help too! 

As for Emberly House, this past month we have been organizing and moving some rooms around in preparation for Spring cleaning! I love Spring cleaning, but there is one rule: the windows need to be open! Sadly, April has been so cold and blistery winter forecasts have replaced expected Spring rain with bursts of warm days we are used to. Since April has looked and felt more like a January, it just hasn't felt right to get into serious Spring cleaning mode...but the upcoming 1st birthday party of Isla has me realizing I only have 4 weeks to get my home and yard all tidied up and organized, so cleaning and decluttering efforts have begun even if it's too cold to open windows. Just one of those years! But I cannot wait for Spring. I love the windows open, birds chirping, light chilly breeze coming through the curtains - ahh. With that setting, I can clean all day long so happily getting things accomplished and loving the sights and sounds of beauty bursting forth from the earth. Winter and I are not very good friends...lol. I love the holidays and other than that I just patiently wait for Spring. So here I am patiently waiting! I am working on adding some more personal flare to the rooms of our house, with specific focuses on our front sitting room, formal dining room, downstairs kitchen, tv room, and my office. After that I will work on the master bedroom, guest bedroom, my office/sewing room and completely emptying our third story of everything up there in preparation for future reno (demo) plans. We are organizing a garage sale and just lots of purging - we have way too much stuff and I have a strong urge to simplify our life and be intentional with what we keep. Our basement is getting emptied out on our lawn and then we are making four piles: give purpose in our home, store in basement (cause some stuff does belong down there), donate, or garbage. At this point I am hoping to create as little waste as possible - the waste is mostly recycling and natural materials from home renos.

I am fully aware when I blog all the happy, exciting, thankful things, life just looks perfect...but this past month has NOT been perfect. Meadow, our 7 year old dog, is injured and it has been really hard on me emotionally to not know what's wrong with her, not know how to help her, and not have the finances to really explore all the options to help her. We finally took her to the vet and he thinks it's a back injury but it's hard to get concrete answers without expensive tests. We are trying a round of medication first to see what helps and then will go from there. The whole thing brings back all the bad memories of what happened with Milo in the fall, and yet again in the first year of Isla's life, too many days are spent worrying and caring for a sick pet who we don't know if they will be okay. It means not being able to travel far from home much because we can't leave Meadow at home alone too long. It means me having to carry Meadow around the house and (trying) to prevent her from jumping on or off furniture and from doing any stairs on her own while I am also trying to chase a newly crawling baby who is trying to get into everything and put everything in her mouth. It's hard caring for two needy "babies" out of nowhere, with one of them being sick, keeping me up at night in pain, and needing meds and constant monitoring. Many nights my sleep schedule has felt worse than the newborn days with Isla - Meadow has just needed a lot more care. It does get to me and some days are hard. It's hard to get much done too... what Meadow mostly wants is for me to hold her. I think a firm hand on her back helps the spasms. When Isla naps, I am often just snuggling the dog who will finally rest comfortably in my arms. Ahh - it's a difficult thing to journey through *again* and I just pray it's nothing too serious. After this round of meds, if needed, we will get some tests done. I actually walked into the vet and first requested "can we please rule out cancer?" but the vet said that was not at all what he thought was going on and after looking at her symptoms, he felt I was jumping the gun. But still, if these meds don't heal her, I am requesting further tests... I need to know what we are dealing with and ultimately how we can help her. The anxiety of not really knowing what's wrong and seeing her in pain is just too hard. I honestly still have days where sadness hits me like a ton of bricks just missing Milo and reliving the really sad way that we lost him suddenly...so this is all just a lot for me. Ahh. Some of my closest people have also had a very difficult past month personally, so with the rest of my energy that I can muster up emotionally, I have been trying to be there for them. I am learning that even when I feel entirely overwhelmed, I still have enough love to give. Sometimes I do need to say no, and not go, and not see the people or do the things and just bunker down at home and take care of our family, but I am learning with whatever I can, to continue to also remember my branches and not just my roots. I really love this verse in this season: "when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I" -psalm 61:2 KJV. What a beautiful verse. I find that a lot of people deny religion and God because of human suffering and trails. The way I see it, whatever you believe or don't believe about life and God, you are still going to experience suffering and trials. The difference is whether you believe that the suffering has a purpose and whether you believe there is an ever-present comfort for those who suffer. I am not saying my dog being sick or my friend's struggles put me at the utmost peak of human suffering, not at all, but I do look around the world and it's certainly hard to ignore suffering (and wrong to) so while I navigate through my sorrows over the state of our fallen world, I know that no matter how overwhelmed my heart, there is a safe place for me to turn. I am so thankful for my faith in God - it has been the greatest gift/choice I have made. By it, I see all things and do all things. Through the sunshine or rain, purpose is woven and abounding and life is being made new again.

Well, that's my monthly digest for you. The good and the bad. Life isn't just sweet baby smiles and a silly husband and fun home renos... although those are the things that bring sunshine to my hard days and calm me and ground me. All this to say - I am very looking forward to {true} Spring!

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Meet Milo & Meadow

Meet Isla Rain

Meet "The Parents"