love thursday: filled to the brim

The other day we laid Baby Blueberry down in the pack and play which is serving as a make shift crib in our living room and MM came in the room, looked around and seemed to panic. “Where’s the baby?” he immediately wanted to know – which shows you how rarely she is not in our arms – this little girl is going to be spoiled rotten. We laughed it off and assured him she was right there and fine but at the same time, my heart swooned. He loves her and wants her around.

There’s a lot of love in our home right now. Our newest addition has been tugging at the heart strings of every member of our family. We’re all simultaneously over the moon for our little baby girl, each of us experiencing new love again. We’re also falling in love with each other a little more every day, as we experience this new chapter in our lives. I am so proud of MM and how he is adapting to his Big Brother status, watching him get a little bit older and more independent and helpful – he’s no longer just my little baby boy, he’s a big brother and takes this job very seriously- it’s bitter sweet, watching him grow up, but mostly sweet. Watching my husband beam with pride over his little baby girl, I can’t help but fall in love with him all over again – he’s such an incredible father, very attentive and involved. I couldn’t do this without him

And my grandmother has been the biggest help – playing with MM and helping to keep him in good humor, watching him while I was in the hospital and helping to make sure I rest, even if I don’t want to. We’ve also had this wonderful opportunity to bond and spend some quality time together like we haven’t been able to since I was living with her in high school. My grandmother helped raise me and it’s been so amazing to watch MM with her – he is very lucky to have this time with her and we are going to miss her a lot when she leaves.

And I’m doing pretty okay, too. I’m told by Dan and my grandmother that I look great, I’m healing well and look how wonderful I’m doing. And maybe they’re just saying that, but it’s still nice to hear. I feel great. We’re dead tired and not without our complaints, but we’re also deliriously happy and glowing with our “new love.”

Love Thursday is the brain child of Chookooloonks. Check out her post today for more thoughts on love, and the comments section for other people playing along.

love thursday: mother love

I don’t think I understood what love was before him – what it truly meant and how powerful the emotion really was. It can be all consuming and blow you over like a leaf in the wind – but it can also just wash over you like a cool breeze, making all the crazy around you okay again. And this love – it doesn’t just go away. Even when they drive you bat shit crazy all day, whining and nagging as preschoolers seem wont to do – there are still these moments, always these moments that just erase the rest of it. It doesn’t matter because there is LOVE and it’s always there. I feel the same way about my husband, but romantic love is more complicated and harder to be sure of – it’s tough stuff and it’s just as rewarding but totally different, you know? This mother love just is – there is no doubt or learning curve – it just exists one day and you know it isn’t going anywhere. I still find it amazing that in two weeks I will be opening my heart to even more of this awesome stuff. It’s unreal.

…love thursday is the brain child of chookooloonks – read it, love it, read the comments to love some more…

love thursday: mementos, memories and marriage

the “love mug” – a favorite memento from my wedding: August 5, 2006

The centerpieces at our wedding were one of many examples of slightly non-traditional but totally us things from our wedding. We filled each mug with a bag of chocolate cake in a mug dry ingredients, a bookmark with the details of our wedding and a quote from Corinthians 1:13, and a small red (fake) rose. We wanted to combine some of our favorite things as a couple into a memorable keepsake: things like coffee, books and baking. I think most of our friends and family liked the idea but we got some strange looks and still get teased about it. Whatever, I still love the idea just like I still love him – our relationship leading up to our marriage was equally non-traditional and also made us prone to funny looks and teasing – but I still love it and him. We just work.

You can spend a lot of time trying to find The One. You may date guys who really don’t treat you that great, waste a lot of time sitting by the phone wondering when / if they will call, continue to wonder during the course of your relationships if maybe he is the one you are destined to be with. We put up with a lot of drama, and create drama where there isn’t, all in the pursuit of love. But at the end of my search, I found that love didn’t need the drama – life has drama enough – love worth sticking around for just works, no matter how cranky you get, if you gain weight, whatever – it still works. They are the other half of you – your rock – and the two of you combined is what makes it work.

I talked about this and a few other things in a post recently, The Things I Want To Teach Her, if anyone hasn’t read it but might be interested. Good stuff. For more stories, picture and expressions of love, head over to Chookooloonks, read her post and then check out other posts in her comments section.

The Things I Want To Teach Her

Apparently I’m having a baby. I mean, I know I’m having a baby but you know sometimes it just sort of occurs to you like you maybe hadn’t really really realized it before? That comes in waves for me, this understanding that in a couple months I will be a mother of two. That I’ll be caring for an infant, recovering from a birth, and that MM will no longer be an only child. I’m still scared shitless that this is all a huge mistake – that MM won’t want to be a big brother, that I’ll be losing my first baby for this second one whom I know nothing about except that she definitely has a future has a soccer player if she’s interested.

They say a woman becomes a mother when she gets pregnant – that the maternal instinct is just there. I didn’t feel that way with my first pregnancy and I largely still don’t feel that way about my second. It wasn’t until that moment, holding him for the first time, that I really got it – that I felt that love and it was real. After that it held strong and fierce, surprising me with it’s strength, as I’m sure my love for BB will be. But right now, in this moment, I am just a pregnant mother of one. So it’s weird to think about my life in the not so distant future where I will be a mother of two – I’ll have a son and a daughter.

I wonder how raising a daughter will be different than raising a son. Raising MM has felt largely natural to me – I’ve grown accustomed to his man bits and his all boy personality (though terribly sweet) and I can’t imagine anything else even though anything else is coming soon. I think about the lessons I will have to teach my little daughter as she grows up – the lessons I learned and the ones I wish I’d learned sooner. They are different from the lessons I’ll want to teach MM because, well, boys and girls are different and they have different things they each need to learn. Not like math and science and English, but life.

*

Things like, “Date less. Spend more time on non-romantic endeavors. Don’t stress out so much about, “Could this guy be the one?”” Because honestly when he is the one – you know – he does treat you right, there are no games, and while it’s not simple, it’s not rocket science either. There’s no need to search under every rock and stone – if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. At least, that’s the conclusion I’ve come to after a long, tedious search for love. There’s a quote from Juno about love that I really really… love:

“Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.”

-Mac McGuff from Juno

I remember talking to a friend of mine in college, who was already married. I asked him if he thought the boy I was dating would be The One (because married people are experts on these things) and what he said upset me at the time, but it was true. He said he didn’t think that guy was the one (he so wasn’t) because if I had to ask, then I hadn’t figured it out yet – that when you find the one, there is no more questioning. It’s “The End” but not in like a sad, depressing way, so much as, you just know. The dating scene is over, you won. That’s not the kind of thing that you can understand though if you haven’t experienced it. It causes me so much grief to see friends going through the scene – sticking with guys that don’t treat them well, under the premise that they could be the one, and what if this is meant to be, and “I think I might love him.” Because man I’ve been there. And looking at it from the other side of the game, if I could have just skipped way more than half of those failed relationships and done something else while I waited to meet Dan – I totally would have.

Things like sex. Lessons like, “Don’t give yourself away to make someone love you.” (Which if you’d told me I was doing that I’d have laughed and said, “I’m not that stupid.” But I did. And I was.) They say sex complicates things but that’s like a gross understatement. Once you get those three little letters involved in a relationship, everything gets harder. You become invested – your emotions for that person become tangled in that act that you shared, even if you didn’t intend for them to. And as a mom, I can’t help but add that having sex, no matter the precautions you take, is like saying, “I accept that a baby could result from this.” Because they do – whether you planned it or not – pregnancy happens. AIDS happens and that’s awful but pregnancy – man that’s huge. That’s life. If that guy that knocks you up doesn’t turn out to be the one, you still end up stuck with him forever – even if he isn’t physically present, the reminders are there. And when they are physically present – is that a good thing or a bad thing? It’s important. It happens.

And I mean, babies are wonderful – being a parent has been oh so rewarding. But it’s also hard – and it’s something that changes you forever. Your life is never just your own after that – you are responsible for the well being of another human and you will love them to an impossible degree, thinking about their needs and wants and happiness constantly, often more than you think of your own. It’s expensive and time consuming and all encompassing and there are no take backs. So sex is pretty huge – and it’s a pretty special thing – it’s like the biggest thing you can give someone – there’s nothing bigger than that kind of a commitment of yourself. Use it wisely.

And ohhhh body image. I don’t even know what lessons I will have to give on body image, lord knows I haven’t figured it all out. I know that society has crazy hard expectations about beauty and that you can become obsessed with perfection that isn’t real. That whole BMI thing – putting people in a little box of “should be” with no regard for their individual differences. People are not the same. They have different bodies, different diet needs, different things that work and don’t work. But they are all beautiful. Everyone is beautiful.

The important thing for me, that took me way too long to figure out – is more science than soul. It’s about what you eat, how much you eat, and what you are eating for. Activity level and why it’s important. That whole idea that the food you eat is not placed before you solely to please your palate (although it’s nice when it does). Food is the fuel your body needs to keep going – too little food or too much food leads to unhealthy outcomes. Calorie counting has helped me tremendously with this – the idea of turning it into math – this is what my body needs, this is what I am feeding it. It’s helped me so much during this pregnancy and I am so proud. And yeah I still over indulge sometimes – sometimes you need that treat – but that’s okay because calorie counting always works the next day or week when you are ready to get back on again.

Exercise is something else that I never really got until recently. Which is not to say that I’m good at it now – but that I kind of get why I should do it and how it helps. For me it’s as simple as, “Exercising more helps to make up for your indulgences. Exercise more and you can choose to eat more – or to lose more weight.” And also important is that the end goal should be realistic – it should be healthy – it should be, “I feel like I’m wearing my own skin again – I have energy to spare and I am happy.”

And no matter how much weight you lose, how short you cut your hair, what color you dye it, what clothes you wear – you will find that it will still and always be you under there. You can’t escape that – you’ll always be there. So you’d be better to learn to love you than spending a lot of time trying to change things that cannot be changed. I can’t tell you how often I’ve gone for a new hair cut or color and been so disappointed that it was still me – just me with different hair, a different outfit. Still me. I think I spent my entire teen years trying to erase myself only to wake up one day and desperately want just me back. And realizing that was one of the coolest, healthiest things I’ve ever done.

*

I don’t imagine that I’ll be able to just explain these things to her and that she’ll accept them – I know you have to learn those things on your own, but I hope that if she’s at least heard these things out loud that when she has the opportunity to get it, that she will and she’ll remember and it won’t feel so strange as it did for me, kind of figuring it out on my own. I never had that actual mother figure growing up. I had a strong web of women in my life, aunts and grandmothers and a string of step mothers, but it’s different. There are boundaries and there’s a lack of time. For the most part it was just me and my dad – who did an amazing job raising a sensible, smart girl (in my humble opinion) but you know you can’t answer every question even if you try – they might not hear you until they hear it for themselves.

I won’t be able to teach MM and BB everything – Even if I tell them verbatim all the things I’ve listed here, they still may not get it. And there will be things I’ll miss, that will seem so much more critically important to them because they will be their life lessons to learn – the things which will make all the difference. There will be things I get right and things I get wrong – things they get right and things they get wrong. And that’s fine. But if I could hand pick a couple lessons to pass on to Baby Blueberry and any other girls who haven’t figured this stuff out yet – those things up there would be the things I’d want to start with.

Then I’d put on some ultimate girl rock – an ego boost in a song – because girl power, that idea that YOU ARE AWESOME and deserving of the BEST – it’s not egotistical – most people no matter how confident they seem are not confident at least not all the time. People need an ego boost – a reminder that they rock. Because we forget. So after I spent hours or days or awkward minutes trying to express those things above to my little girl, I’d probably put on this song and be like, “This will explain everything.” And then she’d be like, “Mom you are so lame.” But seriously.

“Now That You Got It”
by Gwen Stefani

Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
What you gonna do about it? What you gonna do about it?
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
What you gonna do about it? What you gonna do about it?

Now that I’m your baby the things you promised me now I want
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
What you gonna do about it? What you gonna do about it?
All the stars I was reachin’ for you had in the palm of your hand
& if for just once I would let the
padlock on the door be open
Well, dammit, just get on over here
This better be the best thing I ever felt
My days, they better be sunny
It better be nothing but all that I want

[CHORUS]
Now that I’m your baby, the things you promised me now I want
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
If I’m really your baby then share with me your secrets & all
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
What you gonna do about it? What you gonna do about it?

I’m the raddest queen of them all
I could have anyone, so what I want?
Perfect, get it right, never wrong
So you gonna step it up? Or you gonna be gone
Not like the rest (not this), nothing is typical (ain’t nothing is typical)
This is not a test (no test), this is a for sure (it’s all gotta be for sure)

[CHORUS]
Now that I’m your baby, the things you promised me now I want
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
If I’m really your baby then share with me your secrets & all
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
What you gonna do about it? What you gonna do about it?

(Yo Gwen whatcha make ’em do?)
Well, I’d train him like a marine corps
Boot, camp, make him like a superhero (yes ma’am)
That always better be his response
Or I don’t give a dog a bone
Attention! Show me your skeletons, let’s not play games
We can be closer than sharing last names (gimme my award)
The award is a purple heart, it could be yours
If you earn that medal, yeah you could be my boy

[CHORUS]
If I’m really your baby then share with me your secrets & all
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
What you gonna do about it? What you gonna do about it?
If I’m really your baby then share with me your secrets & all
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
What you gonna do about it? What you gonna do about it?

Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
Now that you got it? What you gonna do about it?
Now that you got it, what you gonna do about it?
What you gonna do about it? What you gonna do about it?

How about you?

  • What lessons do you hope to pass onto your children?
  • What have been the life defining ah-ha moments of realization in your life?
  • What is your ultimate Girl Power anthem (or Guy Power for any male readers)?

Aloha Friday: Nothing Says “I Love You” Like Burritos and Candy Apples

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blog land anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

This weekend my husband is taking me to a new Mexican place in town. I LOVE Mexican food, especially a really good Tex Mex, but in our area those restaurants are not always easy to find, so when a new one opened up nearby, I wanted to go like immediately, but settled for, “Well how about for Valentine’s Day?” and my husband being not an idiot, said, “Sure I’ll take you out for Mexican food on Valentine’s Day.” Because you know I could have asked to go to some five star restaurant or for jewelry or something. Nope, I just want an enchilada that’s not from Taco Bell. Please and thank you.

Afterwards we’re going to to this local Candy Mansion that I’ve never been to which is absolutely absurd because it’s literally like a five minute drive from where we live and I’m pretty sure everyone in the area has been there like half a dozen times in their life, including school field trips, except me and my son (but he’s two so he totally has an excuse unlike me).

So my diet will be ruined by delicious chocolates and tex mex goodness, but I will be one happy loved lady this Valentine’s Day!

So my question(s) for you this week are:

  1. Do you have anything fun planned for Valentine’s Day? Maybe an Anti-V Day for the single ladies reading? Do you purposely ignore the day or enjoy celebrating it?
  2. If you are a Mexican food fan like myself, what is your favorite dish to order at a Mexican restaurant? Dessert?
  3. If you are a fan of candy and chocolate like myself, what is your favorite indulgence of the sweet tooth variety?
  4. How many jumping jacks do you think I’d have to do to burn off all the calories I’ll be consuming tomorrow?

Only John Mayer's Songs Can Ever Take Away This Chill

Sometimes I feel sad in the winter even when I’m happy. Nothing bad is happening – it’s like a phantom ache, the memories of winter past are enough. I can still feel that familiar pang of unwanted change – love ending, autumn ending, the first snow meaning little more than a bone numbing chill, waiting for the dorms to turn the heat ON.

When I was in college the seasons meant predictable things to me. The fall meant a brief feeling that anything could happen, but usually resulted in the knowledge that once again everything had changed without my permission. My classes were different, my schedule had to be relearned, the summer sun was cooling, and usually my relationships were, too.

By winter it was official – everything was different and in a few weeks I’d be going home where I’d sit and do nothing while I waited for the holidays to be over so my life could begin again. Spring was better – I had had my short break and I was ready to take life seriously. I’d usually pick up a new boyfriend – things would get serious. By summer we’d have been dating for months and I’d think nothing could break us. It would. Break us. But in the summer it doesn’t hurt as much. You are too busy having fun or picking up extra shifts at your summer job to worry about it – you can always have a summer fling to take your mind off things. It’s not until you get back that fall that you realize what you’ve lost. And that things went and changed again.

I’m married now and with no college courses to contend with each month feels largely like the month before with the exception of changes in weather. Getting pregnant is likely the first thing to come along in the “what’s new?” category in months (that and the fact that my son likes to sleep naked but ISN’T potty trained – that’s fun – gotta love independence).

But my point is – I’m happily married, have incredible friends, an amazing son and I’m pregnant with amazing child number 2. I’m rocking this life. But the seasons still come and my mood still drops sometimes and things feel a little empty. And when they do, John is the only thing for it. Sometimes I can ONLY deal with John – any other music is just noise. Because only John always gets it – and he always did… Even back in college, it was John I turned to with the turning of my moods…

I am driving up 85 in the
kind of morning that lasts all afternoon
just stuck inside the gloom
Four more exits to my apartment but
I am tempted to keep the car in drive
and leave it all behind

I rent a room and I fill the spaces with
wood in places to make it feel like home
but all I feel is alone
It might be a quarter life crisis
or just the stirring in my soul

from Why Georgia

I’m dizzy from the shopping mall
I searched for joy but I bought it all
It doesn’t help the hunger pains
And a thirst I’d have to drown first to ever satiate

Something’s missing
And I don’t know how to fix it
Something’s missing
And I don’t know what it is
No I don’t know what it is
At all

When Autumn comes, it doesn’t ask
It just walks in where it left you last
You never know when it starts
Until there’s fog inside the glass around your summer heart

from Something’s Missing