A friend of mine who is pregnant with her first sent me a message on Facebook asking for some advice on which items she should have on her gift registry. She was feeling a bit overwhelmed and oh, I remember that feeling! I remember walking into Babies 'R Us, pregnant with Cub, taking one look at their ten-page registry "suggestion" list, and promptly turning heel and leaving, barely averting a panic attack. Co-sleeping wipe warming jumperoo onesie Bumbo? What??
So, I dug into the reserves of my brain and made a list for my friend. I was amazed at how much I remembered and even though I don't know know how many times I've heard "the baby just needs a boob (or bottle) and a blanket!", I still found all of this stuff helpful. The needs change with each baby, but when it's your first go-round, a little extra help doesn't hurt. I included the brands I used, just for reference, and included why I liked certain things. It brought back so many memories of the early days with Cub and was actually quite fun! This is my list, copied and pasted from Facebook to here:
-Boppy -Boppy cover -Lansinoh or Medela Breast Pump (eek ... but you'll use it!!) -Lansinoh milk storage bags -Lansinoh nursing pads -Baby Einstein Floor Gym (we used this FOREVER) -Some sort of swing--we used a small travel swing rather than the huge swings, so we could take it with us wherever we went -Fisher Price Bouncy Chair (my kids hated vibrating chairs ... and, I hate to say it, but typically the brighter and more obnoxious the bouncy chair, the more they like it ...) -Dr. Brown's Bottles -Bottle Drying Rack -Sound machine/fan -Pack 'n Play -Eddie Bauer Pack 'n Play (I think they might call it "Play Yard") Quilted Mattress Cover---way softer than a sheet -Eddie Bauer Car Seat Cover (to zip over the car seat during cold months) -Changing Table Pad -Changing Pad Cover -Extra crib sheets (I don't know if you have your bedding picked out or not!) -Have someone make you a swaddling blanket--I'm not even kidding--homemade is hands-down the best! Typically the packaged ones are too small. -Either a notebook or an Itsbeen timer to help you record feeding times ... you will lose track of time sometimes! -Stroller (I would recommend a jogger that is compatible with a car seat, like Baby Trend. We have a BOB jogger and I know you can buy a car seat adapter so your infant seat will click into it, and I think any Graco or Chicco car seat is compatible ... just Google it. :)) -Umbrella stroller (MacLaren is great)
-Vaseline (you will need this if you plan on having your little guy circumcised) -Diaper rash ointment (Aquaphor is hands-down my favorite and can also be used if they get chaffed on their noses or lips) -Skip-Hop diaper organizer (a little zipper thing that holds diapers, that you can toss in your purse or diaper bag) -Baby Carrier (like a sling or Baby Bjorn--we love our Bjorn!) -Baby Lotion, soap, shampoo, etc -Burp cloths -Baby Thermometer (we have one you just swipe across their heads--nice and non-evasive!!) -Nasal aspirator (that thing that sucks snot) -Baby bath cradle (we just used the kitchen sink, but some people like these!) -Nursing cover ("hooter hider", ha ha--even if you don't plan on nursing, you might have to pump in the car ... yes, yes it's happened to me ... and a cover is great!) -Bumbo seat -High chair (we had one that just clipped onto our table ... I'm not a fan of huge plastic chairs!)
A while ago there was an incident that kind of hindered my photo-shooting mojo. After a series of small life changes (you know, new house, unexpected Baby Numero Tres, etc.), I took a brief hiatus from picture-taking to allow my brain to jump back into my head. Then the summer hit, which left us HOT HOT HOT, making scheduled shoots miserable to the point where we started scheduling them at 8:30 in the evening, just to avoid the worst part of the heat. Ugh. I could feel that I was in a bit of a slump and the fervor I had for photography had faded significantly.
I realized that a lot of it was fear-driven. All it takes (for me, anyway) is one shoot to make me feel like I'm a terrible photographer who has no idea what she is doing. And I'm not even a professional or advertised as one. I'm just an amateur building a portfolio who gets paid a little fee that I typically spend on an indulgent cup of coffee and diapers. The whole gig started out "for fun", but "fun" was the last thing I was having. I was stressed and overwhelmed as it was, chasing after two toddlers while maintaining the one in my womb, and photo shoots got knocked off the priority list. Needless to say, I learned a lot about boundaries and functioning within comfortable limits. It's what I have to do right now with my busy life. If I'm not okay, no one else is okay, either!
Then the weather cooled. This past weekend I had two shoots scheduled. They were for the first shoots in a long time and I could feel my stress creeping up again, but I knew that the best way to keep riding was to get back on the horse.
So, I did it. I did two shoots for the first time in a long time.
And they were great.
I uploaded the pictures and found myself commenting and ooo-ing and ahhhh-ing over the cuteness of my clients' kids, and with each click of the mouse I remembered why I loved doing this. Capturing these moments and being mesmerized at how quickly little ones grow. I ended my editing sessions feeling relieved and proud, rather than defeated and frustrated. These clients were repeat customers who called me because they wanted me to again do their pictures. That in and of itself brings a feeling of redemption.
I have one more shoot scheduled this fall and then I'm taking another break. But I feel good about this break--we have trips and holidays and then a baby. I'm not taking this break because I'm worried or afraid. Leaving on a high note feels great.
That's all. Now y'all have a little more of a peek into my life and the stuff I like to do.
Caleb has a shopping cart that his G-Ma gave him and it recently made its way from her house to ours. He loves it. He uses it to transport all kinds of things around the house, namely trains and books and cars and such.
A few months ago, he got it in his mind that he would like to take his cart to Target, please. Naturally, the execution of such a suggestion would be tricky with a one year old and a two year old, so we put it on the back burner, but kept the burner lit in case the opportunity ever presented itself to go.
And it DID!
While Naomi spent some time with the grandparents, I decided it would be the perfect chance for Cub to take his cart to Target. As soon as he woke up, I got him dressed and we loaded his cart in the van. We parked in the closest spot we could find and unloaded his cart. The store had just opened and was pretty empty (part of my plan!) and when we walked through the doors, the manager greeted us and was delighted in how cute it was to see a little guy pushing a cart, so I knew we were good to go.
He got to go to the cereal bar aisle and pick out his favorite flavor (always strawberry) and put it in his cart. Y'all, it was a BIG DEAL. So cute!
We only stayed for about fifteen minutes, and it was worth every second. Cub was elated. I remember always wanting to take my little cart I had as a kid to the store, so I could only imagine how happy Cub was to do it. Such a big boy.
My challenge for fall this year was to find cute, simple decor that was, of course, kid-friendly. Because that's how we roll, folks.
Front door: Fake mums in lightweight (but look heavy!) planters. I have trouble keeping things alive.
Straw pumpkins. Love them. (Sorry it's dark, the den was dark this morning!)
The mantle. The sprigs are mustard yellow and the sticks and berries are chocolate brown. Easy, plus I can put them up again after the Christmas decs come down, since they are also winter-appropriate.
The breakfast nook table! Since I do not have a dining room table yet (crossing my fingers), this is the only table where I can display things. Hence, some candles ... and a pile of gourds and pumpkins for the kids. They love to play with them during meal time (notice Cub's collection of them in the previous post). So fun.
That's it! A peek into our fall decor. Simple and easy and crash-resistant.
Me: Okay buddy, it's time to take a rest. Let's go find Bullseye!
Cub: Okay. Because Nigh-Nigh's at Memere's house!
(Nigh-Nigh has already arrived in the mail, unbeknownst to Cub.)
Me: Yeah ... Hey buddy, do you think it would be okay if Nigh-Nigh stayed at Memere's house for a while? You know, for a long time?
Cub: Yeah! That would be okay!
(I am pathetically FIGHTING BACK TEARS as I tuck him into his bed.)
Me: Okay! Here's Bullseye. Have a good rest, buddy.
Cub: I will, Mama. I love you.
Me: Love you, too.
It's hard knowing that his beloved toy is stashed in a box in the hallway closet, right next door to his room. But the thumb-sucking hasn't happened since Nigh-Nigh was first left at Memere's house, and the fading little sore on Cub's thumb tells me this is the right choice. I'm just glad he doesn't seem to be upset at all. If he asks again later, we'll tell a grand story about Nigh-Nigh going to the zoo to join the other lions, so he won't go to Memere's expecting to find him. I just can't believe how easy this has been for him.
Because it's been a little rough on me. Sigh, transitions.
Tonight (Sunday) we realized that Cub left his sleepy toy, Nigh-Nigh the much-loved-and-mangled-and-hanging-on-by-a-thread-(literally)-Ecuadorian-lion, at my parents' house in Arkansas today. We realized it after we came home and it's safe to say we froze with panic.
Cub has slept with Nigh-Nigh since he was seven months old, when he received him as a gift from his grandparents. I casually tossed him in the crib with Cub's other stuffed animals and it was love at first sight. The two have never spent a sleepy-time apart. Until now.
Naturally, we were terrified.
We came up with several different options: Drive to AR to pick him up and get home way late? Meet halfway? Fly to Ecuador and try to find another street vendor selling alpaca wool lions?
Or ... just explain what happened and (gulp) hope for the best...?
I decided to just go ahead and tell him. I lightheartedly explained how Nigh-Nigh wanted to spend a few extra days at Memere's house, but he'd be back in a few days. That meant he got to bed with another friend instead! What about Squirt the Turtle? Or Bullseye the Horse? Caleb processed this and we chatted about it for a bit.
Bullseye was selected.
I tucked him in with Bullseye at bedtime and we sang our songs together. He murmured quietly, "Nigh-Nigh's at Memere's house." I stroked his hair and told him how excited Bullseye was to be his sleepy friend tonight.
Y'all, I was fighting back the tears. RIDICULOUS. We just all have really grown attached to Nigh-Nigh around here. I tried to imagine what it would be like to be a little kid, not even three years old, and the only toy, I mean the ONLY TOY that you've ever attached to is suddenly gone. It really broke my heart.
I kissed his head and closed the door. He came out a few minutes later and I winced for the worst. He needed to go potty. Oh. Okay. So, he pottied and went back to bed.
And ... that was it.
The little tyke is fast asleep, Bullseye tucked under his arm.
I'm kind of in disbelief. I didn't know how it would all go down but I at least expected a few tears. Nope. I'm just .... so, stinking proud of my big boy. He's being so brave.
So, this little experience presents us with a bit of a conundrum. Caleb sucks his thumb to self-soothe at sleepy times with Nigh-Nigh. He ONLY sucks his thumb when he has Nigh-Nigh. It's not just direct correlation here, folks: It's causation. One doesn't happen without the other.
While we sang our songs and he hugged Bullseye, I saw his thumb go towards his mouth several times, but he pulled it away. Bullseye just doesn't have that luxurious, flowing, nasty, saliva-stained lion's mane to which Cub has grown very attached. Without the mane to rub, the compulsion to suck his thumb isn't there.
So, eh, at what point should Nigh-Nigh take a permanent vacation? I mean, we wouldn't really ever get rid of him--that beloved lion should be bronzed ... just hidden for a while. But if he makes it through tonight sleeping fine without him ... and maybe if he makes it through tomorrow night just fine, too ... (who knows) ... then that means that thumb-sucking might take a permanent vacation, too. He'll be three in a few weeks and we're going to have to stop it at some point, right?
At what point did you take away your child's sleepy toy/paci/blankie/lamby/smooshy/felty/snuggly (if they had one at all)? This might be time for the transition, but we're just not sure.
When it comes to soups, I'm a huge creamy soup fan. You know, the kind that isn't as good for you and usually involves significant amounts of fat and such. YUM!
As I made my menu for the week, I perused teh Internets for a creamy chicken noodle soup recipe that I could make in the good ol' crock-pot. I didn't find one that I loved, but I found parts of several that I loved, so I put them all together and made my own.
Oh my. Oh MY.
It was creamy, rich, amazingly yummy. My husband praised it and my kids devoured their bowls. I also devoured my fair share. So, if you're in the mood for something creamy and hot as the cold weather rolls in, here is my recommendation:
Way Yummy Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
You will need:
4 cups chicken stock
2 cans cream of chicken soup (I usually try to be all healthy and shy away from using "cream of ..." soups, but this time? NAH.)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (remember me not being healthy?)
2-3 cups chicken, shredded (or chopped or whatever you prefer)
3/4 bag of egg noodles
veggies of your choosing (chopped carrots, chopped celery, chopped green onion, etc.)
salt and pepper to taste
Dump everything in your crock-pot except the noodles. Cook on high for roughly thirty minutes, and then set to low.
Let it simmer all day and make your house smell amazing.
About thirty minutes before meal time, dump in the egg noodles.
Cook noodles until satisfied (I let mine thoroughly cook so they would have a dumpling-like creamy texture).
Add salt and pepper as needed.
(NOTE: I'm going to go ahead and recommend that you make your own chicken stock. I know, it sounds like a pain if you've never done it before, but it's way easy and you just can't beat the rich flavor. I seasoned my stock with garlic, green onions, bay leaves, salt, and pepper and it tasted amazing. I like making my own stock because I can control the salt content (I think store-bought tends to taste a bit salty, and the low-sodium option tastes a bit bland ... I guess I need a happy medium!). Especially when I'm using other canned soups which are already salty enough--it's nice to have a mellow but rich stock. I also used my chicken from the stock and it was all flavorful and yummy and YUM.)
It wasn't until I was pregnant with Naomi that I had a false alarm.
I mean, she was my second. Meaning I HAD DONE THIS BEFORE and really, should know how contractions and labor and baby pains and all of that felt.
So, one night I laid in bed with what I thought was horrible back labor. Ughhh. It was searing and uncomfortable. Back labor was the primary labor I experienced with Cub, so it was all I knew. I was about 37 weeks, so my husband called his brother to come and stay with Caleb while he and I headed to the hospital.
After much monitoring and adjusting and urine sampling they came in and told me I was dehydrated.
Note: DEHYDRATION MIMICS BACK LABOR.
I had no idea. I drank water all day and all night but it didn't seem to matter. They said they were glad I came in because I needed to be put on fluids to catch up to the hydration level I needed to be.
This time around, I'm feeling just as dry.
I joke that coffee is my primary beverage of consumption but, of course, it's not. I drink my allotted amount, maybe ... three times a week? And if you ask my friends they will tell you: I never finish a cup. I'm a slow drinker and a slow eater and by the time I'm halfway through my delectable brew, it's cold and I'm done.
So, after I've had my approximate 4 ounces of coffee, I spend the rest of the day guzzling water in the lovely blue mug pictured above. Classy, yes? My husband picked it up for me at Lambert's Cafe when he was a sponsor for our church's junior high camp. So romantic. But, really, it's been quite useful. Every morning I fill it up with ice and then fill it with water, and guzzle away. By the end of the day, I normally have consumed four or five of these bad boys.
Please note the mug is the size of my head. This ain't no easy task.
What's crazier is that I fill it up before bed and continue drinking it all night. I'm THAT DRY. And my coffee days are no drier than my non-coffee days. I live in a perpetual state of thirst. Weird. What's even weirder is that in my pregnancy with Cub, when I was pregnant allllllll summer long and drank a lot of coffee (I was working then and Starbucks happened to be on my way to work ... wait, no it wasn't .... but it was still easier to access ... excuses, excuses ...) and I wasn't dehydrated one bit. Ever.
So, can someone please tell me if this is a blood sugar thing, maybe? In your expert opinions? I'm borderline hypoglycemic and my glucose tests in pregnancy are always very low, so I have to wonder if that matters ...?
After receiving two atrocious (horrific, terrifying, half-of-what-we-pay-for-our-mortgage) electric bills in a row this summer, we decided it was time to cover the windows in the formal living room, which is the room you see first when you walk in our front door past our entryway. I had left the windows uncovered because the light! The beautiful light! was gorgeous and I loved how it streamed through onto the floor.
I did not, however, like how it helped keep our house at oven temps.
So, after tearing open one of the atrocious electric bills, I hopped in the minivan and sped to Hobby Lobby. I purchased lots of fabric, some curtain clips, a curtain rod, and sped home. I did a really terrible job installing the curtain rods (can we say crazy-lady-stripped-screws?) but by the end of the evening, we had curtains (read: strips of fabric).
I liked how tall they were, how they touched the molding and pooled on the floor, accentuating the eight-foot ceilings. However, the color was always a bit ... dark, clashing with the muted green walls, and I quickly discovered that curtains that pool on the floor become instant targets to two toddlers who like to wrap themselves in fabric. One of the brackets pulled loose and dangled precariously for a few days (eh, remember the stripped screws?) before I finally decided that the blazing days of summer were over, the cool days of fall were beginning to make their appearance, and, thusly, it was time to brighten up the room again.
I bought some sheer curtains, a new curtain rod, and with renewed ambition, I took down the old rod and brackets, filled in the gaping holes (eh, remember the stripped screws?) with spackle and touched them up with paint, and installed this new rod with more precision and, now, expertise.
(Note: tapping a nail and then removing it in the place where you intend to put a screw is a handy way to help the screws go in like butter, especially when you are standing on a step ladder, pregnant, while holding a power tool.)
The room instantly lightened.
The curtains touch the bottom of the window sill (the windows are especially low in this room, so I think it looks fine ... and is much, eh, safer with the kiddos) and while they don't reach as high as the others did, I think this looks more proportionate. I like.
As the days grow chilly, I know I'll appreciate the sunny patch on the floor, keeping the house warm. And bright.
I really love getting my hair cut. The lady who cuts my hair is amazing. Her name is Connie and I have a hard time referring to her as my "hairdresser" because she is my slightly older and much wiser friend and "hairdresser" just sounds so ... not friend-ish. She does everything out of her house which is wonderfully relaxed and I've been known to sneak over when my friend is getting her hair done, just so I can sit and chat with the two of them.
You get the idea.
So, the other day, I slumped into Connie's chair and whined that I needed a change. As she nodded and "Mmm-hmm"ed, she parted my hair and our jaws both dropped.
It was there.
Three flakes. THREE. I have never had dandruff (dry hair, but not a dry scalp) and I sat there with my jaw dropped, stunned that this pregnancy not only cheated me out of the voluptuous curly hair I had with the other two, but that it also added DANDRUFF.
A fat belly and dandruff. Sweet! High fives all around!
She suggested that before I reach for a default bottle of Head & Shoulders, I should instead try Paul Mitchell's Tea Tree shampoo and conditioner. She said it would work like a charm and then she snipped away, once again reading my mind and cutting my hair exactly the way I wanted without me being able to describe it accurately. She's awesome that way.
I then started my hunt for this stuff.
Target is where I purchase my typical Matrix hair stuff, so I looked there first. I'm not sure if they didn't carry it or if I was looking for the standard black and white Paul Mitchell bottles, but either way, I couldn't find it there. I was bummed. A few days later I took Cub to a kind of hole-in-the-wall salon where he's had his hair cut since he was born and waited patiently while he sat through his trim. I happened to glance up at their (small) product shelves and lo and behold, there was the stuff! On sale, no less! So, I purchased the shampoo and conditioner set and rushed home to wash my hair.
Oh, y'all. Love it. LOVE IT.
Slightly tingly with a great fresh scent. I don't feel like my scalp is burning. And, best of all, the finished product is ridiculously smooth, clean hair. My hair felt light as a feather. Love.
So, if you happen to peer into the mirror and see a few little flakes waving at you from your scalp, may I suggest you try Paul Mitchell Tea Tree formula shampoo and conditioner. You will not regret it, and then you can wave GOODBYE to those pesky flakes.
A professor in college once encouraged me to keep a sabbath as best as I could, to the best of my ability, one day a week. Obviously, the Sabbath is on Sunday according to Christian tradition, which typically involves church and a nap. But his challenge was a little different. He said for one day, put all work, including homework, on hold (some people have to work on Sundays, right?). For those of you who have a handy-dandy college diploma hanging on your wall, you know that you earned it through lots of homework. Going through an entire day without doing anything--no emails, no Blackboard, no quick 1-page summaries, no reading ... no READING--could be quite a challenge. Especially considering I was a senior when this challenge was issued and my major, Family Studies, was basically a huge pile of reading and paper writing. But, I liked the premise of his suggestion.
I accepted his challenge and found that even if I took a day off, it was possible to get things finished. If I took the time to kick back, relax, pray, refocus, and enjoy the freedom of my day, I was actually more productive throughout the week. A nice little way to recharge. I've taken this practice with me first into newlywed-ness and now into the busy life of a Mom, cleaning up hurriedly on Saturday night so on Sunday, the day of my choosing, I will truly rest.
Because if there is a mess, chances are I won't rest. It's just my personality. My new personality. Because frankly, a mess never really bothered me before I demanded a bit of order in my life to survive the daily (albeit fun) chaos of a young family.
I typically go to the grocery store on Monday mornings.
When I go, the store is usually pretty empty, and the other customers who do happen to be there are usually other Moms. I don't know about you, but I go into the grocery store with a PLAN. I have my shopping list itemized in accordance with the arrangement of the products for which I am hunting, my purse is packed with two sippy cups and some snacks, and I zip through as quickly as I can, knowing my two year old and one year old could potentially lose it at any moment and I don't want to risk it. It might sound nutty, but experience has taught me that a little preparedness is never a bad thing.
Basically I'm a super anal shopper.
Gah. I hate that word.
Anyway! After my luxurious nap on Sunday, I, for some reason, felt compelled to write out my menu and make up my shopping list for the week. After Googling some new recipes and itemizing my list, I looked at the clock and figured that Meh, why don't I just go today? I could get the shopping over with and be done by the time Monday arrives!
I loaded up the kids and headed down the highway to our usual place. As I parked my Swagger Wagon, I noticed that the parking lot was rather full. I also noticed that it was a bit like a demolition derby, with SUVs and sedans vying for parking spots amidst crowds of people pouring in and out through the sliding doors. Very unlike Monday mornings.
Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to go ahead and take the plunge into the store.
We were lucky and found one of Cub's favorite carts--a cart with a fire engine attached on the front where he can ride. I plopped Naomi in the front of the cart while Cub crawled into his red plastic contraption and away we went, with me chugging at my usual Shopper Mom pace. Which is fast.
As the grand sliding doors parted for our entrance, I stopped short when I saw the droves of people milling about the store. There were just ... just ... so many of them. I took a deep breath, whipped out my list, and charged through the produce section. I tossed our spinach, squash, grapes, and snobby cheese into the cart before peeling around the corner towards the turkey pepperoni and Smart Chicken. I almost ran into a couple that was perusing, yes, perusing, as in, taking their time, in the meat department, but quick maneuvering avoided a potential accident as we buzzed on towards dairy. I tossed in the heavy whipping cream and organic milk before stopping short by the yogurt. A lady was standing there with some Oikos in one hand and Chobani in the other, trying to decide which to get. Oikos, Chobani. Oikos, Chobani. I stood there with my foot tapping impatiently as I watched her head go back. And forth. Back. And forth.
THEY'RE BOTH GREEK. PICK ONE.
She finally settled on one (ONE!) and meandered away. I slid my cart into her empty spot and chucked five Chobanis in the basket.
I checked my pulse. My pace was still good, but boy howdy, these crowds were about to give me an aneurism.
We hit up the rest of our spots, squealing through frozen bread (Rudi's!), charging through the cereal (cereal bars!) and zooming through pasta (wheat spaghetti!), weaving between customers parked in the middle of the aisles to chat. How nice. Chatting. By the time I yanked the massive cart to the checkout, I was sweating, Naomi was fussing, and Caleb had his legs dangling out the window of his faux firetruck. I organized my items on the conveyer belt (ANAL) and said three cheers for drive-thru pick-up as I hoisted my girl on my hip and held my little boy's hand and trekked across the parking lot to our car. I picked my groceries and away we went.
By the time we got home, I was a cranky hot mess. The kids were cranky because I was cranky. As the cargo door on the van slowly lifted in our hot garage, I stood there glaring at the sacks of groceries I had to carry inside. They were heavy. I was hot. I heaved each sack onto the counter before trudging back to the garage for another. The kids were getting hungry and whiny and I was feeling the same, but after the groceries were all schlepped inside, I still had to unpack them. Ugh. I put them away as quickly as I could, with whatever energy I had left, and tossed the kids some cereal bars before slumping onto the couch. I noticed that the kitchen trash needed to be emptied. I winced and let my head fall back on the couch. Meh, trash.
Some sabbath, yes?
What's really so sad is that I have time to get groceries on Monday. And, if worse comes to worst and I get busy on Monday, I have time to get them Tuesday. But for some reason, for SOME REASON, I decided to take a detour from my Day of Rest and instead forge through a massive commercial building enduring the perils of consumerism with two little kids. A good idea in theory and a really terrible experience in practice.
I understand now why God suggested, nay, demanded a Day of Rest. Not a "One Extra Day To Get Things Done".
So, this is just me saying that I totally failed with resting today because of an apparent attempt at overachieving. But I really didn't achieve much, save for some food in the fridge and a bad attitude.
Next Sunday? Hopefully there's a little more rest in order.
I tell y'all, this is hilarious. Sweet Baby Cheeks' conception was a huge surprise to us and it looks like the surprises are still coming. With our other two kids, we found out the gender at sixteen weeks and it was right both times. This petit chou remains a mystery at a ripe twenty weeks. As the tech pushed (and PUSHED) on my tummy to get a good view, the baby kept his/her knee blocking the view, thusly leaving the results inconclusive. My husband and I could do nothing but laugh.
I'm the kind of girl that likes to know. I like to plan. I like to decorate. I like to accessorize. This little one, from the moment I took that pregnancy test and my jaw dropped to the floor, has been my constant reminder that my plans? What plans? What are those? Meh! Rubbish!
And it's the consistency of surprise that leaves me quite fine with the fact that we couldn't find out.
The heart looks great. The kidneys look great. The limbs look great. The bladder looks great. The brain looks great. Not knowing the gender became less and less important as the ultrasound went on. The things that mattered were fine. In fact, in the midst of the poking and prodding, I started to feel like we just weren't going to find out. I just knew it. By the time the gender search began (at the end), I was at peace with not knowing. And, sure enough, there was the baby's knee, dodging the paddle!
I'm okay with not knowing. It's very unlike me.
But, I'm okay. I'm really okay.
Now that is a surprise.
Will we wait until the birth day to find out? We'll see. Who knows. For now, we're thankful for a healthy baby and thankful for really great surprises.
So. My last post about the trip. You can sigh and smile and say Yay, Katie is FINALLY done blogging about that TRIP.
I enjoyed myself. I did.
I'm not entirely sure how to write this succinctly, so bear with me. I really love my parents and they love me, but I'm just going to go ahead and say that traveling with my parents sans my husband or my very young kids left me feeling a bit ... lost. I very distinctly remember the night we drove through York and I, in the back seat of our rental, looked out and saw the edge of the water. The waves were beautiful and big and as I rolled down my window, the salty smell struck me and I closed my eyes and drank it all in.
And then looked over at the empty seat next to me.
Well, okay, there was a box of Dunkin' Donuts there, but you get the idea.
It was just ... empty. My parents were in the front, holding hands and smiling as we drove on, and I was there in the back sharing the sweet moment with a box of stale donuts. And I realized that, while I am always my Father and my Mother's Daughter, it is no longer my defining characteristic. I am now Wife and Mother and being void of either of those roles leaves me feeling, truly, a bit uneasy.
And I found myself imagining what the moment would have been like with my husband. I would drive him nuts with my play-by-play retelling of every single memory I have in York, everything I know about the ocean, everything I couldn't wait to eat at the restaurant. If the kids had been there, I would have hardly been able to contain my excitement as I point out "The sea! It's there! Caleb! It's BIG!" and Naomi would giggle and Caleb would jabber about the ocean being big and blue and there it is and look some sand and I am hungry and I am also two years old and Mom is twenty-eight.
But instead ... it was silent.
And y'all, my life just isn't silent right now.
I missed the noise.
I've had several people tell me how much I must have appreciated the "break" from being Mom and Wife that I had while I was on my trip. I don't want to be rude, but I really didn't want a break. I didn't need a break. Truth be told, experiencing life with my little family is the best there is. Experiencing it alone is, well, lonely.
And I get it. This trip was not conducive to a restless two year-old and a baby girl who still takes one hour-long and one three-hour long nap every day. And, financially, me going alone made the best sense.
Oh and we spent the night in the airport on the way home because of flight delays. That would have been, oh, a nightmare with two babies.
But, you get what I'm saying. Some parents have no issue leaving their little ones behind for a week-long adventure in a different place or a foreign country. And that's great--to each his own. But if I have my choice, I want to experience it all together, as a family (besides occasional weekend getaways with just my hubby ... a marital necessity, for us!). Because, while the travel can be stressful and the kids can be hard, the moments are also fleeting.
And the thing we would remember the most is looking out the window, watching the waves, giddy with excitement.