Sunday, January 26, 2014

State of Now

Did you know that there are only 940 Saturdays between your child's birth and him leaving for college?


Kids have what I like to call the right now mentality. When they want something, or get an idea in their heads, it has to be right now; not later or in a minute. There is no such thing as I'm busy or I'm tired in their world. When they ask "are we there yet?" and you answer, "Not yet" it's usually followed up by "are we there yet?" three seconds later.

You can call it impatience, or an inability to understand time, but I've begun calling it living in the moment. It's a state of now.


And it's taught me something supremely important. There are some things I talk about starting and doing, so many times when I catch myself saying, "Yeah, I was going to do that, but..." I didn't have time, or we'll start it another day, or we're just waiting for...

There's always an excuse, a reason. And while it might be a good reason- money, lack of opportunity- it's most of the time not good enough.

We can strip it down to something even more simple than that. Aubrey asks me to take him to the park, and I tell him, "Not today, baby," because it's too hot or I'm tired or I have other things to do, like laundry or cleaning the bathroom. Yeah, those things are important, but they can be done when he's sleeping, or not when it's prime park time.


So I tell him we can go another day, but before I know it, another Saturday has passed and I'm down to 800.

Then 500.

300.

50.

1.


Before I know it, I'm filling out last minute paper work and packing a car and watching my baby drive away to start the beginning of the rest of his life...without me.

And I'll say to myself, If only I had one more Saturday.

It's hard for me to remember that my time with him underneath my wing is limited. I'm a stay at home mom who gets to see his gap-tooth smile every second of every day, so when I see something about the limited amount of Saturday's we have, my instinct is to question how many Monday's and Tuesday's and Wednesday's and... You get the idea. But it shouldn't be about counting the days. It should be about making the days count, however many you have or don't have.

I think, as a whole, we've gotten it in our heads that there will be a tomorrow. That there will be more chances and do-overs. I'm always assuming that another day will come.
It sounds kind of bleak, but it's not always a guarantee. Today could be the last time I'm woken by a whispered, "Mommy, I'm awake." It could be my last chance to pull him into my bed and snuggle him while he's still semi-asleep. 


I want to be more like Aubrey and live in the moment, in this state of now. I want to be so wrapped up in the time being that, when the end comes, I can look back and say that every moment was consumed with a memory, big or small. 

Whatever it is that you want to do, whatever better you're trying to achieve, you'll never be more ready than you are now. 

“It's a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you're ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” - Hugh Laurie



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Winspirations

There's always a lot of Pinterest searching going on in my house. I don't go on it as often as some people, but when I do, it's never a quick visit. But whereas before I would pin something and never see it again, lately I've been finding myself actually referring back to some pins. Whether it'd be for dinner or for sewing projects, I try to fill each week with some sort of Pinterest inspiration. Maybe that sounds lame, but then you've never been on Pinterest. I swear, some of the stuff on there...genius.

I figured that each Wednesday, I could make a collective post of what has inspired me recently, and thus I have created Winspirations: Wednesday Pinterest Inspirations. Clever, right? Well, I thought so.

Photography Inspirations:

Left to right: Pic 1, Pic 2, Pic 3, Pic 4

DIY Inspirations:

Left to right: Pic 1, Pic 2, Pic 3

And this was my latest food adventure- Salad in a jar. Here is the original picture/idea:


And here is my attempt:


If you're wondering, they turned out pretty okay. The only thing I would have done differently is to NOT include the dressing at all. My cucumbers turned out kind of soggy since they were swimming in it, but Todd said they weren't. Maybe it's just my preggo pickiness, but if I'm at home anyways, I'll just add the dressing the day of.

If you're on Pinterest, you can follow me by clicking the Pinterest  button over there ---->>>
If you're not on Pinterest, then get on it! It will change your life!
(Whether it's apositive or a negative change is still to be determined...)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hibernation Station

I've learned something pretty interesting about myself this past week- I really, honestly prefer heat to cold. I'd rather be sweating all day than any sorts of freezing. And when you're a born and raised south Floridian like me, 45 degrees is freezing. 

Just picture this.

We don't believe in using the heater in our house, which I can understand. It costs a lot of money to run and it smells funny. But when I want to shave my legs and I can't because it's 63 degrees inside the house and my bathroom will not steam up and I have goosebumps for days, I get very frustrated. Going a week without shaving is akin to wearing sandpaper. It's uncomfortable. (Unless you're one of those lucky girls who's hair never grows. In that case, I dislike you very much.)

I started to wonder, then, what you northerners do during the frigid winter months. Do you bother shaving at all? I admit, when it's that cold, I'm tempted to go without showering in general. Usually my OCD, which doesn't allow me to lie down on my bed sheets without being clean, even if I'm not all that dirty, doesn't allow me to go to sleep without showering, but it's the closest I get to overcoming it.

And another thing- all those layers. 
I've been in the snow/cold several times so I'm not entirely new to the concept, but it is seriously uncomfortable and inconvenient to wear more than one shirt, much less more than one sweater. ESPECIALLY when you're trying on clothes at the mall. Which got me wondering, again, what you northerners do in that situation. When you go from outside to inside, what do you do with all those extra layers? Keep them on? Take them off and lug them around? Bring a stroller just to hold them all? Maybe you guys don't go to the mall at all. I really don't know!

What about gloves? I know you have to use them if it's cold enough, but what if you need to use your (most likely) touchscreen phone? You need skin for that!

I always thought that I'd like to get our of Florida. Besides the beaches and the warm weather, it doesn't have much going for it. The schools are terrible, housing is expensive and the party scene hugely outweighs the family friendly entertainment. I can't even count the weather as a plus- if it's not raining, then t's so hot that the ground is literally sizzling. I like to watch the disappointed faces of out-of-towers at the beach over the summer when they realize that they are confined to the safety of their blankets lest the souls of their feet melt. It's like when you were a kid and you pretended that the floor was lava, except this is real life and it's definitely not as fun.

So, yeah, we have our faults here in Florida, but at least we have escapes from the heat, like a nice cold pool and the excuse to be half naked pretty much year round. When it's cold, where can you go? Inside by the fire? What do you do for fun, besides frolick in the snow that will most likely saturate your clothes and give you a case of walking pneumonia.

Okay, okay, maybe I'm exaggerating. I'm sure that there are plenty of cool things to do while the earth is covered in a layer of ice for six months of the year.

You're probably thinking that you'd rather deal with, say, snow, than hurricanes or floods, but at least we get some kind of warning. How terrible would it be to wake up one morning and notice that your window is covered by an impenetrable wall of ice and all you have in the pantry is a couple cans of corn and a half empty carton of OJ in the fridge because it was grocery shopping day. AND HOW DOES ANYONE GET ANYTHING DONE IN THAT KIND OF WEATHER ANYWAYS? To me, cold means sleep. It puts my body in hibernation mode and empty refrigerator be damned.

I will say, though, that your dry air does wonders for my skin and hair. Talk about oil free and frizz free! That alone might be worth the move.

But then I think about the layers, and I'm back to square I HATE THE COLD.

So I suppose this is my big BRING IT ON to the cold(ish) that is coming our way this week. I will never understand how you northerners brave it for so long. Power to you.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Review: Short and Sweet

You should all know that I just wrote a long blog post about the world and it's cruelty and raising a kind boy in the middle of it all, and then deleted every single word. 

This happens a lot, actually. I feel like I have a lot to say, but never know exactly how to say it. So this post will be short and sweet and to the point, as they say. 

I ran across this quote the other day, and I think it changed my life.

“It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”


― L.R. Knost


When I find myself angry or annoyed or impatient, I think of this quote. When I read articles about mother's killing their children, or children killing themselves due to bullying, I remember this quote. When I witness a group of ten year old boys dropping F-bombs and talking about girls sexually, I remember this quote.

This world is cruel, there's no question about that. It's ugly and unfair and unruly. My first instinct is to toughen Aubrey up to it. To desensitize him to the horrendous things that us humans are capable of, but I realize now that's not the right thing to do. I realize now that I have to show him to be kind, patient, considerate and understanding. I have to show him how to love others and how to put himself in their shoes.


That my actions, and not my words, will shape him and ultimately his life. 


This week has been full of opportunities to do just that, and I think it's safe to say that in teaching him to be better, I've been better, too. It's funny to think that he's already changing lives, even if it is my own.


For all the times I doubted myself and my abilities to raise a happy, well balanced child, I now know that I can do it. That it's possible to be good in a world full of bad. It may have taken me two and a half years to get here, but better late than never. 


I'm ready for you, Rory. I'm ready for all of the new challenges you will bring, and the lessons you will teach me. I've accepted the fact that I am both student and teacher, giver and taker. That it's my job to show you, not tell you, how to live a good life.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Review: Expectations

A long time ago, when Todd and I were in the early throes of our dating years, we used to take trips to the local animal rescue and look at the dogs. We never really planned on adopting one, since we didn't have a house of our own, but we liked to talk about the idea of it and which dog we would chose- the one with the spot behind his ear or the one with the shorn off tail. It was fun, but there was one day in particular that changed my life. We met a woman who would give me a piece of advice that I would cherish and remember forever.

I was curious about her from the moment she walked into the same rooms as ours. She was older, maybe in her forties, with a metal brace attached to her leg that wasn't a temporary fix. But what attracted my attention most was the pink in her hair and the tattoos covering her arms and legs. At the time, I had pink in my own hair, and I felt an instant connection to her. A reaching out of my soul that yearned for understanding from someone other than a peer. As if she could hear my thoughts, she approached us and struck up a simple conversation, something about the dogs that I couldn't really tell you about. She commented on my hair color of choice and I commented on her tattoos, saying how I wanted them one day.

And then she began to talk about her daughter, Logan, who was just seventeen years old and had asked her for a tattoo. The woman looked at me and said, "How can I tell her no, when mine are all over my body? How can I tell her it's a decision she would regret, when I don't regret a single one of mine?" She went on to say that it was about choosing your battles- looking each and every situation in the face and deciding whether it's worth the fight. "And you know what?" she continued, leaning on her cane for support, a sly smile on her face. "I went with her to get it, and I love it. She loves it, and she loves me more for the support. It was the best decision I ever made."

I will never forget those words as long as I live. Before I was a mother, it was about choosing my battles with my parents. I decided that I wanted my lip pierced, and when initially told "No," with no explanation, I chose to fight it. I wrote a list of pros and cons and presented it to my parents in a mature matter, and I won.

Now as a mother, it's a completely different ball game. It's not so simple as a list of pros and cons- it never is with real life. It's about deciding what's realistic and what's beneficial. When to forge on or back off. And it's never, ever black and white.


Like when I'm trying to feed Aubrey dinner and he will not sit still, no matter how much threatening I do. "I'll turn the TV off," or "You'll go to bed hungry." But then the other night, I thought, "Wait a minute. Why am I  expecting my two and a half year old to sit still long enough to eat an entire bowl of food?" It hit me then that maybe I was doing something wrong. So I took away the temptation and eliminated my frustration- I put him in his highchair and made it so that he didn't have a choice.

The whole situation got me thinking about expectations- having them or setting them or forgetting them. How do I know when they're realistic? How do I know that I'm not setting him up for failure? I think it's a trial and error thing. For my family, expecting Aubrey to sit still isn't realistic. We'll sit in a highchair for as long as we have to, and I'm okay with that. Expecting him to eat broccoli may not be realistic either. That's when I have to decide to be okay with his lack of culinary taste and say to myself, "He's getting nutrients from his vitamins," or "He's getting fat from his coconut oil. This isn't a battle worth fighting."



The words that lady spoke, "She loves me more for the support," really struck a chord in my heart. How much simpler would life be if we just chose moments to not only give consent, but support?

You wanna color with those markers? Sure. Let's take off your clothes and go crazy. 
You wanna play with my phone? Let me show you how to use the camera.


I know life isn't always that easy, that there will be battles and there will be wars, some of which will not be won with some simple support. But why make my life, and his life harder, by fighting over dinner, or the dried out play dough, or the fact that he wants to wear his crocs and it's 60 degrees and raining outside.

You win some, you lose some.

I think the problem stems from this expectation of motherhood that a lot of us have- this idea that is given to us from other mothers or blogs or even TV shows. That motherhood is glamorous; that it's easy and full of love and we get paid in rainbows and smiles. But the reality of it is this- the first 13 years or so (I'm assuming) are about guidance and discipline and a lot of the time that means being the enemy. It means making tough decisions and losing sleep over said decisions. It means backtracking and learning and fighting and sometimes winning. But mostly it means losing.

And in losing, there is finding.

There is that "AHA!" moment when you can finally stand triumphant and look at what you did- what you made. When you realize that all of the hard work was totally worth it. When repeating "What do you say?" a million times results in an unasked for "Thank you very much," and everyone in the store laughs and smiles and says just how sweet he is.


That's why most of the pictures from this week are simple, real pictures. Our everyday life isn't adventurous and action-packed. We spend our mornings arguing about going pee and brushing teeth and eating breakfast. He wants the TV on, I want it off. He wants play dough, but I say he has to finish his waffles first. It's a tug of wills, a push and pull.


I have to learn to give, and he has to learn when to stop pulling, but I know it's not something that happens overnight. I know that there will be days and months and years of frustration ahead of me. For now, I'll take it one battle at a time and hope that I can win the war.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Married, Single, or In between

If you've been on Facebook at all lately, then you've most likely seen articles titled things like 23 Things to do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You're 23. Or maybe you've seen this one going around too: 24 Things to do Instead of getting Married Before You're 24, A Response.

Just in case you haven't, here's the list on the first one:
1. Get a passport.
2. Find your “thing.”
3. Make out with a stranger.
4. Adopt a pet.
5. Start a band.
6. Make a cake. Make a second cake. Have your cake and eat it too.
7. Get a tattoo. It’s more permanent than a marriage.
8. Explore a new religion.
9. Start a small business.
10.Cut your hair.
11. Date two people at once and see how long it takes to blow up in your face.
12. Build something with your hands.
13. Accomplish a Pinterest project.
14. Join the Peace Corps.
15. Disappoint your parents.
16. Watch GIRLS, over and over again.
17. Eat a jar of Nutella in one sitting.
18. Make strangers feel uncomfortable in public places.
19. Sign up for CrossFit.
20. Hangout naked in front of a window.
21. Write your feelings down in a blog.
22. Be selfish.
23. Come with me to the Philippines for Chinese New Year

And the second list:
1. Sponsor a Child for a year
2. Read at least 3 NY Times articles every week
3. Take your parents out for a fancy (non-fast food) meal
4. Work hard at a job – any job
5. Travel to a new country
6. Travel to a new state
7. Read a classical fiction novel
8. Teach someone a new skill you have already mastered
9. Learn a new skill
10. Learn a new language
11. Pay off debt
12. Read the Bible in a year
13. Be selfless
14. Join a sports league, art club, orchestra, whatever you’re interested in.
15. Write a letter to a friend
16. Learn how to properly set a table
17. Stop taking bathroom selfies
18. Vote – local, state, or national election
19. Embark on a goal that will take at least 10 years to accomplish
20. Hand write a thank-you note
21. Buy a nice dress or tux/suit for weddings and funerals
22. Re-read a favorite book
23. Spend a day in the mountains alone
and last, but not least…
24. Make a friend and share a jar of Nutella with them – one sitting or otherwise

I'm not usually one to engage in arguments on Facebook or make comments on touchy subjects. I like to keep my opinions to myself unless expressly asked for. That doesn't make me weak or unsure of my beliefs; I believe it makes me respectful. And they do always say that knowing when not to speak is better than always speaking.

What I don't understand about these blogs going around is this: why are these things only allowed to be done when you're NOT married?? There are a few exceptions in which being married would hinder a goal- ex; "3, Make out with a stranger," or "11. Date two people at once," but for the most part, why can't I, being a married woman, sponsor a child for a year? Or eat a whole jar of nutella in one sitting?

This is what I'm trying to say- there's a problem with the ideals of marriage in today's society. We have been spoonfed this notion that life changes after marriage. That there's a ball and there's a chain and we are bound to rules and regulations. THAT MARRIAGE IS A NEGATIVE THING. That we lose our independence and our identities. Ask yourself this- does getting married mean you become a nonperson? Does it suddenly disable you? No. NO.

Yes, we made vows- to love and respect, in sickness and in health- but those vows didn't include "No travelling WITH your spouse. No eating nutella." If you're in the right kind of marriage with the right kind of person, than there will be no urges to "make out with a stranger" or "date two people at once." There will be desires to share precious moments with the one you love, and what better way to do so than to travel or to stay put or to do whatever it is that you've always wanted to do.

Instead, you have a best friend to share those things with. Someone to create memories with. Being married doesn't mean that I give up my life and my goals. It doesn't mean that my spouse does either. It means that our aspirations combine and they're mounted on a pedestal of support. It means that my dream to become an editor is fed fuel from the one person who has vowed to stay by my side. It means that Todd's goal of finishing school is pushed along by my support and words of encouragement.

So these lists of things to do before you're whatever age? They're ridiculous. They're things that, for the most part, can be done whenever, wherever, with whomever. It seems like the majority of them are written by girls who are trying to prove to the world that they aren't lonely, or missing out, or that they are so against the "status quo." And maybe they truly feel that way; it's okay if they do. It's okay to be 23 or 24 or 35 and be single. It's okay to want to travel the world by yourself and kiss a new set of lips everyday.
But it's not okay to confine yourself to an age, a list of "things" and a negative mindset towards anyone who does it differently.

Marriage is supposed to be about a uniting of two souls and the things they hold most dear. It's supposed to be a representation of the greatest gift of life- LOVE. 
If you chose to be married to traveling, or to your job, or to your bottle of whiskey, then so be it. But if you get to travel and make memories and experience the wonderfulness that this world has to offer, than why can't I?  So here's my list, for ALL OF YOU WOMEN, MARRIED OR SINGLE OR IN BETWEEN.

1. Visit a third world country
2. Hold a newborn baby
3. Drive a race car
4. Scuba dive a great barrier reef (Belize has the second largest in the world, and is more inexpensive to visit then, say, Australia)
5. Feng Shui your house/room!
6. Learn a different language
7. Watch a sunrise (or sunset, wherever you are)
8. Write a letter to your future self
9. Pick a favorite book
10. Eat a jar of marshmallow fluff 
11. Get a tattoo
12. Make a budget, and stick to it!
13. Tell someone you love them, every single day
14. Volunteer with a local organization (YMCA, Big Brother/Big Sister, etc..)
15. Take a college class that has nothing to do with your major (photography, basket weaving, oceanography, etc...)
Last, but not least...
16. Learn something new everyday, and write it down in a notebook so you'll never forget it

Let's take a minute to remember this- whether you're married, a married mother, a single mother, or just plain single, your role in this world is just as important. Life is not about being selfish and living for yourself. It's about finding yourself, whether that be in someone else or somewhere else. It's about being the best YOU that you can be. This world is bigger than you and me- it's bigger than our marital statuses and the jobs we work and the places we go. Don't let those things define you or confine you.



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Under Control

I had a doctor appointment today, and I was really proud of myself for having at least one thing under control. Despite the fact that I could probably scarf down an entire large pizza, by myself, I have managed to refrain from over eating and have only gained 2 more pounds since my last appointment. That puts me at 16 pounds in 22 weeks.

So then I ate a cheeseburger and a milkshake from Mcdonalds.

Just kidding!! 

But I have been craving both for the past week and I know that eventually I'll cave, but that's okay. It's called an indulgence for a reason. It's a luxury, a cheat. It happens once in a while and not every night and I'm not ashamed to admit that I enjoy it.

The other day, my mother in law and I were talking about this new thing called a "thigh gap." I'm not really sure if it's new, but if you've never heard of it, it's basically where a girl puts her feet together and her thighs don't touch.


I told her, "My thighs have touched since the day I was born and there isn't a damn thing that will change that."

It's true. I'm a pretty small person, definitely not overweight and my thighs have ALWAYS touched. If yours don't naturally, then good for you. You are the envy of a lot of girls/women. But if you're like me, then it's a ridiculous and unattainable goal. Seriously, who comes up with these things?

I think it's pretty safe to say that my thighs are no where near gapping right now. And honestly? I'm okay with that. I wouldn't know what to do with the space anyway.

~~~

Back to the doctor- everything looks great with baby Rory. He's moving nonstop and is very hard to catch a picture of, so sonograms and heartbeat checks have been pretty interesting. If anything touches my stomach, he pushes it away almost immediately. It's funny to watch the tech try to work around him. 

Aubrey is still obsessed with him and demands that the baby is his. I'm just an incubator. Maybe he'll take care of him, too? It'd be nice not to have to wake up in the middle of the night...

But first, Aubrey will have to learn how to take care of himself and not smash his face into things, which happened at the park yesterday. It's always a scary thing when you hear your child shrieking in pain but can't necessarily find him. We were at the park and he was chasing some kid, as per usual, and I hear his very distinct wails from across the rubber and plastic playground. When I find him, I can't immediately tell what's wrong. That lasts all of ten minutes. And then he looked like this.


So he starts crying and doesn't stop, because I'm assuming it hurt really bad. I'm sitting on a bench , he's straddling me and I'm trying to hold him without getting blood everywhere (my sweater was white, naturally) and he's just not having it. The Wellington moms are staring at me, it's 48 degrees outside, and I end up rocking an inconsolable toddler with no jacket on because he stole it.

He doesn't want to go home. He doesn't want to play. He just wants to sit on my lap in the freezing cold. Finally I convince him to continue playing, all the while hoping he didn't just break his nose or something. I think he's okay, though. When you ask him if it hurts he says, "No, just don't touch it."

It's funny what we'll do for our kids, though. As I'm rocking Aubrey, my sister asks, "Aren't you cold?" and even though I was absolutely freezing 10 minutes before the fiasco happened, I found myself seemingly unaware of the temperature once it became about making sure he was alright. I think it's something that we're born with- the need to protect what is ours. Whether it's a fancy car or a long winded research paper, we have a tendency to take greater care towards the things we work for/made. It's kind of like when you're younger, and your parents hand you 20 bucks to spend at the mall. It's gone before the first hour. But if that money comes from working your ass off serving tables? It stays safely in your pocket unless something just screams buy me. 

I've learned that taking care of Aubrey will always be my priority, even in the middle of the night when I'm confused and barely coherent and tripping over wooden trains in the center of his pitch black room. I like to think I'll always be there when he needs me, but it's hard to navigate that line between running to him and letting him figure it out on his own. It's hard to step back when all you want to do is scoop them up. 

Like everything else in life, motherhood is a learning curve. It's a step by step experience of how-to's and where-do-I-go-from-here's.We aren't given a guide so much as a book of experiences. And so when my kid is screaming and his face is swollen, it's up to me to decide if it's ER or ice pack worthy. When he wakes up in the middle of the night crying, it's up to me to differentiate his I-rolled-over-cry from his I-need-you-cry. 

At the end of the day, I'm learning to take care of him (still) as much as he is learning to take care of himself

It's nice to know that we're in this thing together.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Review: Wade in the Water

Not only is today Sunday Review but it's my first Sunday Review of 2014 AND my 100th post.
It's crazy to think that just a few days ago we were celebrating a new year, new goals, and new starts. It feels like this week has been dragging along; as if life itself was a bit hesitant to leave 2013 behind. But, nevertheless, we are here- tomorrow is Monday and it's back to a normal, holiday free month.

True to one of my resolutions, I have been going on little adventures with Aubrey, driving to places that are only a few minutes away but that we never take advantage of. Even playing in the front yard instead of inside of the house, dumping all of the toys onto the driveway and not caring that it's hot as sin. We even had one entire day of mildly cold weather. Okay, it was, like, 65 degrees, but that's cold for us born and raised Floridians.

Anyway, while looking through this last week's pictures, I noticed that a lot of them have the same theme.



It seems as though I'm constantly watching the back of Aubrey's head, keeping up as he runs away or figures things out on his own. It's been a learning experience for me, figuring out how to be intentionally uninvolved. Constantly reminding myself that he is his own person, no matter how small. There are times when I tell him, "You have to stay right by Mommy, okay?" like when we were walking on this pier and surrounded by water. His response is always, "But why, Mommy?"
It's not that he doesn't want to be by me. It's just that he, like all of us, has the desire to be on his own, to walk away from safety and test the waters of life. I don't know when that fire dies inside of us- when we become comfortable living in zones and bubbles, when we start to wade through the cold waters instead of diving right in, but watching him as a child, with hope in his eyes and wonder deep in his soul, it reminds me that we aren't meant to be hopeless. That we aren't meant to lose faith in humanity and creation and wonder.



And so each day, I sit back and watch him as he grows. Watch as his eyes adjust to understandings and that proverbial lightbulb. It's amazing to see the way he catches on to things, how he repeats every single phrase he hears spoken loud enough (even those of strangers in public) or how he doesn't believe in strangers at all. He'll tell the cashier to have a great day, or the old lady in the aisle that smiles at him that he likes her hair. He picks up my camera and my phone and says, "Cheese!" because he's navigating through life and learns from us, the adults that surround him and may or may not have forgotten what it's like to be a child.


It turns out that he thinks I'm the sun that lights the world- the cherry on top of that banana split that everyone fights over. There's not a day that goes by where he doesn't remind that I'm his "very best friend" or "the best mommy ever." I'm not sure that I'm deserving of those titles, but I take them and accept them because they're given so freely, so lovingly, and I know that there will be a day when those thoughts won't circulate in his mind any longer. 


For now I'll savor the moments I get, even if they are the back of his head as he runs off to a new adventure. I'll remember to run alongside him, laugh when he laughs, answer his questions with patience and understanding. I'll steal his kisses and snuggles and love on his tiny little feet while they're still chubby and non-smelly. 


After it's all said and done, I'm hoping that I'll be able to look back and say that I kept up with him, that I learned to see things differently. That he taught me more about life than any philosopher or teacher ever could. That my greatest accomplishment was raising a healthy, good boy.

~~~

And to end this post, here's a picture of the husband taking a picture of me, because sometimes he does it when I'm not looking and sometimes I tell him, "Babe, take a picture of me!" He thinks it's funny when I say this and then, of course, try to act as nonchalant as possible, like I totally did not tell him to take a picture of me. 

I am now, officially, an iPhone owner, and I cannot, regrettably, say that I hate it. It takes lovely pictures and is super fast, to boot. We'll see how I feel in a few months, but I think that Android and I have had made an amicable split for the better.

~~~

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Name Game

You know how when you say a word over and over again, and it starts to sound weird? Take pajamas, for example. Perfectly normal at first, right? Say it about five more times, and then maybe ten.

Pajamas.
Pajamas.
Pajamas.
Pajamas.
Pajamas.

Well, it's the same way when reading words, too. Or letters, more specifically. Like when you're strolling through the name list on www.babynames.com and all of the J's start to blur and you swear that J's never looked like that before.


After hours of searching through each letter, looking at boy names and unisex names and their meanings and matching those up to other websites, we have finally decided on a name. There wasn't much arguing or convincing with this one, unlike with others I've liked. It was the same with Aubrey's- after the initial, "No way, that's a girl's name," it became, "It's not so bad," and then "I really like it."

Of course, it could also be that I threatened to name him Allison if he didn't agree. And let's face it, when it comes to kids' names, the Mom decides. I am not above pulling the "I carried him for nine months and gave birth to him," card.

Thankfully we both really love it, so threatening lives and manhood was not necessary. It also helps that Aubrey can say it and it sounds super cute when he does.

Not too long ago, I read this book called The Promise of Stardust. It was an all around heartbreaking book about love and loss and decisions to be made in the face of adversity. There was a part in it when one of the main characters, Elle, at only 15 years old, gives birth to a  premature, still born baby. Elle decides she wants to name the baby, and says this to Matt, the baby's father-

"It should be special because it's the only thing we will ever give her."

That line in particular has stayed with me after finishing the book. I hope that a name isn't the only thing I will ever give my child, but I know that it will be one of the most important. It will be said with love from me as a mother, screamed through the halls of a school, chanted from the stands of a sports field, whispered by his girlfriend over the phone late at night, used to make an oath, one day by a Pastor who will take his vow, and a wife who will take his name. It is a legacy. There's a reason why it's the first thing we ask when meeting a person. It sets us apart, creates a face to a memory, becomes engraved on the headstone where our bodies will rest. 

A name, above all else, is something that we can always claim as our own, and something that cannot be taken away. Maybe I'm putting too much weight to a name. Maybe he'll grow up to hate it and end up changing it because he can, but at least I can say I picked it with love, with intention, and I did my best.

So, without further ado...



Introducing Rory Matthew* Wyckoff, due May 23rd, 2014.
*middle name subject to change, but most likely not.