that month that flew by.

i have a one month old baby. how this happened i'll never know. because yesterday we brought her home from the hospital and today she is a month old. excuse me, what?? florence, you must stop growing up so fast.

it's funny to me now thinking about the few days after we brought her home. i was more overwhelmed than i ever imagined i would be. i cried every evening as we sat down for dinner, like clockwork. i started feeling anxious as it got dark out. and i would feel helpless every time she would cry. breastfeeding still hurt a lot and i had no appetite and no energy. and we ended up going to the pediatrician 4 out of the 5 days that week. i was under the incorrect assumption that after 9 months of sharing my body with someone else, i'd get it back now. and then i realized that my body was still entirely hers for the taking. the worst part was that i didn't feel a huge bond to her yet. and i felt guilty about not feeling a huge bond to her. i loved her, i really did. but mostly i felt like she was this little creature that needed me 24/7 and i wasn't really sure how or what to do. and even when i did, i didn't always want to do it. and that's just the truth friends. i was scared and felt nervous and trapped.

then suddenly after that first week, something just kicked in and it all felt slightly more manageable. she fell into a 3 hour feeding rhythm pretty quickly, was only waking up for one middle of the night for a meal, and was somehow gaining about 1.5 ounces a day. guess my boobs aren't making 1%. and newborn clothes are a joke.

now, at a month out, that first week seems lifetimes away. i feel like i really know her now. i feel such a closeness and bond with her even at her most needy moments--especially in those moments actually. i know the difference between a hungry cry, a tired cry, and a "i don't want to take this nap in my crib i want to take it on your chest" (!!!) cry. i adore her little poop face--lips pursed and nostrils flared. i know that she loves to have her head and nose rubbed and that her feet are ticklish like her papa's. i know how to help get rid of her hiccups (12 times a day). i can interpret most of her little mannerisms and can respond to them. and i think everything she does is the most precious thing that's ever been done.

she is my daughter, and it finally feels like it.

(pause to go check on crying daughter.)

it's true that becoming a mother happens in an instant. but really becoming a mother doesn't. at least not for me. it took me a month of learning her. learning to have patience with myself. learning all over again how to die to self. and learning how to have confidence in a role that God, in His wisdom, gave to me.

miss florence, you bring me joy. so much, so much joy. happy first month of life. now, will you just quit growing up quite so quickly?

*top photo by the arrow house.


those crazy five hours.

i have gone back and forth about whether to share my birth story here on the blog. it is so personal and precious and intimate. i kind of want to keep it and treasure it with adam and my family. so i've decided not to share all of the details...i'm honestly still processing a lot of them. but here is the gist...

we were watching the duke v arizona game on friday night november 29th. around halftime i started feeling contractions (8:15). by the time the game ended i announced to my family "i think i might be in labor. adam and i should probably head home. we will keep you posted about what time tomorrow you should come to the hospital for the birth."

we left and planned to go home, try to rest, labor at home through the night, and head to the hospital in the morning.


by the time we got home i was in serious active labor. my doula was headed over. it wasn't long before my contractions were about a minute apart and completely excruciating. i realized that if i didn't go the hospital right then, i would likely give birth in our bed. not ideal. we called the doula and told her to meet us at the hospital. i basically went through transition in the car and was ready to push by the time i reached the triage room. we were at the hospital less than an hour when she was born at 1:14am...five hours after my first contraction.  i think i pushed for 15 minutes.

soooo...that's the short version. although, as you can see, there isn't really a long version.

i was grateful that i was able to have the natural birth that i wanted and had prepared for for so long.

i was less grateful that my body did in five hours what it should have done in more like 18 hours. it was crazy intense and i just remember thinking i would likely not live through it to meet my daughter. but i did. and i got to meet sweet florence early that morning. and that's the part i remember best. :)


two weeks with miss firenze.

i am not sure what i thought motherhoood would feel like. i loved being pregnant. i loved the anticipation. now, she's here and i just can't seem to wrap my mind around it. i remember thinking when we brought her home that elise no longer existed. now, it was just florence. my body, my thoughts, my time, my sleep...everything was wrapped up in her new little life now. seriously folks, nothing can prepare you.

yet, even after just two weeks things that seemed crazy and overwhelming have become the norm around here. suddenly i don't think twice about having poop on my hands or baby items covering every surface in my house. taking off my shirt a thousand times a day to feed a little human. being awake in the middle of the night every night. not that these things are always easy, but they have redefined normal. and the new normal is wrapped up in heaps of both delight and fear of completely dying to self.

there are so many quirky little things about life now that are so endearing. like the little dolphin noises she makes when she is starting to stir. or the way she purses her lips and throws her head back when papa blows on her face. or the way that her newborn legs bend like a little yogi and her little bum bum just sticks out so cute-like. and of course that dramatic little cry that comes out of nowhere, when all i can think to do is starting talking to her in my most dramatic sounding italian. oh fireeeennnze!!!

some days it still feels like the world might end. and others i feel totally in love with this new life i am living. i am guessing this is normal, and i'm just riding the roller coaster along with every other new mamma. but at the end of every day, good or bad, i have this little precious to look at and love.

here's to two weeks of our new life. the one where we get to fall in love with miss florence ruth over and over again every minute. ti vogliamo bene, firenze. 

ps, thanks to my lovely sister for taking these photos while she was visiting this week!


florence + ruth

florence, my love.

you dear, are a beauty.

i don’t mean just physically (but gah! are you...) i mean you are a creation of God and you radiate his beauty so profoundly. it makes my heart crumble so fast just looking at you. we knew you would possess this kind of beauty, because we know your creator well. and we wanted you to have a name that reflected it:

florence means flowering, in bloom. something opening up and becoming it’s most beautiful self. it’s so much of what we pray and trust God will do in your life. it’s what we pray every day he will continue to do to us too, as he sanctifies us. ruth means companion or friend. you may read about someone in the bible named ruth one day. she has a great story of loyalty and companionship. she also married well—into jesus’s bloodline, to be exact. God used her to bring his own son into the world—Jesus, the most fiercely loyal friend of all. i hope you will learn a lot from both of them about compassion, friendship, and most of all sacrifice.

we loved your name when we chose it. we were giddy we loved it so much. but, you know, we love it on you even more. and we love imagining the ways in which your character will embrace, and exceed its meaning.

lovely little florence, you are deeply treasured. thank you for the joy that your companionship and beauty already bring to our family. oh my word how we love you.


world, meet florence ruth

she has arrived.
safely and beautifully at that.
7lbs 3oz, 19.5 inches of love and sweetness.

here are a few photos from our first couple days together.

thank you for all of the love and warm wishes we've already received. we so appreciate them.

much love,

elise, adam, and florence.


ok, so you are still in there.

hello my child,

you still doing ok in there? ok, yeah, that's how it seems...

we are still doing pretty well too but it's getting a little harder to wait for you. i know you don't know much about sports yet, but you will. and when you do, you'll understand this analogy a lot better. sometimes we refer to overtime as "free basketball." you know, you pay for the two halves, but then all of the sudden, you get some extra ball. usually at the expense of your mental health because your team missed a few crucial free throws down the stretch or committed a really stupid turnover. anyways, overtime is kind of like being overdue. on one hand we feel like the waiting is driving us crazy, but don't worry. we are also enjoying our free ball...

we went and got a christmas tree. we started prepping some of the thanksgiving dishes. we strung lots of lights and hung your first christmas ornament. we even brought all of our blankets in the living room and camped out under the tree for a night. but every time i feel you do something painful or crazy in there i jump a little and wonder if it's all beginning. 

you have me on my toes, girl.

and your papa too.

and just about everyone else in our lives that keep "checking in" on us.

my nurse gave me one due date (22nd). my midwives gave me another due date (27th). my thought is that God has an entire other due date in mind. and i'm thinking His is the one that's going to count in the end. 

so just hold tight. or come on now. whatever. but just so you know, we are ready, 



love you crazy baby.


a nursery tour. (because she's actually due this week...)

we had such a good time coming up with ideas and working together on projects for the nursery. adam is very task oriented and gets very focused on a project. he wants to zone in, take his time, and present the finished result. and then there is me who LOVES to watch and hover and help and discuss each step at great lengths…awesome, right? 

every project man's dream wife...not.

needless to say, early on in our marriage we had to troubleshoot how to do projects together. luckily after painting a few rooms together in our first little rental we seemed to get the hang of it. two years later, i think we are a pretty good team. not that we don’t have our moments still…

anyway, of all of our together projects, this one brought us the most joy. we got giddy with every little detail. the other night after hanging a few a little things on her wall, adam yelled downstairs and said, “elise, her room rocks!” i smiled. one, because how sweet is it for a father-to-be to get all excited about his baby girl’s room? and two, because i totally agreed. it’s the first room we've actually “done” in our whole house. and yes, we moved in almost a year ago. these days it's our favorite room to just be in too. last night adam randomly asked "do you want to go hang out in the nursery??" ha, can you tell we are ready to meet her? 


we think it rocks. we think she rocks. and we can’t wait to bring her home and introduce her to the little space made especially for her. for real. there is going to be an actual sweet little bambina living in this space. eeeeeks!

this chair was in my grandmom’s house and she was getting rid of it. score! i didn't remember how cute it was until adam brought it home and plopped it in the nursery. could it be more perfect? plus, my awesome and very dear friend steph made this precious sign for her.

i have had this dresser and lamp since my second year of college. but how perfect are they in here? we did buy a new shade that matches a bit better.

we adore this crib and crib set. remember my rant about non matchy-matchy sets? and no crib would be complete without one or two jellycat animals. from what i can tell, there have never ever been better stuffed animals than jellycats. and that lion...eeek!

meet queen buzzy bee. my favorite of her toys so far. 

lil' newborn mocs? yes please!

she has a big old window and window seat too...which is the last project that we'll need to do. but these days, when it's dark about 20 out of 24 hours...we aren't too worried about curtains. we'll figure that out at some point.

ok child, big week! come see your room, if you want!


a prayer for my daughter.


i remember the day i learned you did miracles. it was a busy day.
probably one in which i was just a little too busy for you, again.
getting home from work, scrambling around, getting ready for small group.
probably overly concerned about the state of my house,
the nutritional value in the dinner i was throwing together...
then came the news.
and suddenly i was in terror,
and in love all at once.

a baby? but how?

you called me out onto the waters that day,
to the great unknown,
where i knew my feet may fail me.
and it’s there that i’ve been finding you,
in the mystery,
in oceans deep.*

i’m still there.
and the waters feel like they are deepening.
i’m still unsteady, but i feel your embrace:
it’s strong, it’s steadfast, it’s tender and loving.
it’s so much of what i want to offer her-- 
so much of what only you will be able to offer her.
i don’t know why you did, but thank you for choosing me to be her mother.
i don't know why you did, but thank you for choosing now.

i can’t stop praying for her, it consumes my heart.
i can’t make myself stop hoping that she’ll be much more like You, then like me.
much more like her creator.
i want her to grow in your spirit.
i want her to know you deeply, richly.  
i want to know that i can’t mess her up--
that i can’t mess her up because it’s You who knitted her together,
and You who will continue to mold her.
i pray that i’ll be enthralled by your love too,
more and more,
when i look at her face and burst and gush, and know that's how you feel about me, too.

i pray that you’ll give her fiercely loyal friends.
i pray that she’ll offer community and love and friendship to others, without bias.
i pray that you give her your passion and compassion...and selflessness.
i pray that you lead her through her failures with new confidence in you.
i pray that you give her humility too, when she succeeds.

father, i just,
i pray everything for her.
i am so thankful.
thank you for every sweet minute of her life.

and for every sweet minute of our lives that we will get to spend with her.

*lyrics from oceans, by hillsong united.


one month till you are in my arms!

baby girl,

it’s getting real up in here. you are due one month from today. i am pretty sure i’ve felt each and every one of your sweet body parts in my ribs at one point or another now. you are so stinking strong, my word. and a flipping gymnast too. sometimes when i am sitting at meetings at work i feel like i should apologize for how much my stomach is bouncing around…it’s a bit awkward. but you’re a little bouncing bambina, and you are going to do what you are going to do. and if you want to do back handsprings in there, go for it. whatever it takes to stay healthy and happy.

sometimes i complain to your papa about how you hurt me and make me uncomfortable and keep me from sleeping. and how i am not ready or old enough to be a mom and how i don’t know what i am doing…i hope you don’t hear those things. they are just your mamma having a pity party. and being a scaredy cat. most days i talk about how i can’t wait another day to meet you and how much i love you and how excited i am to get to know you and have you in our family…i hope you do hear those things and know that i couldn’t be more excited to be your mamma.

by they way, you are due on my birthday. i don’t know if i’ve mentioned that to you before. can you believe that God would give me such a precious birthday present? shoot, forget those anthro bags i usually look for. this year my favorite birthday present really got kicked up a notch. or a zillion notches. i hope for your sake that you come on your own day. i don’t want you to have to share with me for your whole life. but i think it’s pretty darn special that you are due when you are. you little mamma's girl, you...

we are getting your nursery all ready. it's almost done. we were lying on the floor in the there the other night thinking about how your little presence will make the room complete, and perfect. we sit in there a lot and think about you. it's by far our favorite room in the house these days. thanks for taking so many ordinary thoughts and days in our lives and making them something so beautiful, already. God only knows what you'll do to our hearts once you are actually in our arms...

we can't wait to meet you. 
one month sweet thing, one month.


mamma, papa, bambina.

while we were in richmond this weekend, my sister and her friend Christine kindly took some photos of our little growing family, which we had neglected to do up to this point (34.5 weeks!). adam and i always feel awkward in front of cameras, and the rainy weather didn't help. but there is quite some joy that thinking about meeting this baby girl brings us...and i think it came through. :)

by christine...

and some by laura too...

we are ready for her sweet face to be in some of these family shots before long. :) thanks again laura and christine for snapping these. we will treasure them for so long!


the end of the showers, now for a baby girl.

my sister posted such a lovely blog about the last shower for the little girl, so i’ll direct you there for most of the details and lovely photos. she and two of my other best friends hosted the shower and they did the most lovely job imaginable! we spent all afternoon sipping yummy beverages, eating good food, and crafting with some of my very best friends. and the bambina came out of it with a bazillion adorable headbands and barrettes thanks to the creative minds and hands of my friends. even those who were unsure, had some crazy hidden creativity! i mean, i was amazed!  i loved every minute of the day. and all four of the precious babies in attendance. the fall weather outside somehow made her arrival seem really near too. which i am realizing, it really is.

every new little dress, headband, or swaddle makes me that much more eager to meet the one who will be wearing them. the waiting is starting to get sweeter and somehow more tender the closer it gets.

man, have we nelson girls been spoiled. and man are we behind on thank you notes…

but we are thankful. and they are coming. :)

(all photos courtesy of my lovely sister).

ps, it was so sweet of my sister and her friend Christine to take some bump photos to capture this sweet season for us. excited to share some soon!

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