Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Homeward Bound Part 8 - Thoughts on Moving

Moving sucks. Plain and simple. It sucks if it is your family, your friends, or your self moving. There....there are my thoughts on moving.

Anyway, Christmas has come and gone. I'm sad to see it go so soon. John's friends and family have hefted our furniture to the new place for us. We tried so hard not to bother people during the holidays to help us but it is unavoidable.

Having Bean run around makes it so that basically only one of us can do anything at a time. She's taking it all in stride. I'm sure things are confusing to her, seeing her bedroom in shambles and being emptied, but she's still her normal happy self. At one point she even tried to help us pack and put her huge blue ball in a box. SO CUTE!

Back to packing...John and I made about 1,000 trips back and forth with our cars filled to the brim with boxes. I'm sure that made it easier on the movers. Luckily the new apartment is a 1/2 mile from our condo.

I underestimated how much stuff we have. I bought 2 bundles of boxes from UHaul (foolishly) thinking we'd only use half...Ha! People have a lot of junk under their roof. But it isn't 'junk' in the sense that we can throw it out. It's just stuff that you need eventually. I'm not about to throw it out for the sake of convenience and then have to buy it again when eventually comes around because it always does.

You can tell when moving gets old...at first I tried to carefully label boxes and neatly pack everything, but now that it is down to the wire I'm just throwing random things in a box. We'll sort it later. I'm over it.

So am I sad to see an empty-ish condo? Not really...I'm too busy to be sad.

What happens next? Well, we get settled into our new apartment and then start house shopping.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Homeward Bound 7 - Preparing for the Move

So we have an apartment now. We have the keys. We have the new address. Now comes the hard part...planning everything out for a seamless transition. At least 'seamless' is my goal.

So much has to be timed properly.

Boxes have to be packed BEFORE our friends/movers arrive at the same time we are wrapping Christmas presents and finishing our shopping.

We only have 3 no-baby days between Christmas and New Year's that John and I can focus on getting things finished without a munchkin climbing our leg or into boxes or up the attic ladder. Daycare, sweet daycare!

Switching over the utilities while factoring in time needed to clean both. Fun fun.

Life keeps going = laundry, cooking, sleeping, bath time, work.

You know how people hire wedding planners? There should be a move planner.

You would think that as many times as I've moved in my life that I could orchestrate all of these details in my sleep. But I just remember that my mom did it all.

I want my mommy!!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Homeward Bound Part 6 - Memories



Now that the contract is signed and the closing date draws near, reality is setting in.

I thought I would be thrilled at finally leaving this house that has suffocated me for the past two years. Unexpected is the rush of sadness as I take mental inventory of all the wonderful things that have happened here in this little condo.

~ Mom and I lived here together for a little stretch of time while I tried to sort out my life. I remember how on Friday nights we'd get a stack of movies from Blockbuster, ice cream, and a bag of peanut M&Ms. Good times.

~ My sister and I lived here together for about 2 years. I'm sure there were frustrating moments but right now all I remember is how much we laughed. I miss her a ton.

~ This was the first house I ever bought. I bought it from my mom back in 2002.

~ This is where John and I serendipitously ran into each other out in the parking lot. I was leaving from a visit with my mom and he was coming to visit a friend next door.

~ John and I lived here together after we got married in 2003.

~ I finished my degree in 2005, after many evenings spent studying and writing papers here within these walls.

~ Rocky, that little scamp, lived here for a long time. He was the first dog I ever owned as an adult. He might also be the last, but he's definitely worth remembering.

~ This is where we brought Brooklyn home from the hospital. Her first smile, word, step, bath, bump, bruise, tooth, Christmas, tear, giggle, all of it happened here. *sniff*

~ This is where friends and family warmed our hearts by coming through our front door. Some have passed on and some have moved on, but I remember them all.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Love this girl.

Went to the mall tonight for pictures with Santa. She fell in love with the fountain (Melbourne Mall for you locals who are wondering) and I got a lovely 2 minutes of stillness to just snap photos of her enjoying her surroundings.



Enjoying the Process

Have you ever wanted something so bad that you thought you might die if you had to wait one more day? And every day you had to wait you'd grow more cranky and grouchy, ostracizing your friends as you search for something or someone to pin your frustration on. You are so grotesque with impatience that women shield their babies from the horror that you've become. Until finally, you are shunned from the community like an old testament leper, with the life-sucking black hole as your only companion.

You've never felt this way? Weird.

Well that's what I felt like while on my "I need a new house NOOOOOOOW" tirade. Poor John. Poor Lisa. Poor friends & family. Poor grocery store cashier. I'm so sorry to have dragged you into my depravity.

But the dark clouds are starting to clear because, though the house hunt has been put off for a few months, I've learned what it means to enjoy the journey.

For example, it's actually fun to dream about what our next house might look like, what kind of people will fill the neighborhood, the different things we'll be able to remodel, the new memories we'll create. Sure, moving into a tiny apartment for a few months might suck at first but I'm looking forward to the coziness. And hey, having less to clean and repair is a huge bonus.

So yes, life is more enjoyable when you change your outlook. Hmmm, I wonder if this is part of why in Phillipians 4:8 God asks us to:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.


Just sayin'.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Daddy's Shoes

Last night's entertainment included Brooklyn picking up her daddy's shoes, one at a time because they are very heavy, and heaving them to the kitchen. Why? I don't know. It's just one of those things that babies do I guess.

Then she would take them to daddy and struggle to put them on his feet. It didn't matter if he wanted them on or not. That's what she determined needed to happen at that time, and so it was. Then she would bring them back to the kitchen again and repeat the process.

It was so funny to watch her little body rush to get them from place to place.

Do you ever wonder about the thoughts babies think?

Visiting the Me from 2006

I found this list I wrote 4.5 years ago for the blog I had back then. Some of the things still apply. I've made corrections where needed. Check it....

I LOVE:
~ (2010: Being a mommy!)
~ it when its 70 and sunny outside.
~ pedicures (2010: I love the outcome, not so much the process.)
~ memories of my childhood.
~ music. ALOT.
~ taking pictures.
~ color.
~ movies based on a true story.
~ beating the crowds to Olive Garden after church on Sunday.
~ movies that make me cry. (2010: Which is basically every movie.)
~ that my dad calls me all the time.
~ that I have 3 really good friends. (2010: Make that 5. Yay me!)
~ unity.
~ being a woman.

I FEEL:
~ bad for gaining weight after I got married.
~ some people don't try hard enough to be good parents.
~ incredibly loved.

I THINK:
~ brunettes are prettier.
~ my husband is fantastic.
~ America is STILL a GREAT country. (2010: Despite the current administration.)
~ I wasted my youth.
~ I need to care more about my appearance health.
~ my mom did a great job raising me.
~ this should be a non-smoking planet.
~ men have it harder than women.
~ resisting change is stupid. (2010: But I still do it!)

I WANT:
~ to be a better wife.
~ to invent something.
~ my family to be closer.
~ my sisters to know how much I love them.
~ my in-laws to say they are sorry. (2010: They did, a long time ago. All is well.)
~ a more challenging job. (2010: Got it! Back in 2007.)
~ to read all the books I own before I buy any new ones.
~ to help abused women/children.
~ to be able to run 5 miles without stopping.
~ to redecorate my house. (2010: I will, starting with a new house!)
~ to learn another language. (2010: Eh, not really a priority.)

I NEED:
~ to grasp how much I need God daily.
~ to not schedule so many activities. (2010: I've gotten SO much better about this.)
~ to not hold grudges.
~ to just let go.
~ to use my passport. (2010: I did! in 2007 to go to the Bahamas and in 2008 to go to Jamaica!)
~ to learn discipline. (2010: Who doesn't??)
~ something from Starbucks right now. (2010: I'll settle for Dunkin'.)
~ to scrapbook more often. (2010: I'll settle for AT ALL.)

I AM:
~ a Christian.
~ (2010: A mother, as of July 2009.)
~ happy to be a big sister.
~ thrilled to be married to John.
~ not sorry sometimes.
~ very sensitive.
~ a big fan of monkeys.
~ an artist.
~ optimistic. (2010: For the most part. But I have my moments.)
~ happy with my life.
~ not a good listener.

I HATE:
~ buying things and not using them.
~ forgetting.
~ man-bashers.
~ being hot.
~ not having room for all my stuff.
~ taking showers (2010: in the summer. No matter how cold the water is, showering still makes me hot.)
~ the word "surreal". (2010: Add also the word "fruition." Just sounds lame.)
~ eating when I'm not hungry.
~ running late.
~ political correctness.
~ having nothing to do. (2010: I actually LOVE not having anything to do now. It's a rare luxury!)

I CAN LIVE WITHOUT:
~ Adam Sandler.
~ racism.
~ grapes.
~ dirty jokes.
~ mosquitoes.

I FEAR:
~ snakes.
~ having kids. (2010: But I did it anyway! Yay me!)
~ being in a car accident. (2010: Who doesn't??)

I LIKE:
~ wearing sweatpants.
~ how my lips look in liner.
~ hard cover books.
~ yellow sponges with the scratchy green side.
~ people coming to me for help.
~ that puckery feeling you get when eating fresh pineapple.
~ apple martinis.
~ overhearing someone say something nice about you.
~ telling people thank you.
~ the idea of moving to a different state.
~ remembering my dreams.
~ letting people know how much they mean to me.
~ considerate drivers.
~ (2010: Watching Brooklyn sleep.)
~ (2010: Getting kisses, hugs, and snuggles from baby.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Do Less, Be More

This title was borrowed from a blog post I found on The Nester. Such a timely article for me right now.

It seems like every year I let myself get mentally overwhelmed with Christmas festivities, and apparently I'm that girl who doesn't learn because this year is no different.

With our focus being mostly on selling the condo and apartment searching, I haven't had two minutes to sit back and enjoy my most favorite time of the year. And I was starting to feel really sad that Christmas was coming and going without me. Rather than cry and whine, I've decided:

~ That I'm going to make the most of these last two weeks.
~ I will send out whatever handmade cards I have so far and use store bought cards for the rest. And it is totally okay if the recipients get them after Christmas.
~ I will put up 1 wreath instead of the normal 6.
~ We will decorate the small 6 foot tree with ONE box of ornaments and the rest can stay up in the attic.
~ To limit the inside decorations to holiday scented candles. Mmmm....evergreen.
~ I will back-burner my craft and baking ideas and instead hand them out as winter treats if I have time.
~ Rather than fret about all I didn't get done, I WILL watch at least 2 holiday movies between now and Christmas.
~ I will focus on doing meaningful things with John and my daughter. Pictures with Santa? Decorate cookies? Who knows. Now that I'm saying no to more, I have time to say yes to the things that matter.

Aaaaaaaaahhhh, I feel so much better already.

Homeward Bound 5 - Rental Setbacks and Successes

Okay, so we have to be out of our condo by Jan. 4th. Where do we go from here? We had 3 ideas of places to rent and all those doors have been shut.

I was starting to get nervous but then another random conversation lead to me signing a lease for an apartment in a nearby neighborhood that is everything I was looking for:

Clean
Bottom floor
Has all the appliances (our washer and dryer went toward the sale of our condo.)
Rent includes cable & water
Small security deposit (I got the security deposit WAVED!!)
Affordable rent
7 month lease

How's about ya now?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Homeward Bound 4 - Houston, we have a contract.

Today was amazing. I can't believe how quickly this is all happening!

The New Jersey couple came to visit our condo on Monday. They would be in town for a few days so they figured they would order an inspection to be done on our place before they left. This happened yesterday. The inspection went really well and we only have a few minor things to fix. Yay!

So I have been scouring the web to find a real estate contract to use for this transaction. Not knowing the difference between a good one and a bad one, I decided to go see a real estate lawyer. He drafted one up for me in about 1.5 hours, I paid him an obscene amount of $$ for 1.5 hours worth of work ($250) and met the NJers at my house to go over the paper work.

I thought they'd want to take their copy of the contract back up north with them to look over it more closely but they signed right there and then! Oh happy day!

So we have, in less than two weeks and without a realtor, found buyers, gotten our asking price, gotten a signed contract & deposit, and established a closing date.

Giddy-up!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Homeward Bound 3 - They Like It!!

So the New Jersey couple came to see the condo today. They seemed to really like it. The only thing that is killing me is the constant haggling.

"Can you take $4,000 off your asking price?"

"No. I already told you our rock botton price."

"Can you throw in the washer and dryer?"

"No."

"We really like your bar stools."

"No."

We'll see what happens though. They want to come back by tomorrow or Wednesday for another look around.

Exciting but stressful.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pictures from the day

We check on you every night before we head off to bed ourselves. This night you were such a little angel that I couldn't help but sneak a picture. I cannot believe the flash didn't wake you. Sweet dreams my little princess.




After work we headed to the mall to check out the decorations and Santa. I adore this angelic face!



When you saw the choo choo you just about lost your mind with glee!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How we manage until Daddy gets home...

We go to the park after work/daycare!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ear Doctor Check Up

Today we another check up with Brooklyn's ear doctor. She doesn't mind coming to this office because....well the pictures explain it all. Check it:

Why hello huge bear. Sure I'll hug you!!

What's that you say?


Oh.....OKAY!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Homeward Bound Part 2 - Are you kidding me???

Okay, this is truly amazing. Yesterday we busted our butts getting the condo cleaned up and ready for listing. I even took Friday off to pack more things and haul boxes to the storage unit.

I have been in touch with a handful of realtors, trying to find someone agressive and optimistic enough to sell our place in this hopelessly saturated market.

This morning while in church, I started feeling overwelmed by the thought of having to keep our house clean every minute in case a buyer wanted to come take a look. I know, I know...I should have been focusing on God and his infinite goodness, but I couldn't help it. During the music I prayed "Lord, we need a miracle. This is too big for me to handle while being a full time employee, a full time mother and a full time wife. Please send a miracle to help us sell our condo."

Well, God sent us our miracle. We finish lunch and head home to do more cleaning and prep work. John gets a phone call from a neighbor who has the phone number of a couple in New Jersey who have been trying to buy a unit in this neighborhood for YEARS. I call them. Yes, they are interested and want to see pictures. Thank God I just happened to take pictures yesterday!!! So I email pictures and they call to say they want to drive to Florida right away to see our condo in person.

They are coming 12/6.

You can't even believe how excited I am. I keep trying to not get my hopes up too much. You never know how things could turn out. But I can't help thinking these are going to be the people who buy our condo. Why would this happen so randomly and so mysteriousy out of the blue? Would God really answer a prayer only half way?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Homeward Bound Part 1 - Prep that House!

We are on our way to buying a house big enough for our current and future family. Oh joy!

But first we need to sell our condo.

Before I met with any realtor we eliminated the clutter in all of our rooms. This meant finding a storage unit to put any of the crap that we didn't need for the next few months. And by 'crap' I mean anything that would remind a potential buyer of the itty bitty 1067 square feet of living space.

Things we put in storage?

~ Our recliner. This opened up the living room, giving a nice flow to the combined living/dining area.

~ A tall bookshelf crowded with books. I felt the open wall space would give buyers the ability to visualize different uses for this part of the living room.

~ Two of our dining room chairs. Six chairs and two bar stools really suffocated the small dining area. With the leaf in the table removed and only four chairs, you see more space around the table.

~ We emptied the attics so the buyers could see how we finished the attic flooring and how much of their own crap they could shove up there.

~ Any kitchen appliances that haven't been used in 6 months went into storage. We didn't want buyers to see that the kitchen couldn't even house our own normal sized appliance collection, leaving them to wonder where they'd put their own stuff.

~ One of the dressers in our bedroom was removed for the same reason as the recliner and dining room chairs.

We polished up the kitchen (since it is the crowning glory of the property) making sure to take any clutter off the beautiful granite counters.

John tackled any projects that were left unfinished from years past.

I had to take pictures for the realtors to use on marketing websites. Well, I didn't have to , I chose to because I don't trust other people to take the best ever photos of our property.

But I have a confession to make. Despite all my efforts to de-clutter, I still had to move junk from one room into another, take a picture, then move the junk back. Repeat for each room. I think the resulting photos turned out really nice though.





Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Since you've been gone......

...you know, that song by Kelly Clarkson?

Okay, so much has happened since November 9th. Yes, I had my 36th birthday on November 7th. I didn't really reflect much on it at the time but now that I've been 36 for a few weeks now, I admit it feels weird to be 36. I guess because 36 is on the 40 side of your 30's, while 35 was still smack in the middle. I felt young as a 35 year old. I guess I still feel young but 36 just sounds old.

My father in law was nominated for a Volunteer Recognition Award because of the work he does with the organization he founded called Computers for Education. They collect donated computers, fix and refurbish them, and give them back out into the community to kids in underprivileged families, churches, under-funded schools or other non-profits in need. At the award ceremony, the family enjoyed the lavishly catered buffet as we waited for the award presentation. My friends, the pinot was flowing like milk and honey! And I just knew he would win. I mean really - how can you compete with giving the gift of technology? Well, he didn't win. I wish I was noble enough to think "oh it was such an honor just to be nominated." But I'm super defensive of my father in law. He's such a good man who works so hard for everyone else. Honestly, I think he got jipped. But there is always next year.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shame on me!

How did I just gloss over my birthday? It was this past Sunday but the festivities have gone on for a solid week.

Thursday - singing & much cake at the small group gathering.
Friday - dinner with my fabulous in-laws.
Saturday - dinner with aMAZING husband at the fondue joint.
Monday - dinner with my pops.
This coming Saturday - dinner with my mom & sister.

What did I get for my birthday? 6 lbs.

Seriously though, John bought me a 75mm-300mm zoom lens for my camera and a sweet camera bag for ladies - you know, the kind that is useful AND stylish? Check it here. And "the baby" got me a little power shot camera to keep in my regular purse. Why? Because women love options! And John knows this. And that is part of why I love him. Oops, I mean the baby knows this and that's why I love her.

Anyway, this is the first pic I've taken with my zoom lens. I hardly even had to move from my patio chair.



It's a red shouldered hawk (had to look it up) and I've seen it checking out the neighborhood for about a year. On this day he was hanging out on the neighboring roof, probably scoping out some of the tasty future entrees local squirrels.

Why am I happy right now?

1) Got to work 10 minutes EARLY (and with makeup already on!)

2) Got a project off my desk.

3) Got to wear a jacket 2 days in a row.

4) Love this time of year.

5) Have some craft projects that I can't wait to work on.

6) Just had my birthday so I have gift cards to use. I love them. You can hang on to them and it seems like your birthday just keeps on going!

Stuff Babies Say

So Brooklyn has started saying what we thought was "nite nite" at random times during the day. I would think, how cute she is telling us she wants to take a nap.

I WISH that is what she was saying. We have now realized that she is saying "not nice".

She learned the phrase at daycare. And now anything in life that doesn't please her is met with this little voice saying "not nice." Actually, it sounds more like "naw niii."

~ When I took a pen away from her = naw niii

~ When John stopped her from walking into the parking lot = naw niiii

~ When something fell to the floor = naw niii

~ When Brooklyn dropped her water cup on the way to daycare this morning = naw niii

So now I'm trying to think of what else she says these days. Here's a Brooklyn dictionary:

Hiyeeee - means Hi. Usage: While she holds the back of my cell phone up to her ear. This morning she actually took my keys and held the remote house alarm thingy up to her ear and said Hiyeeee. Tiniest phone ever?

Bye bye - means I'm ready to go! Usage: As she takes her little purse and waddles to the door. Usually accompanied by blowing a thousand kisses.

All Doooan - means All Done. Usage: When she's done with anything, even being at daycare. When I picked her up one day, all she would yell was "All doooan! All doooan!"

Dank Ooo - means Thank You. Usage: Rarely!

Eeeeeese - means Cheese. And sometimes Please. Usage: When she sees the camera pointed at her.

Oooosh - means Shoes.

Gawk - means Sock. And sometimes Duck.

Ball - means ball, pumpkin, or any other thing resembling a ball.

Buh buh - means Bubble.

Yi yi yi - means EI-EI-O. Usage: When we sing Old Mac Donald Had a Farm.

I'm thrilled that her vocabulary is growing. Should she be saying more words at this age? Don't know and don't care.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween Pic

Monday, November 1, 2010

What's been going on?

1 Year Picture: John took Brooklyn in for pictures a few weeks ago. The photos are T.E.R.R.I.B.L.E. and not because of anything John or Brooklyn did. It's like the photographer set the camera to auto fire and just swung it around the room. Photos aren't centered on the baby, there's crap showing in the background, baby's dress didn't get straightened out, some shots are zoomed in too much...and not in a cool photojournalistic way either. Oh well. At least it didn't cost anything.

BBR: We had another trip to the resort in Orlando with our friends. We refer to it as BBR because the group is comprised of families with the initials B, B & R. Compared to our last trip a few years ago, things were a bit more stressful. Last time there were only adults and barely enough space in the 3 bedroom townhome for us all. This year we all brought our kids (2 babies and a 16 year old) and were so stretched for space we needed to rent another unit. This meant that our group was split up. Not fun. Additionally, the babies require SO MUCH extra equipment and planning and entertainment. Brooklyn doesn't have a "Relax, we are on vacation" button. She's pretty much raring to go at all times. So all in all, the get away was fun but tiring. We will do the next one differently, for sure.

John's new job: Going fine. He started about 2 weeks ago and was unsure at first but, as with any new thing, is growing more comfortable with each new day.

House hunt: Ugh. I don't even want to think about this. I have the 'all clear' from John to look for a new house but we have to sell our condo first. Which means prepping it to show, which means getting a storage unit to store the crap we have that never really fit in our small spaces, which means spending additional money that we'd rather use toward the new house, and then it means waiting and waiting and waiting for a buyer to offer us 20k less than we owe. It's an ugly cycle I tell ya. But I need to just buckle down and move in a direction. Sitting and griping isn't making any progress toward the goal.

Baby #2: This isn't happening for a while. We'll have another baby when we are good and ready.

EPCOT: Food & wine festival = FABULOUS! We had such a great time. LOTS of great food, little bit of wine (for me) and lots of beer (for the guys!) Mom watched Bean for us and we enjoyed the day with our friends Dave & Kelly and Stephane & Amy with their son Luca. This is something I'd love to do every year in the fall. If you haven't been before it is totally worth it.

Halloween: We dressed Brooklyn as an astronaut. She was so cute in her big ol' black boots and orange flight suit. She's barely 16 months old so we didn't go trick-or-treating but we did go to our parents house for a visit and pictures. She seems to already know to hold out her bucket when the door is opened. Are kids ingrained with this when they are born?

And here we are. The beginning of November....temps are still in the mid to high 80's. Not fair but that's what we get for living in Florida.

Peace out!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

When only moody slow jams will do...

Landon Pigg
Ingrid Michaelson
Amos Lee
Ray Lamontagne

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Woohoo...Cooking at home!!

I cannot believe how much I love all things domestic. If you had asked me 10 years ago, I'd have laughed myself into a coma.

So tonight I made a fierce meatloaf and mashed potatoes for dinner. The baby even ate the meatloaf - green peppers & onions and all.

If you are interested in a tasty recipe for meatloaf, I used the one from Mrs. Wilke's Boardinghouse Cookbook.

2 lbs ground chuck
2 eggs
3/4 minced onion
1/4 minced green pepper
2 cups crushed cornflakes
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp mustard
1/4 milk
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 container of sauteed sliced mushrooms (I added these)

Lightly beat the eggs. Mix in all the rest.

*Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.

*This makes a huge lump of meat that did not cook thoroughly in my oven. Next time I will cook it for 70 minutes or make two smaller loaves.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
Happy eats!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pity Party of 1, your table is ready!

Yes, I'm unloading some frustrations.

So the other day a group of us are sitting in the living room of my friend's house and someone asks us all what our dream jobs would be. It surprised me that, with as much thought as I have given this very question, I couldn't articulate any kind of answer.

What is a dream job anyway? I don't really want a job. I want to do things that make me happy. And have someone pay me to do these things. So Rebecca, what makes you happy?

~ Documenting life through photography & scrapbooking
~ Making/sending cards to encourage others
~ Caring for my nest and my family (cooking, cleaning, organizing, decorating)
~ Creating wonderful memories for Brooklyn
~ Reaching out to others
~ Reading
~ Get healthy

What is keeping me from doing these things?

Two inversely proportional factors: time & space.

I don't have time because I work 40+ hours a week. I don't have space because we live in 1000 square foot condo that holds 2000 square feet of life.

If I fix the time issue (quit my job) then the space issue will never be resolved (a bigger house means two incomes.)

And it is frustrating because I see a bunch of other people doing more with less. And I don't know how to get there from here.

*grumpy face*

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ear Tube Procedure

It was not the horrendous nightmare I had imagined. We arrived at the surgery center at 6:50 and John let me go back with her to take vitals, meet with the doc, nurses & anesthesiologist, sign papers and answer questions. The nurses were super friendly and Brooklyn responded well to the hustle and bustle of their pre-surgery duties.

Then I handed Baby Girl over to the nurse who took her to The Room. Though smiling, I remember thinking "Don't you guys dare screw this up! I will be on you like a spider monkey." I walked out to join John in the waiting area.

I had just settled into my chair and taken half of a sip of searing hot coffee when the doc came out saying "All done!" He did mention earlier that it would take literally 3 minutes to put the tubes in. I swear there must be a NASCAR pit crew back in the surgery room because it took more like 65 seconds.

John and I went to the recovery area where the nurse held a flopsy, bewildered and screaming Brooklyn. Coming out of the haze of anesthesia made her unable to control her own head and I think that really annoyed her. Oh, and having tiny things jammed into your ears probably added to her discomfort. I felt so bad. But she had taken a sip of water so we were cleared to leave.

In the car Brooklyn would NOT let go of her sippy cup or her glow worm as she cried nearly the whole 30 minute ride home. I kind of expected her to be more groggy and less cry-ey. But once home, she slept for 3 hours. Then ate a bit of lunch, played for an hour and slept for 3 more hours.

When she woke up around dinner time she was very much her normal self. By 'normal self' I mean she kept tugging my index finger in an effort to drag me to the front door...her way of saying "Hey people, what does a baby have to do around here to get someone to take her outside?!!" All in all, the day went well.

The tubes will fall out within 12-18 months. Until then we have to get her to wear earplugs while taking a bath. Yay us!

=)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Right now Brooklyn...

~ Is 1 year and three months old.

~ Can walk like a pro and even tries to run. She works hard at trying to put on her socks and shoes. She also loves to bring us our shoes and tries to put them on our feet. It's so cute because she is actually just rubbing the shoes onto our feet. She also rubs all her food into her hair. This is not so lovely.

~ Can say: bubbles, wow, shoes, oh boy, thank you, night night, momma, da-da & yay.

~ Loves playing outside, climbing up things, looking at animals, hugging her blanket and her glow worm, dancing to music, and blowing many many kisses. She loves being pushed around the neighborhood in her red car and always makes us buckle her up for safety.

~ Loves sleeping! I thought having a little one was saying bye-bye to sleeping in on Saturdays. Not so. We are so blessed that Brooklyn sleeps for 10 - 12 hours. I know it seems like I'm bragging but....well....I kinda am. Not everyone has this luxury to enjoy and I'm just saying I am FULLY APPRECIATIVE!

~ Loves her momma! She's going through a phase where she prefers me over anyone else. It is getting more difficult to leave her at school in the mornings and to leave her at the nursery on Sunday morning. It breaks my heart to hear her cry and reach for me as I walk away. But we both have to be strong. Hopefully through it she'll learn that mommy always comes back for her - that she isn't abandoned.

~ Gets sick. A-LOT. She's had so many ear infections now that tomorrow she's having surgery to have tubes put in her ears. Not looking forward to it. I know she will do fine.

~ Is the absolute light of our lives. When her little cheeks are pushed back into the biggest smile I've ever seen on a baby, it melts me to the core.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

I love going to the park with John and Brooklyn. They are so photogenic.









Thursday, September 16, 2010

Blah blah blah words words

Mommy, my ears hurt! I know that's what Brooklyn would say if she could. She's had many ear infections since March and is currently on her third week of battling the most recent infection. The doctor recommends we see an ENT to have tubes put into her ears. Yay. On one hand I think "how much more will this little girl have to go through" but then I'm gently reminded of the families who may be dealing with much worse for much longer. We can TOTALLY handle this.

We STILL haven't gone in for Brooklyn's 1 year pictures. It seems like something always comes up in the evenings. I suppose that years down the road no one will say "Hey, wasn't she really 1 year and 2 MONTHS in that picture?" so it is not a big deal. As long as they are done before her 2 year birthday.

So last night Brooklyn had this strong desire for the oven mitt she saw on the counter. I gave it to her and she stuck her entire arm in it and walked around the house like that for about 15 minutes. It was so stinking cute. Of course I took pictures.



She even wanted to take it to bed with her. However, it's the same oven mitt that my sister Heather used to put cheese into the bottom of to entice the dog to stick his whole head inside. Which he did. Every time. (And of course, I have pictures but can't find them!)

And finally, I stayed up way too late finishing a project that is SOOOOO AWESOME that I just can't stand not telling what it is. But I can because - in the rare chance that I DO actually keep this a secret - we are going to give them as Christmas gifts. Eeeeek! Keeping good secrets is SO hard for me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Parenting Class

John and I have just begun to lead a class on parenting at our church. If you are interested in checking out the curriculum, search for Parenting: The Early Years with Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott.

Although I have found the videos advertising the study to be a little misleading. It's not just about learning how to get your kid to clean their room. Being a good parent means DEMONSTRATING, by your own character, the traits you want your kids to have. So this class is about changing & growing ourselves in order to give our kids a proper model to follow.

We were totally honored to even be asked to do this. We both thought, talked and prayed about it. We agreed that it would be a sort of 'jumping-out-of-the-boat' experience. You know, getting out of your comfort zone. And I knew the subject matter was near and dear to my heart. Who doesn't want to be a better parent? We happily accepted the challenge. Then the war in my mind began.

"YES! Let's do this!"
"Wait, you mean do ANOTHER thing?"
"It will be awesome! You want to be a better parent, right?"
"Well yes, but it sounds like work."
"But it will be totally worth it."
"And I'll have to read a book. Filled with WORDS!"
"Reading is easy. You can do it."
"Ugh. I'll have to connect with MORE people. I just want to be left alone."
"These people are already your friends. You know and love them."
"But I'm tired."
"Will NOT leading the class make you less tired?"
"Oh shut it."

Yes, these thoughts were sucky, but I didn't let it back me down from the challenge.

And I'm soooooo glad because last night was our first class and it was A-W-E-S-O-M-E! Sure there were a few fumbling moments as we tried to get the DVD player working, but I think John and I worked EXTREMELY well as a team. While he worked the player, I worked the crowd.

I'm really excited about the couples who have signed up. Seven other families share our passion for being effective, godly parents. And these truly are fun people. I can't wait to get to know them all better!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Photo Taking Stats

So I was telling my BFF today just how obsessed John and I are with taking pics of our precious Bean. Here is the photo count for previous years compared to this year.

2010 - 3,416 photos (and it's only mid September!!)
2009 - 2,663 photos
2008 - 880 photos
2007 - 551 photos (? I guess not much happened that year.)
2006 - 1,317 photos
2005 - 1,281 photos
2004 - 909 photos
2003 - 896 photos (The year we got married)
2002 - 287 photos (The year I went digital)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Boo-Boos Happen

Well, we have a 'first'...but an unpleasant one. Brooklyn had a not-so-happy Labor Day celebration when she fell while walking around the coffee table at Grandma's house. This yielded a cut upper lip and her first bloody boo-boo. It was all I could do to not come unglued, but these things happen and I guess I ought to get used to it.

She recovered after a few minutes and later in the day, as she crammed food into her little cake hole, you'd never know there had been any injury. That's my girl. She is one tough little cookie.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sometimes an apology is just not enough.

I had a lady tell me recently that she didn't appreciate something I said to her. I was shocked because my comment (to me) was so innocent and so obviously a joke (again, obvious to me) that I still to this day cannot fathom how it was offensive.

So I apologized to her for causing an offense and explained that I did not intend anything mean by it. This did not matter. She was UNHAPPY. Then I asked her "Why would you think I was being mean to you? We are friends."

Apparently the offense was so deep that she informed she was not so sure we were friends after all. Wow. I was stunned to hear this. Then embarrased. Then angry. After she left my area, I wondered why my explanation and apology did not 'fix it.'

Speaking of apologies...John and I are still dealing with the after effects of the car accident that happened in January. Yes, we are every bit thankful to God for bringing her and her daddy out of that situation in perfect physical health. But I still can't help being a little a lot mad at the driver who's brief moment of negligence caused our baby physical harm and caused John and I loads of mental anguish.

We literally fight to not re-live what we had to helplessly watch our baby daughter endure. To me, there needs to be some justice up in here. I have been thinking about filing a civil suit against the punk that hit our car. Not because I want his money. I give a crap about this kid's money. But because (in my opinion) he hasn't had to suffer a big enough consequence for his actions. His insurance company has been paying for all his mistakes.

Then I think, would any amount of compensation from this doofus make the memories go away? Would it make the accident not happen? No & no. So what am I really after? An apology. Some acknowledgement of the suffering he caused ME even though I wasn't in the car. "Hey look, I am so sorry for what happened to your kid. That must have been really hard. I wish I could take it all back." And honestly, that wouldn't 'fix it' either.

So what do I do? I'm not going to sue anyone. I'm going to give it to my God who has been there and has seen His own Son suffer more than I could ever imagine. I'm going to find comfort in the fact that I'm not alone in this and that I have a healthy daughter and husband and have been so blessed throughout this time. And I'm going to remind myself that while an apology sometimes isn't enough, freedom comes in the not needing one.

Why is it that.....Part 2

~ the ATM machine says you can only take money out in $20 increments but gives you your $20 in fivers? This happened to me the other day. I wanted only ten dollars but noooooooooooooo, the machine made it clear it was incapable of granting that request. So I had to take $20. You can imagine the stink eye I gave the machine when it spat out (4) five dollar bills. I hate liars.

~ in footage taken by tourists on an African safari, the video quality is so good that you can see a flea on the belly of a sleeping leopard from 1000 yards away, but in footage taken by a 7-Eleven security camera you can't see nary a detail of the guy robbing the place? (This was John's observation, but it really fit in this post.)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Right Now

I am...

Hacking: This list of prompts I saw on someone else's blog

Listening: To a song that is stuck in my head from when I woke up this morning. Adele's "Melt My Heart to Stone." I will put it on repeat for about 2 more hours until I never want to ever hear it again. For at least a month.

Eating: A banana & some cashews.

Drinking: Water from a mug John got me while I was still pregnant. It says "A daughter is a gift of the heart." True dat.

Wearing: Khaki shorts and a t-shirt my in-laws bought me. It has a graphic of Albert Einstein holding a glass of wine and says "Albert Winestein - Drink a few glasses and become a genius."

Reading: Presumed Guilty by James Scott Bell. I WILL get through it this time.

Feeling: Like I'd rather be home with John and the baby right now instead of at work with little to do on this molten lava hot Saturday afternoon.

Wanting: A bigger house. And when I say "want" I mean "with every fiber of my being." I have my eye on one that would be perfect for us.

Praying: About so many things...John's job, the bigger house, when to have our 2nd baby, my mom's health, my family's ability to get along...

Enjoying: Having the whole office to myself and smelling the pizza I have cooking in the toaster oven.

Wondering: Why I referred to my coworker's girlfriend as his 'steady'. What am I, 70???

Scrapping: Only in my dreams. Don't have the space for it right now.

Loving: Almond butter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Needing: To start running. I just have to get over my hatred of being hot & sweaty. And the potential that I could very well die out in this heat. And how my body will protest in the beginning. Let's be honest, this is what the conversation would be like:

Me: Hey, let's run somewhere.
Legs: Why?
Me: Just to see what will happen.
Feet: I can't right now. I'm busy holding down this pillow and coffee table.
Me: Awe, come on. It will be fun.
Brain: Do you know how freakin hot it is outside? It's like being an inch from the sun.
Me: You are being dramatic. Running will make us healthy.
Lungs: It will not. It will make us die. Because if you run ANYWHERE I swear I will explode and literally kill you. So go ahead. Try me. It's your funeral.
Me: Wow. That's a pretty creepy but solid argument.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Books for Baby

I bought some books for Brooklyn over the weekend. They are for ages 8-12. I know. I now have to save them for 7 years before she will probably appreciate them. But think about how much they would cost in 7 years. I did my wallet a huge solid.

My sisters and I got a kick out of Beverly Cleary books when we were younger. I hope Brooklyn does too, but I'll try not to be disappointed if she ends up thinking they are stupid. She won't love everything I love.

Titles purchased:
Ramona & Beezus
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Ramona the Pest
Ramona Forever
Ramona the Brave
Henry and Beezus

I'd like to take the time to read all her books before she does. I don't want to be one of those parents that finds out AFTERWARDS that my kid is reading inappropriate material. No rush though. Afterall, I have 7 years!

Are there any books that you remember from childhood? I'd love to hear about them.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why is it that....

~ Babies have to poop 5 seconds before you need to leave the house? No matter what time I get Brooklyn ready to go in the morning, I see the red face and hear the grunting that can only mean one thing...diaper candy.

~ When you tell your massage therapist that your lower back hurts, they take that as an engraved invitation to rub your butt cheeks in a way that borders on inappropriate. On the outside I'm all "Pssssshah, it's cool. I'm okay with this. She's just doing her job." But on the inside I'm all "NOT COOL! NOT COOL!" Am I gay now? I really hope not because I'm married to a man.

~ The baby's high chair tray says "dishwasher safe" but it is so huge that it would fit in nobody's dishwasher? Do they make double-wide dishwashers?

~ I only feel motivated to work during the last hour of my work day???

~ When trying to show Brooklyn a lizard and how not to be afraid of stuff, it JUMPS ON MY ARM and I scream like a little girl. Wow, some role model I'm going to be. "Hey Brooklyn, don't fear that little tiny pip-squeak of a liz....squeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" *run away*

Monday, August 16, 2010

Old McDonald, John and Rebecca Style

This might be a difficult story to tell. It's kind of one of those you-had-to-be-there moments but I'm going to give it my best shot.

So we are in the car and Brooklyn is having a little mini tantrum. John and I bust out into song. It's been totally effective in calming her down thus far, so why not ride that train a little longer, eh? However, ours is not the traditional version of Old McDonald.

I start out with the standard cow. You know...moo moo here, moo moo there. Here a moo, there a moo.

Then I throw out the next animal...a goat. It came to the part where I was supposed to make the sound a goat makes and I couldn't remember what they said. Fail.

Then John takes over by shouting out velociraptor. (What the?!) I about died laughing. I think the noise I made was more pterodactyl-ish than velociraptor. But Brooklyn doesn't know the difference. Moving on.

My next animal...rabbit. John makes the bunny face and has his hands up to his chin. You really had to see it. He looked more like Bunnicula than Thumper. Yet on we sang "with a *makes deranged bunny face* here, and a *makes deranged bunny face* there". You get the idea.

Then John says aardvark and makes the appropriate Hannibal-Lecter-sucking-fava-beans noise. It's a good thing he was driving because I would have probably driven into a tree during my fits of laughter.

Then I say tazmanian devil and make a noise that is shockingly similar to the Taz cartoon.

I don't know how much of this helped the baby but I've learned that non-traditional Old McDonald is way more fun.

So next time you sing it (which you know will be in the shower because you won't be able to get the tune out of your head. You're welcome.) Just go wild! Pun intended.

Otter, ant, Wookie, koala, hyena, dolphin, muskrat, giraffe, sloth (2 or 3 toed), marmoset, flounder, tarantula...whatevs. Get jiggy with it!

Friday, August 13, 2010

For First Time Mommys-To-Be: The stuff they don't tell you in books.

1) Don't register for massive jars of diaper cream to keep by the changing table. The bulk size seems tempting but in reality the screw off lids are very hard to remove with one hand. But Rebecca, why will I only have one hand to remove the lid? Because your other hand will be used to keep a squirming baby from kicking poo all over herself or you or to keep above mentioned squirming baby from flipping over and crawling off the changing table. You need tubes of diaper cream with flip top lids.

2) If you are a working mom who plans to keep breastfeeding after you return to work, GOOD FOR YOU! It is possible to do and you will be sooooo frickin proud of yourself for keeping at it. Here are my tips:

  • Keep an extra set of bottle caps in your pump bag. I forgot lids once and that panicky feeling you get when you think you might have to toss out some precious milk is just not worth it. Luckily I had a glass bottle of cranberry juice at my desk that I washed out (with scalding hot water) and was able to use to bring the milk home in. Also useful are the freezer storage bags they sell specifically for breastmilk. They take up practically no space in your pump bag and can also be used for transport if you forget lids.

  • Keep a box of nursing pads and an extra shirt AT WORK. I didn't ever need the extra shirt because of leakage, but I did end up using the spare shirt when Brooklyn pooped on me while dropping her off at daycare. In fact you should keep an extra shirt in your car, in your husband's car, at your friend's house, your parent's house, or any other place you can think of where your kid might poop, pee, yak, snot or drool on you and you don't feel like wearing this badge of parenthood all day long.

    3) If you have questions about how long to store breastmilk, go here.

    If you have questions about how to re-use pumped breastmilk, go here.

    Basically, what I'm saying is DO NOT THROW OUT BREASTMILK based on what a few people might tell you. I wasted a lot of milk in the beginning because I didn't know how resilient it really was.

    4) Baby products that fold, open or collapse were clearly not made by people who know what it's like to try and fold, open or collapse said product with a baby in one arm. It seems like EVERYTHING takes 2 hands to fold, open or collapse. The most frustrating thing will be the handle on the infant car seats...the kind of car seat that you take out of the car and fit into the stroller. This handle requires you to lean half way into the car to reach the far side and the near side latches simultaneously, so be prepared to drop ALL THE THINGS you are most likely holding to fold the handle back.

    5) If you live in a small apartment, house or condo with a less than huge dining area, don't waste precious space on a full sized high chair. They make the kind that strap to an existing dining room chair and these work splendidly. They also work great for little babies because it reclines and the tray tilts so that the baby can be laying back for feedings, like this. This way the baby is secure for when you are home alone and have to quickly run to pee. I know, I know....you shouldn't leave your kid alone for even 1 second (and I don't recommend doing it) but come on. Sometimes it HAS to happen. These are also good for when you need to shower and you are home alone with baby. Just drag the chair into the bathroom, strap the kid in, put a fistful of cheerios on the tray and there you go.

    That's all I can think of for now.
  • Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Saturday, August 7, 2010

    Saturday Morning Thoughts

    It's an easy Saturday morning. Brooklyn just finished her breakfast - 2 scrambled eggs and a plain toasted waffle. My coffee just finished brewing. Now she's running around in a diaper, taking turns bringing things to John and I.

    "Brooklyn, bring this wallet to daddy."

    *scamper scamper scamper*

    "Thank you! Now Brooklyn, bring this wallet back to mommy."

    *scamper scamper scamper*

    "Awe, thank you! You are sooooooo helpful."

    Smiles and giggles and hugs for everyone.

    Brooklyn, I love being your mommy. You are so friendly and welcoming to everyone you meet. I love when you crawl up my leg in the mornings while I'm getting your lunch ready in the mornings. I love how you 'moo' like a cow. I love how you smile with your whole face. I love how you JUST NOW figured out how to use the fan remote to turn on (and off and on and off and on) the overhead light. Hahaha!

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    Birthday Girl

    We celebrated Brooklyn's birthday yesterday. I can't believe I now have a one year old baby. The party was great. Many sweet people came and showed their love to Brooklyn. These are only a few in attendence.



    And she got a ton of loot. Her pretty party dress made her the belle of the ball.



    The cake, food and decorations were top notch.





    She played SO WELL with the other little kids. I'm very proud of her.




    Sadly, there are no cake smashing pictures. Brooklyn was tired and irritable at the moment we brought out the cake and all she did was cry when she saw it. Poor baby was in sensory overload. That's okay though. There will be other birthdays and other cakes to smash. I've learned to never hang your hat on certain expectations. Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don't. If you go into with that mentality, you won't be terribly disappointed when things don't go as planned. Roll with it, baby!

    I'm so thankful to all of our guests. I'm especially thankful to my husband, my parents & my in-laws for all their hard work. They cooked, cleaned, shopped, baked, set up, cleaned up and did basically everything needed to make a party run smoothly.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    4:10pm

    Today at 4:10pm you turn 1 year old.

    Right now:

    ~ You love cheese. Daddy cannot get a string cheese stick for himself without you hearing the wrapper and going mass critical. He HAS to share some with you.

    ~ You started walking short distances a couple of weeks ago - about 5 feet between daddy & me. And you are so happy with yourself. The last step is you throwing yourself at me with a huge smile.

    ~ You are 29" tall and weigh around 20lbs. We stood you up against the wall and marked your height.

    ~ You can fully wreck the living room in 37 seconds. And I have pictures to prove it.

    ~ You are starting to try and climb up the bookshelf. That is a big no-no.

    ~ You still love people. You didn't go through the stranger anxiety phase. That's our social little butterfly. (Just like your mommy.)

    ~ You love to push things around the house: Your walker toy, an upside-down bucket or small trash can, patio chairs. Not satisfied to sit and be a lump, you seem happiest when you have something to do. (Just like your daddy.)

    ~ You love all other little kids...especially the older ones that you can scurry around after. And they really seem to enjoy entertaining you. I love to watch you play.

    ~ You don't get what 'no' means. We have to tell you over and over NOT to touch certain things. And then you still touch. We'll have to figure this one out...fast!

    ~ You still eat anything we put in front of you. Thank you God!

    ~ You are starting to resist going to bed. One night you cried and wimpered for about 10 minutes before you settled down to sleep. I'll never understand why babies hate to go to bed. I LOVE to sleep and wish I could do it more often.

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Looking back...

    So let me take a minute to reflect on things John and I were doing this exact time last year.

    Saturday 7/11/09: I was having fun at a dear friend's baby shower. My feet were super puff-a-lumps and it was hard to stand on them for long periods, but my friends were super accommodating and found a rocking chair for me. Everyone kept asking me if I had pre-eclampsia and to my knowledge I did not. Never had my doctor or nurse expressed concern about the massive foot swell I endured. Oh well. If they weren't worried, neither was I.

    Sunday 7/12/09: John and I had a discussion about when to pack our hospital bag. Bean wasn't due for 5 more weeks, so surely there was no need to rush. We'll do it next weekend. I remember thinking "I hope I'm ready for this in 5 weeks." My thoughts on labor and delivery were becoming increasingly skeptical.

    Monday 7/13/09: Doctor's appointment. Nothing major, just the normal pregnant lady check up. Doc thought my blood pressure was a tad high...enough that he thought I needed to do a 24hr urine test. No problem, doc. I'll just pop back in on Wednesday before work and you can give me an all-clear. Okay? See ya.

    Later I had a massage at my chiropractor's office. The massuese is trained in pre-natal massage. H.E.A.V.E.N.

    Tuesday 7/14/09: Nursing class at the hospital. Lots of interesting information on breastfeeding. Learned new ways to hold the baby for optimum latch potential: football hold, cross-over hold, reverse-under-the-arm-downward-facing-double-dog-half-gainer hold. (Not really. I made that one up.)

    Wednesday 7/15/09: I go to the hospital for my follow up appointment. The nurse takes my blood pressure. She comes back later and asks me to put on a hospital gown and straps a belt around my belly. I guess my doc ordered a non-stress test. At this point I'm still not too concerned. I've never been pregnant before so I assume this is all normal pregnant lady stuff. So I call work and tell them I might be later than I thought - boy this follow up appointment is really taking forever. And man I'm hungry. I haven't eaten breakfast. I think I'll grab a smoothie on the way to work once these hospital shenanigans are over with. Then someone comes in and does an ultrasound on my belly. Baby looks good. Then someone else comes in with the results of my 24 hour urine test. And this is where the rubbish hits the oscillating device. If anyone needs a refresher about the rest of the story, check here.

    Anyway, the day ended with a beautiful, healthy and resilient little baby being delivered at 4:10pm. 5 weeks earlier than anyone ever had the slightest inkling that she would arrive. And all without any hospital bag ever being packed.

    I have to say it was the biggest surprise of my entire life. Was I ready? Heck no. I didn't think I was ready for a baby that day or would even be ready given 5 more weeks. But I adapted. Brooklyn adapted. And John didn't have time to do anything but adapt. And he did it so well.

    I continually thank God for the happy ending to this story.

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    There's a party a brewin'

    Holy schnikeys! I can't believe Brooklyn turns 1 year old this Thursday. Honestly, I haven't really thought much of her birthday party because of the funeral this past weekend and all the prep that went into that. But now it's like I have to kick it into over drive because time is ticking!!

    I have plans for some simple decorations that hopefully won't be one of those "should only take 5 minutes but ends up taking 5 days" type projects. My in-laws are kindly gathering/preparing the food. And so all we have left are paper products and her gift to purchase. I really wanted a simple party with just cake & ice-cream. We'll see how it turns out. I feel like I'm in a cloud. I can't even remember who all we invited. Can I still blame this on mommy-brain?

    Monday, July 5, 2010

    Independence Day, 2010

    My firecracker baby, patriotic sweetie and I went to a friend's house

    for some food

    some fireworks

    and fun with friends.

    It was a rainy afternoon but the boys improvised.


    And Brooklyn got to wear her festive skirt.

    Thank you, sweet baby

    For being such a good sleeper. I know many parents who don't get to enjoy putting their kid to bed at 8:00 every night without a fight and then have that same child sleep until 7:30 the next morning. We are blessed. And we know it. We don't take one single moment of it for granted.



    For being such a good eater. Whatever we put in front of you gets eaten. Yes, some of it ends up on the floor or in your shirt. And in your hair. And in your diaper. Which is fun to find later when we give you a bath. I was afraid I had ruined your palate by waiting so long to give you solid foods. I'm SO pleased that you are willing.



    For being so entertaining. I love watching you sleep and how you continue to suck even when the binky falls out of your mouth. I love watching you play in the tub and how you try so hard to drink out of the faucet. I love watching you figure things out. How daddy makes you laugh, how sometimes you just want mommy to hug you, how you are so friendly to everyone you meet. And how you just have to see every bit of what is going on around you.



    I love you so much, baby girl.

    Saturday, July 3, 2010

    How to Painlessly Stop Breastfeeding

    I dreaded the thought of stopping breastfeeding. I was worried that quitting cold turkey would be a painful process as my body learned to shut down the factory. So I tried my own 'ramping down' method. The process took a couple of months, but to not have to suffer one minute of engorgement made it totally worth the time.

    To keep the milk going during the work day I'd pump every 3 hours. Then when Brooklyn was about 8 months old, I started spacing out the time to every 4 hours. I did this for about a month. Then 5 hours. And so on. Eventually, I pumped only twice a day - before bed and in the morning before work.

    I did this for a week or two. Then I took a risk and pumped only 1 time a day to see what would happen. No engorgement. No pain. Yay! After a week or two of this, I only pumped once every couple of days. And then one day I just didn't pump ever again.

    So when Brooklyn was about 11 1/2 months old, the factory closed for good. Honestly, I was happy to get my freedom back. I didn't mind the sacrifice at the time but now I'm thrilled to not be a slave to the breastpump.

    I feel it is important to mention this part. Babies aren't supposed to have whole cow milk until they are 1 year old. My process eliminated my milk two weeks shy of her 1st birthday. So we used formula to fill the void. And to make sure she would accept formula, we gave her a bottle of it while I was still able to make my own milk. I didn't want to quit breastfeeding to find out that she wouldn't tolerate formula and then all of us be stuck without any options. Granted, she was eating solid foods by this time, but having a bottle of milk before bed time and to hold her over between meals was super convenient.

    So there you go. Happy weaning!

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    It's never too soon to start learning about chores!

    When's my dang shirt going to be finished?

    (Photo disclaimer: I know it looks like she has a 'load' in her diaper, but she doesn't. That is honestly how they hang.)


    Brooklyn likes to help daddy push the vacuum back into the closet. Makes me laugh every time.

    Sunday, June 27, 2010

    It takes a while

    How do you write about death? This is my second occasion to do so and it doesn't get easier. My grandmother passed away yesterday. It was 3:38am on June 26th. She was 81. I keep having to remind myself that she's gone. It takes a while for it to register, I guess. My mind goes back to the last time I'd seen her...


    {Our Four Generation Picture taken on Mother's Day 2010

    It was Saturday evening last weekend (6/19/10.) And it was an accidental visit. I had called grandma to see if my mom was there. When grandma told me she wasn't, I didn't want it to seem like that's the only reason I called, so we chatted a bit. She told me my uncle and his wife had come over from Tampa to cook dinner for her and that John and I should bring the baby over for a visit. My sister Sarah was hanging out at my house so we brought her along with us.

    {My sister Sarah, my daughter Brooklyn, & Grandma}

    Truth be told, I could have drummed up no shortage of excuses to not go over. I'm not as close with my extended family as others are, so me NOT visiting people is the norm. But for some reason I felt like we should take the time to go over and say hey to everyone. It was a great time. I'm so glad I went.

    We sat around chatting about the job situation (most of my family and I work at the space center), the effect the oil spill is having on our state, and sundry other topics. Grandma sat quietly, half contributing and half just watching the interactions.

    When I asked her if she wanted a turn holding Brooklyn, her eyes lit right up. She held the baby until Brooklyn got too heavy and wiggly for her to manage. We all chatted some more, nibbling Hors d'Ĺ“uvres (seriously, why can we not spell this orderves????) My uncle's wife told us how it takes grandma forever to eat a cracker with dip on it. Something that people normally pop into their mouths takes her 4 bites. We all laughed. Grandma can be so adorable.

    At one point I noticed her sitting staring at Brooklyn. I asked her what she was thinking. She said "the baby is just soooooooo beautiful." I know grandma really loved her first great-granddaughter. You could easily see it in her eyes.



    I was glad we went for a visit. But now I'm even more grateful for that time. I had no idea it would be the last time I'd see her. More memories will come to me. And I'll tuck them away somewhere on a scrapbook page so I don't ever forget. The funeral probably won't be for another week. I am looking forward to hearing what others in the family remember most about grandma. She will be dearly missed by us all.

    {My grandma with her youngest daughter - my mom.}

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    I hope you daaaaaaaaaaance....

    So last night John and I had the best time putting baby to sleep. After her dinner & bath we put the iPod on Buble and took turns singing and dancing around the living room with Brooklyn in our arms. It was great fun for us and she really seemed to like being 'dipped' during the dramatic parts of the song. Who doesn't enjoy a good dipping?

    I'll never ever forget how she smiled, giggled and gripped my thumb with her whole hand as we whirled around. I just wish I had a picture of it all. I know you'd get a kick out of us. I sure do.

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Discipline...not so easy on this side of the fence.

    I used to be all about people spanking their kids. Any time I'd see a bratty kid, I'd think "How's that time-out workin' for ya, Mom with the frazzled hair and crazy eyes?" Or if a teenager was acting particularly stank, I'd think they probably didn't get their tail feathers paddled enough when they were little. I mean, I got plenty of them as a kid and I turned out great. Do you hear me, Dr. Spock? I. Turned. Out. Great. *shakes fist defiantly in the air* (Isn't that funny how I think me getting my butt whooped really showed him? Ha!)

    Well...I've got news for ME. Disciplining a child...a baby...is not fun. Especially when you have real tears involved, a quivering little lip, and a sweet little face that looks up at you like you just broke her heart into tiny bits. Sure, there may be a time & place for a well deserved butt whoopin'. Now is not that time.

    So how do you train a baby to grasp the concept of 'No'? Like I said, I was a child who received spankings. My mom was run ragged by my sisters and I and didn't have time for no stinkin time-out. So spanking to correct behaviors is all I know. But I DON'T WANT TO SPANK A BABY!! There just has to be another way. Yelling? John and I want to reserve yelling for when there is life-threatening circumstances that require an immediate cease-and-desist. Right now finding a distraction seems to work but I know this won't always be the case.

    So that is my goal for now...praying about and finding age appropriate methods to teach and correct. Are there any good books out there that can lend some guidance? Any tips or tricks I should hear about? Bring it.

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    Hey John, does this remind you of anyone?

    US! Before Brooklyn came along.

    Sunday, June 6, 2010

    Houston, we have tooth bud! And other news...

    Just when I thought we'd have the only baby in history who would need dentures because she refused to grow a tooth, behold we have seen the nub. It's just the tiniest little speck of white on her lower right gum. The nub started making it's appearance on Thursday or Friday. And this explains alot about her mood lately. The poor little thing has a mini dagger pushing through her gums. I think I'd be at the very least a little cranky too. So 10.5 months old and her first tooth. Great job Butter Bean! You grow those teeth, girl!

    Also, she's mastered crawling. Well, I use the term "master" loosely. She's mastered it as much as I think she's going to. She prefers to be upright on her feet and loves to walk around the house holding onto our fingers or doing laps around the coffee table. But if a toy is out of her reach, or she's tired of being in a particular room, off she goes on hands and knees. I know it won't be long before she's skipping and jumping rope. *sniff sniff* SLOW DOWN already, jeeze!



    So we bought her the first pair of shoes. (Stride Rites...people say they are great.) Now if crazy people tell me stuff, I ignore them. But the people that said these shoes rock are sane, respectable and so far have given good advice. I love having friends who research the crap out of stuff. It makes my job much easier. "Hey Tracy, what shoes do I get...Stride Rites? Okay." "Hey Paige, what's the best car seat...Britax? Okay."



    As for food, right now she likes bagels, ham, slices of cheese, still with the cheerios, cucumber, peas, and chicken from Chick-Fil-A. (Who DOESN'T love chicken from Chick-Fil-A?) Oh, and she ate the heck out of a chocolate chip cookie once, though dessert type food is still OFF LIMITS. (That's for you mom, if you are reading this.) LOL

    She weighs 18.something lbs and is still sporting size 4 diapers. She is also still able to wear her 6-9 months clothing. We put her in some 12 month stuff only because it is so cute, but the pants fall down off her little hips. *sigh* Mommy wishes she had Brooklyn's little hips.

    Well, that's all for now.

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    (insert fitting title here)

    I'm a 'reason' person. I have no problem doing the what. I just need to know the why and I'm on board. Well, unless the why is really stupid. Or illegal. Or boring. Or will make me sweat. But normally, I'll help with the what. Especially for doing something life-altering. Like having babies.

    When I was in my 20's I felt like there were only a few reasons someone would have kids:
    ~ Accidentally
    ~ To fill some emotional void
    ~ To carry on the family name
    ~ To help plow the wheat fields in Oklahoma
    ~ To make a guy stay
    ~ To get on a reality show

    And see, I knew it was life-altering. I felt too few people regard the decision with the amount of gravity it deserves. And none of the above reasons were good enough for me. I felt I was better than all of that.

    Until God steps in and starts kicking over all the tables of fear and doubt in your heart and mind. Through books and words from dear friends that I'll never forget, God tore down all my wrong thinking about creating a family and assured me that John and I would have all the tools needed (the how) to grow a child (the what) who would live for God (the why.)

    And now that we have made a sweet and precious baby, I can honestly say I believe the part in the bible that says children are a blessing to their parents. I understand the dreams and desires every mom and dad must have down to their core for their children. I echo the fervent prayers from parents everywhere for the safety and protection over their little ones. If I may be so foolish to say, I think I understand a teeny bit more about God's love for us. And as Brooklyn grows and learns, the more I think we'll grow and learn.

    I feel like I've been let in on the most wonderfully beautiful secret that there ever was.

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Who's timetable is it anyway?

    I really try not to compare Brooklyn's progress or development to that of other babies her age. I admit, it was difficult at first. I would see these other kids who have like 5 teeth, eat hamburgers, can jump rope and speak two languages. And are only 11 months old. I'd think to myself "I'd be happy with just a crawl." But I realized it really isn't a race.

    So instead, John and I celebrate each new step that she makes. We realize that all babies do things when they are good and ready. No teeth yet? Well I've never known a 3 year old who hadn't yet popped out any teeth. Or a 5 year old who didn't walk or know how to crawl. I just keep these things in my mind when I hear how well other babies are doing. This frees me to share in the joy of that proud momma and papa.

    On the other hand, I don't want to judge or be judged by other moms either. And trust me, we can all tell when we are being judged...we do it to ourselves PLENTY and are experienced in the detection of criticism no matter how silent or unintended. A slight lift of an eyebrow, the smallest inflection in someone's voice, the darting of the eyes when I tell them, "No Brooklyn isn't walking yet. She isn't even crawling. Nope, not even 1 tooth nub."

    She'll get there. We all get there. And I'm going to sit back and enjoy every baby-step of the way.

    Sunday, May 30, 2010

    Daddy & Mommy's Day Out

    My mom kept Brooklyn after church. John and I drove all over Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach trying to find a great water-front resturant for lunch that wasn't swarming with kids on summer vacation. Oh how I envy kids on summer vacation. But hey, I had my turn. And they can't drink THESE!....



    We settled on Sunset Cafe, overlooking the Banana River. It was hot. It was sunny. It was awesome. The perfect Florida day. I felt like we were doing what tourists fly many miles to come here to do. Something that we don't do enough of...kick back, relax and enjoy our lovely state.



    Added bonus: We saw a dolphin swimming not far from the little dock we had lunch on. Can you see his fin in the water on the lower right side of the rocks?