Spring!!!

Spring is officially here! Believe it or not. And I am not about to let old moody Mother Nature kill my excitement. Yes, I realize it’s been cold and gross, and, yes, I am still wearing ugg boots and sweaters to work, but it is officially spring today and we are gonna celebrate all things spring. 

🌷🌷🌷

Rain boots (which we definitely need today😐)

Flowers

Pastels

Easter

Going to the zoo 

Sunshine 

Bubbles

Clouds (the good big fluffy kind)

Flip flops -cause those suckers are out as soon as it’s warm enough to not get frostbite. 

Puppy car rides (not pictures: her head out the window)

This little girl’s birthday

And this year – it means the beach!! Mattie’s never been, Ellabelle doesn’t remember going so it’s gonna be so much fun! 

🌷🌷🌷

Now, if only Mother Nature could get her act together give us some warm temps! ☀️

Monster Birthday

So, I failed. I work really hard, like super hard, to make sure that the Mattie never feels like she’s missing out on anything just because she’s the second child. I also work, like at a job, that consumes a lot of my daily time, and I do all the mom stuff that has to be done as well. And things fall through the cracks. It sucks, and I hate it, but it’s just a fact. I fall really far behind on my posts here, but I wanted to make sure that Mattie got her 1st birthday post because Ellabelle got one. Well, I wrote one. I patted myself on the back because I found the time and I got it done. Yah! And then I never got around to posting it. Boo. So, I failed. But here it is a week later because it’s better late than never.

May 19, 2016

A year ago, I was scared. Actually, I was terrified. I was terrified of what May 19 was going to bring to our lives. I was terrified of how our family was going to be altered, how Ellabelle’s world was about to be changed. I was terrified I wouldn’t love her the same or be able to share my love. I was terrified of surgery and needles and that somehow I would end up reliving July 22. I was terrified that something would be wrong or a body part might not be the right place. I was terrified of the bright lights and cold table and the smell of burning flesh. I was terrified because they said there was an irregular heartbeat, and I had to lay here, looking anywhere but at the light overhead reflecting what the doctors were doing.

And then, I saw you. One of the nurses placed you in your daddy’s arms, and I saw your sweet little face, your “perfect round head” (according to the doctor), and your pink warm skin. And none of it mattered. None of the worries. All that mattered was that our lives had been empty and missing a vital piece that only Matilda Gayle could fill.

Since the day you got here, you have made our lives so much better, so much more joyful. You’ve always been so laid back, so happy. You warm the room with your smile and infectious personality. I loved your little bald head with your angel kiss on the back, and now I love your soft whispy baby hair. I’m still not sure what color it’s going to end up being. Some days it looks blonde. Some days brown. Some days red. You weren’t as good of a sleeper as your big sister so we took more adjusting to your schedule, but you finally got it down.

I’ve kept track of things throughout this first year that I never want to forget. That’s how it is. You do something so often that it’s just part of who you are, and the one day we realize it’s gone. You’ve already changed so much in just 12 months.

Things I already miss but never want to forget:

The way your voice used to get real low and soft when you were fighting sleep but were almost there.

The difference between your “feed me” cry and your “I want attention” cry

The way you used to stick out that little pouty lip of yours when anyone would accidentally bump you in your chair (usually by big sister’s doing) or when you were startled or when you were really, really hungry

The way you used to attack Ellabelle’s singing turtle as soon as we put you down on the changing table

The way you lifted your swaddled feet up in the air and slammed them down on the play n pack making a huge clang every night and then in the morning. We called them your fish flops.

The way you used to pull yourself up on your knees like you were gonna crawl and then plop down your belly to move forward.

And now, there are things I love that I know that in maybe a months time could be gone:

The way you sleep in a “heap” (as daddy calls it) with your butt in the air.

The way you suck on her upper lip (your old man face) or stick out your tongue for no reason.

The way you throw your head back and forth when you’re fighting sleep.

The way you scream when you see a bottle even if you’ve already been fed.

The way you wave whenever anyone around you says “Hi”.

The way you twist and flip your wrist whenever we sing “All the single babies”.

The way you makes the sweetest sound when you makes big yawns.

The way you refuses to let us put a pacifier in your mouth, but take it and do it yourself instead.

The way you crawl around your crib frantically when we put you in it at night.

The way you shake your head “No” if we do it to you first.

The little way you dance by holding your arms to your side and swing back and forth.

The way you insist on being fed anytime anyone else eating around.

Lately, you’ve earned the nickname Mischievous Mattie and you defend that title daily. You have this little grin you do when you get caught doing something you aren’t suppose to. You know you’re cute, and you use that to you advantage.

You adore your sister. She’s always loved you, but now that you’re on the move, she’s not a huge fan. I have a feeling she’ll move past this stage cause she is still so sweet to you. You follow her around the living room, watch her when she talks, and laugh big belly laughs at her silly antics. I look forward to watching your bond grow and strengthen as you both grow up.

There are so many little things I could sit and document and preserve forever, but what’s important is that you are you, and you make my heart so full and my life so wonderful just by being here. Simply looking at you sitting on the floor wearing just a diaper with your little pudgy Buddha belly hanging out makes me so indescribably happy. You were meant to be in our lives. You are a ray of sunshine.

Babies change so much in their first year, and here we are about to start year 2 with you. You’re crawling, standing with both hands on the floor, you babble like crazy, you love to eat, and you have two little teeth. You use a sippy cup at dinner, but refuse to take your morning milk from anything other than a bottle. You love Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse, mum mums, and stealing mommy’s shoes.

I want to thank you for picking me to be your mommy. Your sister may have made me a mom, but you’ve helped make me a better one. I have learned more about appreciating time because it doesn’t slow down. You’ve made my life better, and I plan on doing everything in my power to return the favor. I love you, Mattie GG. I hope you have a wonderful birthday, my little monster. 

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Dark tunnels

There’s that old saying that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. So, in theory, if you keep moving forward, eventually the darkness with turn back to light. For a while, that light felt more like a train barreling towards us, and us running the opposite direction, back into the dark, just hoping it doesn’t catch up and annihilate us. And lately, there’s been no light at all. Just us…sitting in the dark…waiting…hoping…for something to guide us back out.

Well, today is the first Monday of the year. It’s the first day of the first work week of the year. It was also my first day at my new job. And I’m not gonna go on the typical “new year, new me, new possibilities, yah!” spiel. No, I’m still in the pitch black tunnel for the time being. There’s no big excitement for a new year and starting over and all that junk.

I was very lucky to spend 8 months at home with EB when she was a baby. We struggled, but I was happy otherwise with being the one my baby interacted with and grew with every day. I returned to work and worked at that job til EB was 15 months old. Then I was home with her for another 4 months. Next, I got a day time job with regular hours. That job was cut short because of pregnancy complications. I was devastated. It really tore me up that the place I had planned to spend at least a couple of years, if not long term, had to let me go simply because of policy reasons. I felt like I had failed. Hindsight, that job was probably going to end up being a dead end, and the silver lining of being unemployed was that when Matilda showed up, I got to be with her every day just like I did with EB.

Anyway, today was kinda a big deal. It was hard to leave the girls especially Mattie. EB has been to two different babysitters. She knows the drill. She understands that mommy has to go to work. Mattie, on the other hand, doesn’t know why mommy left her with some stranger today for 9 hours. It breaks my heart…and I’m sure it’s probably harder on me than her. I did drop them off like a champ though. In and out. No tears. No problems.

Work was a bit weird today because it was the monday back for everyone after a 4 day weekend, and it was busy. So, I was little lost in the shuffle which I totally get. There are suppose to be 4 people doing my job. Well, 1 is me, and I have no idea what I’m doing yet. 2 is a vacant position that they interviewed for today. 3 is a lady who was off today. And 4 is the woman training me who happened to be absolutely swamped because it was just her and me and I’m still completely useless.

The day went quickly though. I was so happy to get my girls and head home. I asked EB about her day and here’s her account:

“I eat lunch and I play with the boys. I fall down at the babysitters. The boys fought me. I watch spongebob squarepants. Snacks. I did that! Mattie rolled over. The boys hurt my feelings. They hurt my heart. I fall down and I got a batman sword. I used that! I hit everybody with the sword. That’s my job.”

Never found out what or how the boys hurt her feelings, but apparently she had a productive day. Hopefully, mine will be just as productive tomorrow. I get to go sit in on court cases and shadow some. I’m just happy to be contributing to this family in a job that has some longevity possible. It’s been such a rough past month. December was hard for us – Christmas not included. I tried to make sure the girls got the holiday memories and experiences they deserve. Otherwise, I’m so grateful for a new year, new job, and, hopefully, a new light at the end of the tunnel

(fine, a little optimism managed to sneak in there)

Pregnancy Thoughts

So, I’ve been so far behind on posting things. Like really behind. Like pre-baby behind. I’ve had everything written, of course, but never got around to posting it. First things first:

Welcome to the world, Miss Mattie! mg

Ok, and now, here it is, 2 months after she actually got here – my attempt to get from brain to keyboard my thoughts about my pregnancy with Mattie.

xxx

I’ve been wanting to write something about this pregnancy for a while now. The problem has been that I don’t know how to put into words all the things I want to say. This very well may be the last time I’m ever pregnant, and, while I hate being pregnant, there’s still something special about it. Josh keeps telling me to enjoy these last few days with her inside instead of out. These last day – after months of being the only one to know and feel her, before having to share her with everyone else. Right now she’s mine and mine alone. Yes, Josh is very excited and so are so many other people, but they don’t know her yet. Not like I do.

I really want to put into writing about the kicks and flutters. Those are what I will miss most. It’s actually I think the only thing I’ll miss about being pregnant. That and the ability to not give two shh’s about how I look. Oh, I’m not fat. I’m pregnant. Love that. Anyways, the kicks – I wish there was a way to bottle those up and just open it every so often to remember what it’s like to have this tiny person inside. There really is no way to describe it. This one has been interesting though. Mattie has been laying low the whole pregnancy. So, unlike last time around, I feel her kicks down in my butt. It’s the weirdest thing. I also feel her on both sides of my belly – down low on the left and then up by my ribs on the right. Ellabelle never did that either. Mattie is more quiet. Ellabelle used to keep me up at night with her dance parties (which makes so much sense now that she’s here and dancing all the time). That isn’t to say Mattie doesn’t make her presence known. Oh boy, when she kicks up, it hurts, like I’ll literally jump out of my seat.

Mattie has also been giving me lots of braxton hicks contractions. I didn’t have a single one last time. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a second pregnancy or if it’s because she sits so low. Regardless of why, I am not a fan. I’ve been in so much pain this pregnancy due to just the pregnancy. I had a lot of sinus/ear/headache problems last pregnancy. This time, it’s all about what’s going on in there. I can hardly stand up or walk sometimes. What weird is Mattie is so much smaller than Ellabelle was – or so it seems anyways. I’m measuring behind at this point and we have to go have an ultrasound to make sure she’s growing ok. I’m still under my highest prepregnancy weight. In fact, I lost a pound last week. So, what I’ve gained has been all her.

I really want to be done being pregnant. I want to meet my baby and see her and know she’s ok and whole. I want to be done with mood swings and hormones and aches and pains. I want to be able to dry off my legs after a shower without having to go into some ridiculous yoga pose cause my belly is in the way. I also really don’t want to be done being pregnant. I don’t want to not feel kicks. I don’t want to share her. I don’t want the stress of two kids and no sleep. I don’t want a giant c-section scar. I don’t want things to change.

xxx

And now some pregnancy pics Josh took of me with Ellabelle. I didn’t do any belly pics last time because I was really self-conscious about how I looked and about my stretch marks, but this time I really wanted pictures of Ellabelle with the bump. IMG_3246IMG_3198IMG_3248

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My goofy girl

Let me be the kind of person my kid thinks I am

A lot has changed since I’ve become a mom. Besides the obvious, that is. I’m an introvert who’s always suffered from shyness on top of the serious lack of self esteem. I opened up a bit in high school and then a little bit more in college, and I thought I had reached my true potential, as close as I was ever going to feel to being an extrovert. Then I had a kid, and I bloomed. The term “late bloomer” springs to mind, but I’m not exactly sure if what happened to me really fits the definition, but whatevs.543906_10100175016807220_683843313_n

See, having a baby changed everything about me – the way I look at the world, the way I look at myself, that way I look, the way I feel, the way I act. Everything about who I am changed. I tried to explain it to Josh because he totally doesn’t get it, but it’s true. I am not the same person I was 2 years ago. 10373989_10100567789547500_6412338567206929721_n

I don’t worry about what others think. I used to be so concerned, even if I played it off, but not now. The neighbors are sitting on the porch? Oh well, we’re gonna play in the driveway and blow bubbles and lay on out bellies and color with chalk. Greasy hair and mismatched clothes be damned. See someone I know at the grocery? Yep, I’m in yoga pants and tshirt and, yes, that is crusty yogurt on my shirt. My kid wanted to give me a hug while she ate lunch. My kids singing at the top of her lungs in the middle of Walmart? Guess what? Payback for all those annoying kids I had to listen to before I had my own. At least, mine’s confined to a cart and not running around like a total monster. 1505322_10100537782247370_2524185201423930971_n

I rarely feel beautiful. It’s a whole internal thing that isn’t even worth going into, but still it’s a daily struggle not to feel like I’m the biggest slob on the planet. But put that baby on my hip and I feel gorgeous. She’s my favorite accessory. She makes me feel comfortable and relaxed because I’ve got my little buddy with me. It’s almost as if having her with me just brings out this inner confidence I didn’t even know I had. I am mommy, hear me roar, or something. It could also be that she’s so outgoing and beautiful and everyone’s attention is immediately turned to her. This keeps people from pay attention to me and that’s all I ever want any ways. As pathetic as it is, I can hide my own insecurities behind my beautiful baby. Let her shine. Let her be loved. To love her is to love a part of me anyway. Still, there is nothing more beautiful than being a mom. 1078564_10100324672491030_1854246357_o

With her, I get to dress up and be silly without feeling like everyone’s judging me. I get to wear princess crowns and play in leaves and it’s not weird because I have a kid and that makes it total normal.

picture taken by Ellabelle
picture taken by Ellabelle

I wear a swimsuit without a second thought because she wants to go swimming. Do I feel self conscious? Hell yeah. Does it change that fact that my kid loves the water and wants to play in it? Hell no. Stretch marks and gut be damned. My kid wants to play, and that’s what we’re going to do. Plus, Miss Flat Abs, come talk to me after you’ve carried a watermelon inside your body for 9 months. We’ll see who’s got judgey eyes then. 1377573_10100373166463720_280199270_n

Being a mom has made me brave. I would never have jumped through a sprinkle before her. I would never have fed a llama before her. Now, I do. I have to be brave so she learns to be brave. Granted, I’m not running into burning buildings or dodging bullets, but being outgoing, to me, is being brave. Facing new things and taking on new challenges makes someone brave. She makes me be brave. 10620570_10100647929321750_8534121516845489860_n

She’s been able to bring a type of peace to my life. She’s the calm in a storm. My emotions are similar to hers, to a toddlers. I feel things very deeply. Anger, compassion, happiness, love – they all run deep. I react in the same way. So when I’m dealing with things, it’s hard to stop me. I’m a hurricane that just needs to run it’s course and run myself out. But, Ellabelle has this effect on me. She can stop everything in it’s tracks and bring me back down to normal. I don’t remember much at all that happened to me October 2012. Josh tells me that when I was feeling the most scared and the most confused, I’d hold her because she was the only thing that would calm me down, that would make me feel better. She’s been able to do something no one else has ever been able to do – she makes me listen, even if it’s just my heart whispering to me what it thinks she needs from me. She keeps me grounded and keeps me sane. She has made me more willing to compromise and let go of my pride. She has made me a better version of myself. 1474597_10100432361241910_747108290_n

Most importantly, she has opened my eyes to what’s really important. Someone was really rude to me at work that day? It’s over. Move on. There’s some sort of ridiculous family drama? It doesn’t matter. Arguing politics? Who cares. People wanting to push their religion? Not worth my time to even worry about. I can’t change people, and being a mom has made me realize that none of that stuff is really that important. I am able to just let most things roll of my shoulders. I can’t let silly things get me frustrated and upset when there’s a good chance that A) Ellabelle is going to notice my bad mood and its going cause her to be in a bad mood or B) Ellabelle’s going to be particularly ornery and that’s only going to enhance my bad mood. Regardless, with a toddler in the house, a living tornado of emotional outbursts, I have to work extra hard to keep my own emotions properly in check. Petty, stupid things just aren’t worth it. 12824_10100123659238200_1844291659_n

I’m living life one moment at a time, one step at a time. I’ve come realize that’s all I can do. I know I’ve heard it, but until something happens to you to make you wake up and realize it, you really can’t wrap your mind around it. I feel like in a way I’ve died. That old me is gone. I have been to the very end of everything, I have felt around on the floor of rock bottom and I’m still here. EB was my life preserve, something to hold onto in the dark. She was the sliver of hope from a lighthouse off in the distance. She saved me in every way imaginable when she made me a mom and she’s a continual reminder of what there is to look forward to. I read the news and see war and destruction and the very worst of humankind and I look at her and know she will be one of those gentle voices in the world spreading love and hope for a better tomorrow. Or at least I’m going to do everything I can to teach her to be that way. 10296167_10100585032582320_4742093574192984985_o

She has changed me and made me better. I’ve learned more from her and about myself in two years of being a mom than I ever did in 17 years of school. Everything Ellabelle does is genuine. Everything she does is the nth degree. There’s no holding back for fear of what others might say or think. She lives life on the very edge of her emotions – when she’s mad, she screams. When she’s happy, she sings. When she’s sad, she cries. There’s no huddling on the middle ground. It’s all or nothing, baby. I’m trying to be more and more like her, more genuine, every day.  10309070_10100559876051210_2043528754616114021_n

I can feel the change in me, even if others can’t see it. I’ve been changed for good. I’ve been changed for the better. Until you’re a mom, you can’t understand. And once you’re a mom, you can’t ever go back. Ellabelle thinks I’m brave. She thinks I’m funny and smart. She thinks I’m beautiful and adventurous. She thinks I’m loving and kind. I want to be everything she thinks I am. 10269289_10100562049730140_7013496600348624827_o

New Patterns

We’ve been slowly sliding into our new pattern of life. Poor Miss EB had a hard time adjusting to less sleep and long days away from us. She was crying when daddy dropped her off in the morning and won’t let me out of her sight when I come pick her up. She even runs to the door as soon as I get there cause girl is ready to go. She has, lucky, gotten better about the mornings. As long as we supply some sort of food distraction (be it goldfish or milk), she happily waves bye-bye to mommy and daddy takes her in, tear free.

Our days are as follows:
5:30: up and at em for daddy and mommy
6:00: Mommy gets Bee up and daddy makes coffee, starts the car, and takes out the dog
6:30(at the latest): out the door
7:00: drop baby off, fingers crossed for no tears
7:30: drop momma off, wolf whistle from the weird guy in the alley (aka my husband)
8-4:45: work and all that necessary stuff
5:20: pick up Bee, get smiles and blow that popsicle stand
6:00-8:30: dinner, bath, whatever housework we feel up to doing, and playtime with the manimals til bed
8:30: bedtime for the baby and last minute stuff for the next day
9:30: beddybye for momma and daddy.

Now repeat as necessary (or required anyways.)

So, yeah, poor Ellabelle isn’t liking this whole being home for only 2 hours to play with HER toys. I think she misses them too.

The real sad sap is Maisy. She’s so pathetic every morning. In the beginning, she would sit on the couch like, “Are we going somewhere?! You have pants on! We must be going somewhere!” And now she mopes, “Oh it’s that time of the day when you leave me again. Are you sure you have to go?” Insert big sad puppy dog eyes here. Like I said, she’s pathetic. But without fail, 6pm when we roll through the door, she’s there, still on the couch, wigglebutt agoing in excitement. And all is forgiven.

I’m so glad I have my job and the piece of sanity it grants me, but that little feeling of guilt is hard to shake when I look at Ellabelle. I don’t want her to feel like she’s neglected which she isn’t in anyway. It’s gotten easier as the weeks have moved on. I’m hitting my 1 month mark here this week. I feel like we’re finally on the path to where we want to be. I’m so looking forward to catching up on bills so we have some extra money to start saving for bigger and better things. Just like last year, march is so full of exciting new things and lots of busy busy weekends. More to come on that…

Anxious Mommy Math

I do my best thinking at night when I’m trying to fall asleep. I swear I’ll remember it all when I wake up, but I never do. I’ve lost many a great plot ideas for the book I’m probably never gonna write this way. But tonight, I’m writing things down. Why? you may ask. Well, it’s a battle of wits here this evening. See I don’t have the luxury of being a daddy so that means if the baby’s up so am I. And tonight she is refusing to sleep. Not sure what her beef is. But anyways. Using her sleep boycott to write. 20140204-230923.jpg

So now I get a chance to write and I’ve got nothing. Of course. Let us see. Well it’s my last week home with my kid. I’ve been home with her everyday since she was born and now I’m off to a regular job with regular hours. That means 10 hours away from my precious Baby Bee a day. And of course I’ve figured it all out into hours and traumatized myself into panic over my lack of baby time and the possibility of being an awful mother because I’m going to work instead of being with her. Anyways, here’s my crazy, anxious-about-leaving-my-baby break down:

With commute I’ll be away from Ellabelle for 10 hours a day

She sleeps for 12 hours a night (or usually does anyways)

There’s 24 hours a day so 168 hours a week

She sleeps 84 hours a week (lucky) and we are away from her for a total of 50 hours a week

So 84 + 50 = 134 hours away from her and 168 – 134 = 34.

Thirty freakin four.

That’s it. 34 hours a week. Barely over a day I get with my kid every week. I’m not happy about this.

I would like to win the lottery right about now so I can just stay home and hang with her while still being able to send her to good schools someday. But I don’t play the lottery. I’m too broke. And I don’t get to stay home with her anymore. I’ve been so lucky to get to spend the first 18 months with her. I had to sacrifice nights with her for a while, but I got every single day. Every single morning. Every single morning smile. Now I’ll get grumpy face cause she’s not going to be able to sleep until 10 or 11 anymore, and she’s gonna be a sourpuss about it, I just know it.

So anyways. This is our last week together, hopefully, ever. I will hopefully never find myself unemployed again even if it breaks my heart. So I’m trying to put down the laptop and trying to enjoy every little second I get with her. She ran around with a bucket on her head today. She’s become such a little person. I wish I could make it stop. I miss my tiny baby. I love this fun lively toddler. I’m sure it’ll be gone too soon as well.

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New Years Letter to Bee

I’m sorely lacking on posts. I’m not exactly sure how I fell behind. I was working so diligently to write every week, but once September hit life took over and so did the rush of the holidays and here we sit with a half written post meant for January 1st. As it is, here’s my new years letter to EB.

Dearest Ellabelle, 

We’ve somehow stumbled upon the end of 2013 – your first full year here. For 365 days, you have lived, breathed, and destroyed everything you could possibly get your hands on. I have watched in wonder this year as you have grown from a tiny roly poly baby into a fascinating, opinionated toddler. 

This year has been such an emotional roller coaster, but it a very different way than 2012. 2012 was full of dark emotions that fill our lives when we least expect it. The ever lingering pain of pregnancy and our possible death followed dealing with mommy’s postpartum problems left a dark spot on the year. But 2013 was full of so many good emotions. 

My little baby, so sweet and quiet, she turned into a toddler. With your first birthday came tears of joy and tears of sorrow as your infancy was over. Again, these were good emotions. I am so blessed to be here to get to see you become a little person, and so blessed for you to be here to reach this first of many more birthdays to come. Still, I grieved for the fact that my little baby no longer existed. Every day a little part of me is saddened as you learn and discover so many new things because these little discoveries and new steps will ultimately take you away from me. It is a brief and fleeting feeling, but it is still there. It’s part of being a mom. The joy of getting to witness you grow greatly out weighs the sorrow though. 

I have felt my heart swell so hugely this past year. Just when I think it’s hit capacity, you go and make it swell again. Your face and your little smile, they mean everything. Motherhood is hard, harder than anyone can explain to you, but it so worth it. Watching you play and learn and discover how things work makes me play and learn and rediscover so many things. You have opened my eyes to the wonder of the world. You have also opened them to the so many terrors. That’s just how it is though. You have to take the good with the bad. Life doesn’t play favorites (even if it may feel like it does sometimes) and you have to look for the positive in everything. I’ve never been really good at that myself, but I hope to be able to teach you to do that. Never let the bad outweigh the good and never forget to keep your chin up. 

There were so many more firsts this year – starting with your first New Years. We spent your first Valentine’s Day at White Castles (don’t worry, I didn’t let you eat anything). For your first St. Patrick’s Day we went on a barhop, but you only made it two bars before you were ready for a nap (you’re still a lightweight. It’s ok – you’ll get there.) It snowed on your first Easter, but you loved it. Daddy took you outside to see it. The easter bunny brought you lots of goodies, and you had your first piece of candy! 

Summer came and we got to introduce our little waterbaby to the pool and the water playground. You loved every visit to Parky’s Ark even it all you could do was sit in the water. Your first 4th of July was wet and soggy and you got your diapered changed on bar stools (Gold star in parenting for us on that one). Then, the end of July brought a very special day for all of us – your birthday and mommy’s birth day. We celebrated the day you made your arrival, the day I became a mom, and gave thanks for both us being around to celebrate one year. 

You learned to roll over, army crawl, crawl, and, finally, in November, at 16 months, you learned to walk. You babble like a maniac and talk up a storm when you’re on “your phone” which happens to be anything you can hold up to your ear. 2014 is going to bring so many new things as well. I guess that’s just what happens when a baby arrives – every year brings new, wonderful, magical things. We’ll get to hear you talk real words and maybe you’ll learn how to ride a tricycle. Who knows. 

Sharing as much of the world with you as possible is not only something I want to do, but it’s something I feel like in suppose to do. We did that a little this year. You’ve been to Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. That’s almost as many states as your daddy’s been to! You’ve also seen the ocean. Sharing that with you was so important and so special for me (even if you hated the sand and the water).

This year is bound to bring new changes to our lives, and I know that it may be scary and confusing for you, but we’ll get used to new routines and new hours. Just know, that even if I have to be away from you (like at work) that I’m never far and you’re never alone. I will be there if you really need me. I do everything for you and, if it means being away from you for 10 hours a day, I will do it. I want only the best for you. 

I am thankful for every day I get to spend with you. I soak in as much of your sweet personality as possible. I cherish every big, open mouthed kiss and pat you give me when I pick you up. I still love watching you toddle out into the living room every morning. And, every night, when I check on you before I go to sleep, I hold your little baby hand, just for a moment, to feel connected to you. I say it often, and that’s because I mean it, thank you for picking me to be your mommy. I’m so looking forward to fun adventures with you this year. I just know 2014 is going to be our year. 

All my love,
Mommy

Happy (20 days late) New Year, everyone! Photo on 12-31-13 at 8.01 PM

Banishing Sad Amy

I haven’t been myself lately. I’m not really sure why. It could be because I no longer have my job. It could be because I’m stuck in the house all day with a little tiny tornado. It could be because our funds are low due to the lack of job. It could be the no shopping because of lack of funds. It could be the fact that I watched all the seasons of Cake Boss on Netflix in like 2 days. It could be the feeling of silent rejection as not one of the numerous jobs I’ve applied for has called me back. It could be the fact that I feel like this house is never going to get clean no matter how much we do. It could be that we’re trying to stretch a gallon of milk, because we can’t afford to go by another until next Tuesday, between two people which wouldn’t be a problem for most people but I live off cereal and Josh is to milk what Cookie Monster is to cookies. He’s a milk monster.

Ok, sorry, I’m rambling. But the point is that I don’t feel like myself. Yesterday Josh even said, “You are totally bumming me out. If you look it up, there’s a picture of you under “sad” in the Webster’s dictionary.” Yep. That’s me. It’s so bad I’m not even excited about Christmas. Like seriously. Christmas is my holiday. I’m usually aching to have the tree up already, but not this year. Not yet, at least. I’m not sure what is going on exactly. It could be all of the above. But I’m determined to be happier. Not exactly sure how that’s going to work. I guess I’m just going to wing it and see where I land. But no more Sad Amy. No more. She’s being banished from this house. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve that I hope will work. I’ll keep you posted. Until then, here’s a cat:

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Goodbye, Whitewood

Home. The word by very definition means, “One’s place of residence.” It’s not nearly as romantic as one would hope. It’s pretty simple. It’s the house, the four walls and a roof, that you live in – that is your home. There is one thing about the definition that I love – how open ended it is. And this girl loves the space for an intelligent discussion. What does residence mean? And to throw another definition at you, “the act or fact of dwelling in a place for some time.”

Ok, on with my point – lately I’ve been trying to figure out what home is, where I can find it. And it gets a little confusing. Sometimes I feel like I have too many homes, and, by definition, all my homes qualify as homes.

Every little kid draws a house fairly similar. It’s always a square with a roof, a door, maybe windows of varying shapes, and maybe some sort of plants. When I was little, this was a home.

And it’s kinda funny. Besides that chimney being on the wrong side and the lack of accurate window placement and other exterior adds such as porches, garages, and car ports, it’s my house. It has the bushes that were always out front on both sides of the door, the giant tree to the left, and the curved sidewalk. It looks like a very simple version of the building where my bright yellow room resided (granted it was probably seafoam green with rainbow ducky wallpaper at the time I drew most of these). That is home. For 19 years, it was my place.

NKU is my home. I lived there for three years. I lived, ate, and breathed the Residential Village my last year. That place – it just got under my skin and sunk into my heart. It’s special for lots of reasons. I learned new things everyday. Somedays it was simply not to ever eat anything from Commons “salad” bar. Other days I learned things much more valuable like how strong I could be and just how much I could handle. I found myself there. I found friends there. I found Josh there. NKU will always hold a special place in both our hearts. To this day, making the turn of Alexandria Pike and coming down the hill, it still causes my heart to skip a beat when the school comes into view. NKU is definitely our home.

Columbus became my home. I lived there for 10 months all by my lonesome. I became a “grown up” in Cbus. I paid my own bills. I did my own grocery shopping. I did my own dishes (when I had to). I loved my tiny apartment with my two little kittens who terrorized me at every turn causing many call to Josh, who was still at NKU, “Josh, Bellini won’t leave me alone!” or “Josh! That freakin cat is on top of the cabinet! What do I do?!” That tiny apartment became too tiny when the big boy moved in and we added a small dog to the mix.

We moved into a 2 bedroom townhouse literally right up the street. I loved that townhouse. I keep wishing we still had it. I think part of the emotional attachment to that place has to do with the fact that it was our first home as an engaged couple and then as a married couple. I planned our wedding in that townhouse. We started planning our life in that townhouse. It was where our roadmap started. I planned on eventually decorating the spare bedroom in pink or blue. We only lived there a year, but the attachment we both still feel to that place makes it seem longer. Well, Josh and the cats lived there a year. I lived there only 8 months before I got a job in Cincinnati. I lived with my parents for the first months of my marriage while Josh remained behind.

I miss the front patio with the sliding glass door that the cats used to meet me at when I got home from work. I miss our little kitchen with all it’s storage space. I miss the closet under the stairs filled with crap. I miss our pretty little bathroom and my walk in closet I didn’t have to share. I miss having stairs! I miss our tiny yard, and my flowerbed. I miss the lake being right around the side of the building and watching Maisy constantly try to chase the geese. I miss the stop sign where Maisy always went to the bathroom. I miss how pretty and green it all was. I miss the feeling it gave to me, that townhouse just breathed in and breathed out, “Home.”

Columbus is our home. I think it’s so special because it brought so many new things to our lives. I went to law school there. I found my puppylove there. I got engaged there. We explored a city foreign to both of us, so completely different where we both came from. Columbus is magical. It’s electric. It’s alive. It’s clean and gorgeous. We never got to go to a Crew game. We didn’t get to go to half the restaurants I wanted to go to. We never did a gallery hop. I miss walking around downtown, exploring the different foods at North Market, visiting Tuttle, and so on and so forth.  (I don’t miss the Buckeye fans though).

And then, home became West Chester. I love our little “manufactured home.” It needs a lot of upgrading, but it’s our home. I like that we don’t have to worry about maintenance people wondering into our house randomly. I like that we live in a quiet neighborhood. I love our bigger living room and kitchen and having two bathrooms. It’s where I brought a baby home. It’s Ellabelle’s 1st home. It’s where all her big baby firsts took and will take place.

One thing I don’t like: West Chester. I hate the way most people in West Chester act. They walk around with their noses in the air and act like their entitled to something because they spent a fortune on their cars and their homes. I hate little women in big SUVs who can’t pull in or out of parking spaces at the grocery store. I hate the politics and the entitled brats that run around. I hate the traffic. And, oh god, I hate that effin train. I hate trains. This city has made me hate trains.  But I love my little home on Basin Street.

So, my point, saying good bye to the physical building that was my home for 22 years (the phone number is still listed as “Home” in my contacts) is hard. All my childhood memories are in the building – putting on shows in the living room while my dad turned the tv up over our music, playing hopscotch on the tiles in the front hall, being a band under the carport with brooms, refusing to go into the basement for any reason, having to go out in the backyard to paint my nails, being scared that demon from The Exorcist was living in the attic after I watched the movie freshman year. It’s where I learned the importance of family. It’s where I got my heartbroken on many different occasions. It’s where I realized my daddy and I love each other better if we aren’t under the same roof. It’s where I had my birthdays and Ellabelle’s first christmas. It’s where Angie learned to walk, and we both rode our bikes. It’s also where I fell off my bike and refused to ride it ever again. It’s where I was when I found that both of my paternal grandparents had died. It’s where I learned and loved and became a person. It’s where I grew up.

Thankfully, I’ve realized something as I’ve gotten older. This is a pretty obvious observation, but it’s one that takes time to really understand. Your home isn’t a building. Yes, there are memories and marks inside a building that has been your house that draw out those warm fuzzy feelings from inside you, but those memories are yours forever. I’ve also learned something about my home that I never imagined could be a conclusion about a home: your home can be a person. I didn’t realize this until just recently. It makes sense my home was with my parents and with my sister. It wasn’t the brick house on the first side street to the left. It was them. And now, my home is Josh and Ellabelle. Josh has always said that I live in his heart, that I had to clear out a bunch of mayonnaise to make room for me. And as weird as it seems, I think that’s true. I live in him just as much as he lives in me. If we’re together, that’s all that matter.

When someone becomes your home, it’s scary. It’s a huge risk just like when you buy a new house. There’s just no inspector for this type of home. You have to trust your instinct because when someone becomes your home it’s like your soul stretches and contorts and connects to their soul. You’re fused together in a way that seems to be un severable. That’s why break ups (both between friends, family, and significant others) hurt so bad. It’s like the stitching has been ripped open and the wound that is left from that person absence is just left open to bleed and fester. Ultimately, you sew yourself back up, and you find someone else to attach onto. That doesn’t mean the other person is just forgotten about. There is still a scar left from where the stitches didn’t heal right. And that’s how I like to think of my soul: covered in scars and battered with Josh attached to one side, Ellabelle on the other, my parents attached to the bottom as my foundation, and Maisy’s little bitty piece snuggled up close to the middle.

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So, thank you, Whitewood, for being the place where my family could build memories. Thank you for being home to two messy little girls and loud (still messy) teenagers. Thanks for the slumber parties you held and parties you hosted. Thank you for letting Maisy hide bones all around you. Thank you for being the place where Josh experienced his first “real” Christmas. Thank you for being the staging area for so many big things – dance recitals, first and last days of school, graduations, a wedding. Thank you for all the good memories you contain. Thank you for being our home.