Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out with the old, In with the New Year

Want to know how I'm spending my New Year's Eve?

I'm sitting at home, listening to the waves of Aubrey's sound machine, sitting next to my husband and typing this. And that's okay. I am perfectly okay with this. If it was a year ago, or hell, even six months ago, this might not have been the case. I think a part of me was holding onto a life that wasn't really mine anymore. I've been lucky thus far, with a husband who didn't mind my weekly outings and a baby and now toddler who slept through the night and woke up rather late. But soon there will be an infant in the house, two children, and there's just no going back after that. Not that I'd want to, anyways.

With the new year only hours away, I figured I'd take a look back on this last year. It's been filled with so much...everything. There's been love, so much love, and hope and fear and what if's and hopefully not's. We've had successes and failures, endings and beginnings.

Remembering everything is like watching a fast-track reel of life in all of it's glorious, chaotic beauty.


I've never really been into the whole New Year's Resolutions thing. The way I see it, why wait until the new year to start something? But I've made myself promises lately, and I want to write them down. Call them what you like, but this new year, I am sticking to them. Here they are, in no specific order:

1. Spend more time making memories and capturing those memories.
2. Spend more time as an active participant in the world around me by staying off of my phone and Kindle.
3. Be more patient with Aubrey and commit to remembering that he is still a baby! (sort of)
4. Love more, and show it more often.
5. Spend less money on unnecessary things.
6. Write another book.
7. Do a new project every month, and finish it!

Some of these things may seem like no brainers, but I find myself lost in my own world so often that I realize I'm missing out on the real world around me. It's not really a bad thing, reading books and writing them, creating characters in my head, but when it takes away from time with your family, maybe it's not such a good thing. I've got to learn to manage my time and separate my fictitious worlds from my real one.

Take today, for example. It was beautiful out, and when I said to Aubrey, "Let's go downtown," he responded, "Yay! I love downtown!"

And he did- love it, that is. We played soccer on a lawn with the greenest grass I've ever seen, and watched the tourists gawk at the sun and the water and the yachts. We walked and we talked. We got ice cream and I smiled when he fell asleep in the car. It was the perfect last day to a perfect year.


And that perfect day ended with a bang for Aubrey. Literally.


I can't wait to see what 2014 has instore for us.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Pictures of Truth

It's funny how, when doing things for the second time, everything feels brand new again. Last night was like that night before the Disney World trip. I couldn't sleep. And when I did fall asleep, I dreamt I was at the doctors, waiting to find out whether our baby was a boy or a girl. 

Even though I finally felt at peace with the possibility of having girl, I still had my hopes and intuition. I felt it was a boy, but everyone who was screaming GIRL got it in my head that maybe my feeling was nothing but a wishful notion.



There was a lot of anticipation this morning. I woke up feeling fine but then got those nervous butterflies that make you feel like you need to throw up rather than tickle your stomach. I don't even know why. It's just an anatomy scan, I told myself. It doesn't matter either way.

It didn't help that Aubrey demanded to ride in the car in silence. He refused any and all music, saying that it sounded better off. So we sat in the quiet at red lights and listened to the wheels spinning against upturned asphalt the rest of the time. Every once in a while I'd look at him through the rearview mirror and catch him staring out of the window, finger in his mouth and eyes wide open. I wondered what he was seeing- how amazing this world must seem to him. And then I thought, I get to do this all over again. I get to experience a continuous stream of firsts. A life on fast forward, from beginning to adulthood; one that I'll actually remember (most of). I get to do it all over again, and maybe that sounds like it'd be a bit redundant, but it's exactly the opposite. It's exciting. It's a second chance, but without the regrets.

We finally arrive a the doctor's office, and I tell Aubrey, "We're going to go see the baby now, and it's very  important that you sit still and be quiet like a mouse."
"Okay, Mommy," he whispers. The whispering continued into the waiting room and finally into the ultrasound room, where he grew very bored and touched every sterile surface in there. I had this idea that he would be awed by the black and white baby on the screen, but he honestly could have cared less. And when we told him, "Aubrey, you're going to have a baby BROTHER!" He just about cried. He was confused, insisting that it was just a baby. He got it eventually, though  (I think), and then asked, "So where's my baby sister?"


Just a little bit of backstory on these pictures. They look all cute and perfect, right? Well, that just goes to show a bit of perspective. On your side of the screen, you see a cute little boy with a cute gender reveal idea, with bright colors and big smiles. On MY side of the lens, it was windy, we almost lost two balloons (we only had two of each color) and Aubrey refused to smile or pay attention to anything other than the balloons half the time. It was kind of a disaster. Sorry if that ruins it all, but I just thought you'd like an idea of what you missed- of what we miss a lot of the times. Pictures may speak a thousand words, but which thousand words are the truth? 

In case you were curious, here is the picture of the GIRL reveal. It was actually my favorite one of the whole shoot, so I was secretly hoping it was going to be a girl. But only for a second, because then I remembered how I really loved this blue and white fabric at Joann's and how perfect it would look in Aubrey's very boy room. (And yes, I associate blue with boy, so sorry if you think that's politically incorrect.)


Our next reveal will be the name, which may take longer than it did with Aubrey. Todd and I cannot agree on anything. I like very unisex names, (as proof with Aubrey) and he doesn't. So when I offer something like Whitney, he looks at me like I just sprouted an extra head and took off on wings. It was even worse when we discussed possible girl names. We'll see what happens, though, because nobody liked Aubrey's name at first, and now everybody can't imagine him being called anything else. I feel like that's always the case. I'm sure the first person to call a car a car got some funny looks, but does anyone question it now? 

Names are super important to me, and I am really picky about choosing one with a strong meaning. Aubrey's name means Noble Ruler and so I feel like we need something just as strong/unisex for this baby. It's hard to find anything that isn't already popular or has a generic meaning like Son of Adam. I'm hoping that I'll be reading a  book or watching a movie or walking down the street and someone yells, "Hey insert unique name here," and it'll be love at first sight/sound.

Until then, baby will continue to be called Monster, because if today's ultrasound is any indication of what's in store for us (stubborn guy refused to show his face or his heart no matter how much poking or prodding, so we have to go back in a few weeks) then we're in for a world of trouble. What are the chances that I'd get two sleep-through-the-night, breastfeeds-like-a-champ, never-cries infants in a row? 

Pretty slim, I'd say.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Review

If you're anything like me, then you'll understand when I say that I have good intentions. I intend to clean the bathroom and finish laundry. I intend to put down the book and go grocery shopping. I intend to do a lot of things. And anyways, don't they always say it's the thought that counts?

Well, two of the things that I have been intending to do are to blog more often and to actually use the camera that I paid a lot of money for. I started brainstorming ways that I could set a goal for myself by combining the two- blogging and photography- and I came up with this. It's the Sunday Review! 

Every Sunday I'll post a blog with pictures from the last week- things we did, places we went. I figured, not only will it keep me up to date on pictures, but it will also get us out of the house and exploring new places. It's a win-win, right?

So this is week 1. It's not too exciting, since it's mostly just Aubrey being Aubrey, so bear with me. 

~~~

While grocery shopping the other day (yes, it happens sometimes) we stumbled upon this ginger bread house kit and decided to give it a try. Well, it's been a pretty interesting experiment. Not only did Meaghan and I end up putting the whole thing together ourselves (you can't trust a toddler with icing and candy) I caught Aubrey sneaking off to eat it SEVERAL times. 

I'm sitting in the living room, or maybe getting dressed after having just gotten up, and I realize that it's dead silent in the house, which every mom knows is a bad thing. So I call Aubrey's name and get no answer. I walk into all the rooms, search under the tables (he likes to hide from me) and nothing. And then, in the midst  of the eerie silence, I hear a smacking of lips. I run around the corner and there he is, hovering over the ginger bread house with a Dot in his mouth and his hand reaching for the landscaping. 

At this point I'm laughing because he's trying so hard to swallow the Dot that's stuck in this teeth, while at the same time scrambling off the bar height chair to run from me. I couldn't be mad, not really. I probably would have eaten it too, if I liked Dots.


~~~

Todd's mom (Grammy to Aubrey) bought these awesome "snowballs" for the grandkids (let's be honest, it was for the Uncles) while the family was in town. It was great. Aubrey and Todd staged a coop and were pretty easily flanked by the older/much faster children. The "snowballs" were basically just giant cotton balls so you could literally pelt someone in the face and not get in trouble. It was interesting to watch, as long as you stayed out of the way.


~~~

And of course, Christmas morning. I posted about Christmas already, so I won't say much more about it, except that it was so special. I never used to be a Christmas person (I know, I know) until this kid came around. Watching his eyes light up with excitement makes my heart smile so hard.


~~~

One of the things I told all of the grandparents and uncles and aunts was that I wanted outdoor stuff for Aubrey. The toys he has he barely plays with. It's always, "Let's go outside, Mommy." And so Todd and I got him tee-ball gear, which we were afraid he wouldn't enjoy, being too small and all. We were totally wrong. He hits those balls like he's been doing it for years. I was so proud.


~~~

Another thing I wanted to get back into was sewing. With the new baby coming, there are a lot of things I can make instead of buy, and save tons of money in the process. The fabric in the picture is for a nursing cover. Even though we don't know if it's a boy or a girl (yet) I just couldn't pass it up. It is chevron, after all. I also plan on making crib sheets and a ring sling (again) and am so excited to be able to make them in all the cute patterns that stores never have.


~~~

This isn't a new bike. My parents got it for Aubrey a while ago, but he was never into it. I think he was too small to actually get the petals going, and his patience is very short. So when he couldn't move, he'd get up and say, "I'm done, Mommy." I would try and try with no success. Until this week. I pulled it out of the garage, determined to get him going, and soon enough he was peddling down the street at a solid 1 mph. He loved it. When I went to take this picture, he looked back just to make sure I was following. "You coming, Mommy?" he said, and being all emotional and stuff, I whispered, "Always." 



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Enough is enough

Guys, it's Christmas 2013. TWENTY THIRTEEN. How crazy is that? I know I've said it before, like a million times, but time is flying. I can vividly remember being twenty and pregnant as if it was yesterday. Now I'm 23, pregnant AND I have a toddler. My life... it's surreal. It's something I've always wanted- to be a wife and a mom- but now that I'm here, I can't help but pinch myself every so often because it just seems too good to be true.

I'm blessed beyond belief, and today was another day for life to prove just that.

It's not that anything special happened, besides the fact that everything about today was special. Aubrey tore through heaps of wrapping paper to reveal the surprises underneath, each one more exciting and screech worthy than the last.

That's his excited face, believe it or not.

He acted as if each gift was the best thing he had ever received, no matter how big or small. And I'm proud to say that he never once asked for more or was disappointed with what he got. In fact, the smaller things seemed to keep his attention longer. I know he's young, and things like wanting and wishing come later, but he made me smile each time he gave someone a hug and thanked them. It's impossible for a toddler to be anything but sincere or honest. 

Mostly, though, we made sure to remind him constantly that today was Jesus' birthday. When he asked why we got presents on His birthday, I had to explain that we celebrate His life by giving to others. That it's more important to give than to receive, and when Todd expressed how cool one of Aubrey's presents was, Aubrey said, "Here daddy, it's for you," and handed it to him without second thought. I hope he never loses that spirit of giving. Of sharing and being selfless. 

~~~

This pregnancy has gone by crazy fast. With Aubrey, every moment lasted a lifetime. It felt as though I was pregnant forever. Now here I am, basically halfway through, and it feels as though I've been pregnant for all of two days. I can still remember when I found out, at just four weeks, and the reaction Todd had when I left the stick on the dresser for him to find. He had just gotten home from a  long day of work, and went into the room to change. When he emerged just a few seconds later, he had a big smile on his face and hugged me so tight I thought I might burst. "Who's up for round two?" I said, and I couldn't help but fall in love with him a little bit more. Because even though we weren't in a very good position to be expanding our family, he was excited, and he continues to be more so everyday.

And this baby moves. All throughout the day he kicks and wiggles and pushes for more room. It never gets old.
 
We find out the sex on Monday, and while it would be so much easier to have another boy, I've come to realize that I don't care either way. I'm not going to lie- girls scare me. Growing up, I was surrounded by baby boys and when I had a boy myself, I knew how to handle it. But sometimes I watch girls with their parents, from toddlers to teenagers, or remember myself or my sister as we were, and I find myself hoping for another boy. But if you ask Aubrey what he wants, he'll tell you he just wants a baby. 

Because in the grand scheme of things- boy or girl- it's a baby, a beautiful, chaotic, exhausting, completely-worth-it baby that will steal your heart and love either way. 

~~~

Sometimes, when I'm writing, I run into these moments where I don't know what else to say. Where the first or the second or even the third thing that pops into my head is something about how blessed I am, because I truly am. That word is seriously an understatement. But I think, mostly, what I want people to see and understand is that I'm normal. Average. Middle class. 

My husband and I live with my parents. We survive on one income and one (working) car. We shop at Target and Marshall's and Goodwill, and we most often replace going out for staying in. 

I have bad days just like you. I have days where I sit down and look at everything around me and wonder how I got myself into such a mess. That's usually when I'm literally in the middle of a mess, but regardless. You get the point.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that my life isn't perfect by most people's standards, but it's perfect for me. It's what I need and it's enough, and I think that's what a lot of people tend to overlook. There is such a thing as enough and there's no limit to it. 

~~~

I hope your Christmas was enough. I hope you spent it with your family or loved ones, and if you didn't or weren't able to, I hope you smiled anyways because today is another day and another chance. 







Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing


I went to the midwife today with some paranoid concerns... I hadn't felt the baby move in a while and I was worried. Not enough to worry, you know? But then I thought, if something is wrong, and I don't go, would I ever be able to forgive myself?

The answer was no, and so I called.

Everything was fine. She said the baby's in there pretty deep, which is why it was hard to feel him move around. The downside of going to the doctor when you're pregnant- finding out how much weight you've gained.

With Aubrey, I gained 40 pounds, but all of that weight gain was mostly at the end. I was wearing my pre-pregnancy jeans for a good portion of his pregnancy, but with this one, I'm already in maternity pants because everything else is just so uncomfortable. The midwife kind of chuckled when she told me, and I was like, damn, I should really lay off the junk food.

But you know what? I like junk food. I mean, I don't eat it too often, not enough to like clog my arteries and stop my heart. I just...eat it every once in a while. And I know that I could probably exercise, should probably exercise, but I'm tired and out of breath most of the time. Honestly, going to the gym or finding clothes to work out in are the last things on my mind.

But I don't feel bad about it. I don't think there's anything wrong with the fact that I've gained 12 pounds already. Yeah, maybe it's a lot, but I'm not unhealhty- my blood pressure is perfect and my baby is happy.  Does it matter that I can't fit into my jeans still? Does it matter that  my face is a little fuller and you can barely see my collar bones?

I'm not worried about it. 

I just like food, okay? And I'm hungry, like, all. the. time. What's a hormonal girl to do?

Speaking of hormonal... I'm not a crier, okay? I just don't cry. I don't do feelings and emotions very well, I'm not a super lovey dovey person (except with Aubrey- I could smother him all day) and I'm pretty terrible at noticing when someone else's feelings are hurt. But now that I'm pregnant? Everything makes me cry. Books, movies, stupid little arguments, when I spank/reprimand Aubrey and then feel bad about it...
(which, by the way, makes it extremely hard to do any kind of disciplining)

On top of that, Aubrey has been saying/doing the sweetest things lately. Like telling me I'm the best mommy ever, hugging and kissing me every chance he gets, falling asleep on my bed (he has never. EVER. slept in my bed. I think I'm addicted...) and even asking me to lay with him in his bed at night. So of course, while the two of us are snuggled up in his crib, and he puts his hand on my face and cozies into my neck, and I can feel his baby breath and smell his hair... I start to cry.

And I've realized... crying feels good. It really does..especially when it's happy tears. I might do it all the time. JUSTKIDDING.

Anyway, this was kind of a pointless post- I guess they all are, really- but here is a picture of Aubrey snoozing because I don't ever get to see it enough. Two days in a row...Maybe it'll be a new thing for us. I can see it now...Two babies and I taking little afternoon naps without a care in the world. Bliss.

That finger.