Monday, February 24, 2014

Our Little Lydia | Newborn Photo Shoot

It's been three weeks now since we first laid eyes on her. Meet our sweet daughter, Lydia, who made her grand debut on Groundhog Day* and Super Bowl Sunday. We didn't see a single game play or commercial - we were wrapped up in our own once-in-a-lifetime production.

All the cliche things they say about having a baby? They're so true. It was love at first sight, and this little gal's filled places in our hearts we didn't know existed. I remember being nervous for the late night wake ups, diaper blow-outs, and projectile spit-ups that come with infant territory. I won't lie. It's hard (serious props to those of you with multiple're my heroes), but I didn't realize how willing I'd be to do anything for her. I don't know that I've ever felt this depth of joy before. And a BIG THANK YOU to all those who've visited, brought food, and sent well wishes - we so appreciate every act of love and kindness.

Now, let a proud mama share pictures. These were taken when our pretty Lydee was six days old. Thanks to the gentle hands and talented eye of Heather at (Highly recommend her!)

*Feb. 2 is also her late great-grandpa's birthday. 

Already finished reading three chapter books to her, including "Winnie the Pooh."  Read, baby, read! See my thoughts on babes and books here: 7 things I want to teach my daughter about books.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Classic Winnie the Pooh Nursery Corner

Call me a mama bird and consider me "nested." As I've shared before, the intense desire to make a space for our baby bird surprised me. I'd imagined a classic Winnie the Pooh nursery for quite a few years, wanting those cherished A. A. Milne characters surrounding our baby. Rallying the forces of Pinterest, and Etsy, it's all come together. With crib set up, clothes washed and organized by size, and tiny diapers supplied, we're feeling ready.

I often come in here and try to imagine the living, breathing baby who will sleep here soon. I'll pull out a little newborn onesie and wonder what she'll look like in it. Although I feel her moving inside all day, I don't know it will be really real until we see her. As countless people have told us, our lives will change. We'll get up close and personal with a million diapers. We'll have sleepless nights. We'll make adjustments to how we spend our time. While there's a bit of nervousness for all those changes, I believe it will be worth it. Like the friendliest little bear said, "Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."

Bring on the heart-takeover.

Heartfelt thanks to family and friends who have showered us and our baby with love. Thank you for the baby showers, the gifts, the notes, well-wishes. We're thankful for your support and look forward to introducing our daughter to you!

Note: While we're 95 percent sure about the name for our girl, we're not officially announcing until we meet her and make sure it fits. But, yes, I couldn't help but get the "L" ready for our little lady.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Two, Soon to Be Three | Our Maternity Photo Shoot

Sometime in the next two to three weeks our lives will change forever. We'll be parents. We're both very excited to start this new chapter of our Beck treks. It's definitely an adventure, and we know we have lots to learn, but also a lot of love welled up and ready for our first-born.

Ryan's sweet sister took our maternity shots. Thanks, Tami! We wanted to capture this belly while it's ripe. These were taken at 36 weeks, and we're now at 38. Not much longer 'til we'll meet our girl. 

While I'm very excited to see/hold/snuggle our girl, there is something very special about being (literally) one with her. 

Yeah, Ryan definitely threw a snowball at me. Such a tease. Then we got the idea to make it look it was snowing. 
Two. Soon to be three. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Playing Mary & Joseph + Sunny Arizona Christmas

This year at the annual Snarr family nativity re-enactment, Ryan and I got to play Joseph & Mary. While we're not the only expecting parents in the group, we were cast the parts because our baby is due the soonest. Plus, as Uncle Danny, the handlebar-mustached mayor, said to me, "You're looking BIG." (Yup, he's known for saying it like it is.) While our narrator read the Cliff notes version of the nativity, I could relate to Luke 2:6:

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

I can hardly imagine how Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem. Poor gal! It's hard enough for me at 34.5 weeks now to even sit in a car. Since I shared 29 surprises of pregnancy last month,* I've encountered quite a few new surprises: All my maternity clothes are too snug now, my fingers swell so bad they go numb in the night, and even walking is a challenge. Forget about bending over! I gained 10 pounds in a three-week stretch (ahh!)...but I'm trying not to think about that too much.

I remind myself as I feel our girl wiggling around and entertaining us with the waves she causes on my belly that there will never be another time in life it's THIS easy to take care of her. Right now she's well-fed, quiet, diaper-free, and I always know where she is. It's worth it. I'm willing to be uncomfortable for awhile so she can be a healthy, full-term baby.

As you can see in the picture above, we had the special treat of holding little four-month old Sawyer, Ryan's cousin's baby. Soft and sweet, she played a cheerful baby Jesus. She looked at all of us in our costumes, curious about unfamiliar faces. I couldn't help but say a few times, "We're going to have one of these soon!" It's exciting and somewhat surreal that sometime in the next three to seven weeks, we'll meet our daughter.

Sunny Arizona Christmas

The next day we left for Arizona for a week. It literally warmed my soul to replace Utah's 30-degree weather with bright and sunny days in the 70s. Ryan missed having a white Christmas, (we have clashing feelings about snow) but we'll have more than enough white for months, says I. Soaking up the rays, I spent happy hours outside, picking oranges and lemons from my parents' trees, and going on leisurely neighborhood walks.

It was so nice to see family and friends down south! Between school + work, we honestly don't get full days dedicated to playing games, catching up with relatives, and eating good food. We got pretty used to sleeping in, too. I wish I'd taken more pictures with my mom's side, but here are some highlights:

On Christmas Eve, we visited the beautifully-lit LDS Mesa temple. It was warm enough, my uncle wore shorts. 
With six kids + spouses + parents, it sure was a ginormous pile of presents. We're spoiled.
Was so nice to have ALL siblings in one place for Christmas - doesn't happen every year.
Yes, I know. I'm huge.'s for the best of causes.
My sis Emily was pretty pumped to get her favorite Sariachi sauce. It's the little things in life.
What do you get a soon-to-be-grandpa who has everything? This year we opted for a shark fin for pool time. Big hit.

And that's a Christmas wrap folks. Hope you had a happy holiday. Wishing you well in the new year!

*One never knows who's reading out there, but my surprises of pregnancy post surprised me itself: It's had 1,382 views so far - a new Our Beck Treks record. Thanks for being part of our treks.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

29 Surprises of Pregnancy

Sharing my body for the first time with another little human has definitely come with surprises. Our girl is in most of my waking (and even dreaming) thoughts, and I'm profoundly grateful to be preparing to welcome her to the world. I'm amazed at how much baby Beck has influenced Ryan and me, even before she's born. We love her. We talk to her. We're making little changes to prepare to be her parents.

As I ponder what I've learned the past seven-plus months, I recognize our partnership with God in creating new life is much more than merely a physical experience -- it's also a matter of heart, mind, and spirit. Since we're 29 weeks along, here are 29 surprises so far:


1. Finding out: We didn't officially find out I was pregnant until nearly the tail end of the first trimester. I cried with happiness and surprise to learn at our first doctor appointment our baby measured at 12 weeks!

2. How great I'd feel: One never knows how the body will react to pregnancy, and I've felt so fortunate every day. Don't hate me, friends who get really sick, but I've not thrown up once. I even ran a 5k at 16 weeks, went (lightly) backpacking at 17 weeks, and on a 40-minute hike as recently as yesterday. Who knew?

3. Losing interest in salsa: I've blogged before about being a salsa addict most of my life. Normally, I guzzle the stuff, but in the past seven months I've lost interest. It's just not appetizing to me. Weird!

4. My new cheesy obsession: On the flip side, before growing a person, I hadn't eaten dairy products in years. Now, all I want is cheese, milk, and sour cream, as described here.

5. Having a free French manicure. Usually, I'm lucky to have any "white stuff" at all on my nails. Now, they grow so strong and fast, Ryan literally asked last week if I'd gotten a French manicure. Nope, it's au naturel, baby!

6. Tiredness: My only real struggle being pregnant has been spurts of weeks when I want to go to bed at 7 p.m. One time at my full-time gig, I was so bone tired I locked myself in a closet so I could lay down for a 10-minute cat nap.

7. Time it took for Ryan to feel her: Despite many attempts, it was a full two months after I first felt little butterfly-wing kicks that Ryan could feel baby's movements from the outside. I didn't realize it would take that long.

8. Rocking the belly: There's not really any other time in life to be so proud of gaining weight. I've been surprised at how beautiful I feel in my pregnant body. I've never felt so content in my own skin as I do now.

9. The need to pee: It's always there.


10. Generosity of people: I'm amazed at how many people are so willing to help us! A kind sister at church who I had hardly talked to gave us some rad baby gear. Another lady at work I've only done a few small projects with bought me a cute stuffed animal. It's like people are coming out of the woodwork to love us.

11. Feeling content: My writing friend, Sam, said it so well in her post about being pregnant. I also feel this deep sense of contentment and purpose, knowing I'm in the midst of experiencing the most important thing I'll ever do.

12. Lonely no more: Usually, when we're apart for more than two nights, I really start missing my husband. I don't sleep as well with his side of the bed empty. Recently we had a four-night hiatus with him at a conference, and I didn't feel lonely one bit. I kept feeling little reassuring kicks, a tiny person keeping me company.

13. Being protective: With precious cargo aboard, I've found my pedestrian self being less risky crossing the street, opting to wait through another cycle, rather than rush to beat traffic. Also, whenever I smell folks smoking ahead of me, I speed up and pass them so my baby doesn't get their yucky second-hand smoke.

14. Kinship I feel with other preggos: When I meet other women with rounded bellies, there's an instant understanding. I met a lady at a conference whose due date is the day after mine, and she might as well have been a long-time friend.

15. Having two cousins coming too: It's been exciting to have my sister AND my sister-in-law expecting. Our babies are due in a six-week span next year, and our girl will have two "twin-age" cousins! More little ones to love. 

16. Phenomenon of nesting:  I had no idea how real "nesting" would be. It's a matter of the heart to realize how much I want to make a space for our baby - both literally and emotionally.


17. Loving hypnobirthing: We took a hypnobirthing class together, and I'm in love with the concept that birth can be a peaceful, calm experience. If you would have asked me pre-pregnancy, I had a completely different opinion on the matter. I used to be deathly afraid, but I've learned  torturous, traumatic displays of birth a la Hollywood aren't how it goes for everyone. That's not the experience I want. Hypnobirthing's been a wonderful surprise: discovering my own inner-strength, developing trust in my body, my baby, and the natural process of birth. It's empowering to replace former fears with joy and excitement. I've learned much from other like-minded women, reading books, and watching this documentary. (If you see any of it, watch from 13:15 to 15:00 and 1:06 to 1:09) Yes, I'm planning for an unmedicated birth. My body is literally made for this, and now my mind believes it.

18. I'd finally learn to relax: A big part of the hypnobirthing philosophy is calming the mind with affirmations. I've never been very good at relaxing, but for the sake of my baby, I've learned to take my mind to a safe, comfortable place. It's quite a gift she's giving me - one I've needed for a long time.

19. Finally understanding why pregnancy is measured in weeks: I'll admit, I used to get a little annoyed at the preggo attachment to "weeks." I'd think, why not say "I'm five and a half months pregnant"? I get it now. I totally get it. It's a true accomplishment to tally up another week. If you had to wait a whole MONTH to earn a new number, it would get pretty discouraging. Weeks matter.

20. Looking forward to Thursdays: We officially hit a new week each Thursday, and I get to take another link off my handmade countdown paper chain. I love Thursdays.

21. Support at work: I've never gone on maternity leave before, and had been a bit nervous about the logistics of FMLA. I've been pleased at the support I've had in the professional realm.

22. Video views: I think like a marketer, and wanted our baby announcement to be memorable. Imagine my surprise to see our little video get 600 views in the first 24 hours, and now more than 9,500! 16,500!

23. All the free swag for registering: I'm not sure what other category this fits in, but it's pretty rad what you can get for registering at Target, Buy Buy Baby, and shopping at Motherhood Maternity.

24. Nursery setup: I always imagined setting up a baby nursery would be a simple thing, but for us, it's been a matter of debate. I won't go into details, but will leave it at this: It's been one of the most collaborative experiences of our marriage to decide when and how to set it up. A meeting of the minds, indeed.


25. Countdown: In addition to my weekly countdown paper chain, I have a daily prego app update. In truth, I've been waiting much longer than seven months, or even my whole mortal life. I believe I looked forward to being a mother before I was born, while I waited in heaven to come to earth. It's about time!

26. How gender impacts our identity: In the Family Proclamation, it states, "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." I've always believed that, but never more so than the day we found out the gender of our first baby.

27. Gender revealed: I'd been convinced for some reason we were starting off with a boy, but surprise of surprises, she's a girl baby! I wrote about that day here.

28. Parenting patterns: I've been studying parenting rockstars in scriptures. As I highlight them, my Book of Mormon is getting pretty colorful. From Lehi's last words to his sons, to Mary's love for the Christ child, to King Benjamin's way of leaving a legacy for his son Mosiah, there are many examples of faithful parents. God has sent us all to earth in families, and it's our turn in the ongoing chain of love.

29. Added measure of love in life: It would be hard to count how many people have shared their parenting experiences with me during my pregnancy. From a grandmother in the gym saying, "You're entering the best part of your life!" to a guy at work showing me pictures of his darling six-month-old, I'm seeing more love in my life. I won't really understand that parental bond until we meet our girl, but I like hearing about how others love their kids.

For parents out there: What were surprises in your first pregnancy?