Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Granny panties

The days of my life before motherhood seem so far away, yet I remember.

I remember when I felt fat and hideous wearing my size 8s.  How I would LOVE to be that "fat" again.

Another thing I remember is my expansive underwear collection, most of which consisted of thongs.  In fact, my only other underwear were my "period underwear."  C'mon ladies, you know you have a pair or two.  The ones that don't make an appearance in rotation until that special time of the month comes around.   The ones you wear because you don't care what Mother Nature does to them.  Period underwear exist in the last phase of undies before they go to retirement at the county dump.

Anyway, I remember having conversations with some people (kept anonymous for their privacy) about my "gross thongs."

"How can they be comfortable?"
"Why even wear them?"

Of course, I defended my butt floss adamantly.  
"They're comfortable."
"I don't even notice them."
"I don't like panty lines."

And of course...
"I'm not wearing granny panties like YOU!"

Well, let me tell you something.  Getting pregnant was the beginning of the death of my underwear collection.  As soon as that baby bump appeared, the desire (and ability) to wear my little thongs disappeared.  In fact, I had to buy bigger undies, which was totally annoying.  I had these great preggo undies that fit my ever growing Buddha belly but sagged off my ass.  Nice.  Let me tell you how irritating that was-VERY!

Then of course, comes that lovely period post-partum where you get the wear the mesh undies that the hospital gives you to go with your phone book sized pads.  By the way, I thought both the phone book pad and the mesh undies were GENIUS!  I proclaimed that I needed them for all my periods until menopause do us part.  (I still have the mesh undies in my underwear drawer...I haven't worn them since, but I've been tempted!)

That brings us to...now.  Now, I live in underwear that I once deemed "granny-like" or only appropriate for Aunt Flow's monthly visit.


I don't know.  I just do.  Maybe those thongs weren't as comfortable as I thought (actually, that's not true, I didn't make it a habit of wearing uncomfy undies).  Or maybe I don't feel sexy like I used to.  Maybe I just don't care.  I mean, the truth is that any time a man gets to take of your underthings, he's probably looking forward to what's about to happen versus what he's throwing on the floor, right?

Sure, there are probably some moms out there right now shaking their heads in shame at me.  But I think there are probably quite a few of you out there 'amen'-ing and 'heck yeah'-ing me.

Are you nodding?  Or are you shaking, disapprovingly? 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

99 Balloons...

We survived (and enjoyed) 2 days at Sea World for A's 2nd birthday.  One perk about a 2 teacher household is that we both got into Sea World for free and Ayla did, too.  

This morning, I asked her, "Who are we going to see today?"

She replied, "Shamu."

Sorry kid, not today.  She really enjoyed herself during all the shows and whatnot, but she kept this serious face on her look at almost all times.

Except when we sang, "Happy Birthday" to her.

Isn't she just the cutest?  

Of course, being away for her birthday means that we didn't get to spend it with all the family.  We look forward to enjoying time with the grandparents and my siblings (Ayes' aunts & uncle) for a meal of spaghetti and french bread, followed by a cake made and decorated by Ti-ti Lexi.

We might go for a swim.  And of course the grandparents have some little gifts for her.  

We kept the gifts to a minimum, just a few little Target dollar items-they had a great Toy Story 3 selection (and last year she didn't get any from us if you can believe it...her big pool party was her gift) and just enjoyed the gift of her experience at Sea World.

Stay tuned for blog post #100!  This is 99...how will I celebrate my blog's 100th post day?!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Turning two...

So, in celebration of Ayla's 2nd birthday, I've decided the first thing we're going to do is turn her car seat around forward facing!


Seriously folks, unless you're new to Mama Speaks, you know I am pretty passionate about car seat safety, especially in regards to the benefits of rear-facing until 2--OR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!

I wrote about it in my wildly popular post (one of the most read out of the 97 posts prior to this one) here. I also mention it in "I'm That Mom."  My wonderful friend and fellow bloggin' mama Amanda wrote about it in her wildly popular post here.  I mention my favorite car seat links in "I Like It." 

My passion and commitment to car seat safety includes two attempts at trying to take a CPST (child passenger safety technician) course, the first of which was too far away to drive to and fro for 4 days in a row, the second canceled at the last minute due to low enrollment.

It pains me to see how people have their children secured in their child safety seats, especially those using infant seats improperly.  Over the past weekend, I attended a high school graduation.  There was a mother with her 1-2 month old baby in the infant seat with the straps all loosey goosey.  While shopping awhile before that, I saw another mom with her very young infant where not only were the straps loose, but the chest clip was down as far as it can go.  I want desperately to say something.  I want to, but I can't.  Because then the mother would question me-who am I to tell her how to parent?  It isn't like that...it just isn't.  

I've thought about my friend who has a new baby about 5 months old.  I want to ask her if she knows about extended rear-facing.  I want to ask if she is confident in her car seat installation or if she's had it checked by a professional.

I want to make bumper stickers.  Leave informational pamphlets in pediatrician's office, especially those like mine who give outdated information to their patients.

I wish there was a way to teach without stepping on toes.  A way to help without insulting.

I will say this though.  When I heard a mom saying that she was using Orajel (FDA Warns about Teething Medication) on her 21-month-old.  I asked if she'd heard that the FDA recommends against it in children under 2.  She said she talked to her doctor and her son was the right weight.  I left the conversation at that.  It is good she consulted with her physician, but I guess I just am not so trusting.  My Ayla is bigger than her little boy, and Iwill not use orajel on her.  In fact, aside from the one or two times I did early in her teething, I haven't.  I use Hyland's Teething Tablets (which are off market right now, but they offer a teething gel).  The tablets were taken off the market due to uproar about the cap (not child resistant) and the failure to disclose the amount of belladonna in the pills/inconsistent amounts in the pills. I found this explanation very helpful.  Basically, a 10 lb. baby would need to consume at least 6 BOTTLES of teething tablets to have any adverse affects from belladonna.  Now, I'm not saying that all herbal methods are safe, but I would much rather have Ayla take teething tablets than use a gel linked to deaths in children under 2.

I digress.  Sorry for the tangent, but the point is, I said something.  I think I offended the mom, which was not my intention.  I don't think any parent does things intentionally against the good will of their children, but sometimes we just don't know things.  There's plenty I didn't know.  So I just want to share.  To educate.  To help.

I'm not sure how to do that except from behind my computer screen, but for now it will have to do!

Happy Birthday Eve to my sweet girl Ayla.  By the end of the summer, I anticipate she will have hit the height limits of her current car seat.  At that time, I hope to be able to invest in this beautiful car seat (Sunshine Kids Radian XTSL-the specs are a-maz-ing).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wedding Anticipation

It is coming SO quickly.  Oh my goodness, I'm not ready!  We have a million things to do, but I'm glad we have the things we did already done.  My problem is I got some big things done early (including one move where I had to fire a vendor) which made me feel so ahead of the game.  Now I feel like I need every moment between now and October 8th to make it happen.

+Wedding dress & shoes
+Bridesmaid dresses
+Flower girl dress (1 out of 2, but have both picked)
+Ceremony officiant
+Save the Dates ordered and mostly delivered
+Invites ordered and received :)
+Wedding bands

Need to:
-Decide on bridal jewelry (working on that with a good friend who offered to make it for me)
-Get a garter (easy)
-Decide on hair/makeup for self
-Hair/makeup for bridesmaids
-Bridesmaid jewelry and shoes
-Decorations (have color scheme...have lots of ideas...but no set plan)
-Flowers (going very minimalist in that department)
-Boys tuxes chosen, just need to set up the rental 
-Ring bearer tuxes/suits
-Rent chairs for ceremony portion of the evening
-Finalize plans for beer/booze/bartending
-Finish creating our Honeyfund registry
-Working on song list (but not nearly done)
-Decide on how the ceremony will go (ideas, but nothing concrete)

We are most likely skipping out on a videographer and keeping flowers to a minimum to keep cost manageable.  We're skipping a dance floor-we figure people will understand the large open area on the floor where the DJ is set up is the dance floor.  We have some other creative ideas to help keep costs in certain areas down.

Let me just say it has slowly added up, but we have truly been afforded the opportunities that will allow us to fund the wedding.  My dad bought my dress, which was the most wonderful gesture.  Also, we had a couple of areas that worked out to our benefit in the area of our personal finances (read: no one just gave us a wad of cash) that have come at just the right times.

Our vendors are wonderful.  We are so excited to work with such talented and thoughtful individuals.

People keep asking me if I'm excited.  The planner in me is stepping on the toes of excited me.  I am thrilled!  I am so excited to be marrying my best friend, my partner, my love.  Its just the realistic part of me that needs to get the logistics figured out before I can relax and enjoy the realization that our wedding is happening.

Things I am so looking forward to:
+Seeing Brandon's expression when I walk down the aisle (I've had nightmares that I've walked down the aisle only to forget seconds later how he looked at me...weirdness).
+Walking down the aisle with my mom and dad.  They both need to be by my side.
+Having the most amazing bridal party
+Hearing each other's personal vows
+The special symbolic part of our union during the ceremony (some people do sand, some do a candle...we've got our own little thing)
+Having my sweet daughter take part in our special day as a family
+Little people: Ezra, Will, Naomi...plus all our children guests!
+The kiss!
+Dinner (our food is going to be so amazing!!)
+All the dances: first dance, daughter/father, mother/son, our family dance, dollar dance, anniversary dance, plus all the fun group dances
+Seeing so many loved ones all in the same room all at once (seriously so excited about this...so, so, so excited!!)
+Smooshing cake in B's face
+Wearing my beautiful dress and shoes (though at this point I am feeling quite anxious about how I am going to look)
+Photo presentation
+Ryan's toast

Of course there are a million little moments that will happen that will be wonderful and probably more valuable than any planned moment, but I can at least say there are a number of events during the day I am so excited about.

But the most exciting part is that I get to spend forever with Brandon.  I get to take his name and put it on the end of mine.  I'm not going hyphenated, but I will keep my last name as a 2nd middle name, just as Ayla has mine for her 2nd. Truth be told, it wouldn't matter to Brandon where or how we did the wedding.  He is just as excited as I am, but if I told him, "Let's run to the courthouse tomorrow and get married," I know he'd run with me.  A wedding is just a day, a wonderful day at that, but our marriage is what we have our lives to look forward to and growing old together.

Still...the wedding is coming quickly!

137 days to go!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

1,000 Days of Ayla

My baby is going to be 2 in four days.  Four days!  How is that even possible?  That's 730 days!  But I guess when you're 9,855 days and counting, like myself, those 730 days are a drop in the bucket of time.

They've been the 730 most important days of my life.  Add the 270 days of gestation, that brings us to 1,000 days.

1,000 days of Ayla.

I have probably 10,000 memories of those 1,000 days, but I can't imagine ever having enough time to write them all down.

Here are a few favorites...
  • When Ayla was born, I remember looking at her and thinking, "You're my baby?"  She was so puffy and swollen related to my own puffy/swollen/high blood pressure-ness, plus she looked Asian due to how that affected her eyes.  
  • When Ayla was 3 weeks old, I remember crying hysterically and telling Brandon that she was growing up too fast.
  • I'll never forget those early weeks all she wanted to do was sleep on my chest.  I wanted to hold her every moment of the day and felt so guilty if I put her in her swing or bouncy seat. 
  • When Ayla was a month old, she smiled at us for the first time.
  • Poor baby Ayla suffered terribly from constipation.  I'll never forget how sad that made me.
  • One day, we went to pick up Ayla and all of a sudden the moro "startle" reflex was gone.
  • She loved being swaddled, but she would bust out of any swaddle Brandon or I did, no matter how perfect the swaddle was (Brandon was the best).  How we loved our SwaddleMe blankets
  • When she wasn't crawling by 8 or 9 months PLUS she wasn't much into rolling from back to tummy or tummy to back, I was so worried.  Worry, worry, worry.  She didn't care for rolling, which in large part happens in babies due to the SIDS prevention "back to sleep" campaign.  (Always put your babies on their backs to sleep.  Back sleeping has been directly linked to a reduction in SIDS).  
  • Crawling around 10 months, but lots of butt scootching before that.  When she crawled, she only actively used 1 leg.  We teasingly called her other leg her "gimp" leg (no offense intended...but I can joke because I have plenty of firsthand experience with physical limitations).
  • I'll never forget going to Iowa with Ayla and showing up at people's doorsteps to surprise them.  When Ayla cried, that meant it was time to hop in the car and head to the next place.
  • A few months later, Ayla got to spend time with her great-grandfather (my gpa Leroy) and braved the 30+ hour road trip, in the snow, to see him before he passed away.  She was the best traveler, but she cried after every pit stop (we took frequent stops for stretching and diap changing). 
  • Ayla's first birthday was a fun day.  She swam, she was surrounded by friends and family, and she destroyed the giant cupcake that her Ti-Ti made for her!
  • When we visited with B's family in Iowa the summer right after she turned one, she got to truly enjoy fireworks for the first time-she just love, love, loved them! We went when she was 2 months old, but for her back then, it was just good sleepytime. 
  • Also on that trip, she teased us with her near walking, but didn't do it until we got home (her Nana told her she better not walk while we were away!)
  • From 14 months on, Ayla has been a walker, runner, jumper, and dancer.
  • Dancing to Black Eyed Peas and demanding "Boom Boom"
  • Every new little word learned in the last almost year: Mama, Papa, Boo, Okie (Oskie), more, milk, eat, food, happy, sad, mad, angry, cry, help me, please, thank you, sorry, "lucky" (yucky), potty, pee pee, poo poo, undies, plus she knows names of colors, names of characters in books and movies (so many characters!), chick names of many foods including "chocolate bunny" and "chocolate chicken" from Easter goodies, hold me, raining, windy, sunny, book, no, yes, fine, careful, coming, let's go, sit down, get down, ready-set-go! Hug & kiss.  Nana, Gpa, Oma, Ti Ti, Den-Den, Danielle...also knows Nana's, Gpa's, Oma's, Ti-Ti's, Mama's, and Papa's "real" name.  She knows her full name (well 3/4 of it considering she has 2 middle names, she knows her first, first middle name, and last name).  I am truly amazed by the talking, asking, explaining, and expression Ayla has done and continues to get better at!!
  • Ayla likes to tease us, holding out a snack for us to take a bite of and then snatching it away at the last second.
  • Recently, Ayla was chasing Boo around the house with her toy lawn mower and laughing.  Another day, she was just running after Boo laughing and snorting.  Yep, she snorts like her mama.
  • Snuggles and hugs and kisses and rocking while reading books at night.
  • The way she drags around her "Mama blanket" (aka my baby blanket that she has an exact replica of) like Linus drug his blankie around.
  • When I had a migraine, I told her "Mama's sick," to which she responded by kissing my head and saying, "Better!"
  • Her newfound love for Toy Story 3, Shrek 4, and her non-stop coloring (with her left hand...and right once in awhile).
  • Back a handful of months ago, she sat on the potty with no success.  When we went to get a diaper, she stood in the corner of our bedroom and peed down her leg.  When it hit her foot, she started screaming and crying hysterically, saying, "Ew, ew!"
This is just a few of my wonderful memories that come to mind of the last two years...the most wonderful and challenging and tiring and beautiful 1,000 days of my life. 

Happy 1,000 days of Ayla.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless(ish) Wednesday: Favorite things

Shrek 4 & "mama blankey"
Chocolate chip cookies...
Being cute!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Take a Tour/IKEA love!

My mom, Aunt Kari, and I went to Orlando this weekend.  One of the many highlights (they were all highlights!) of the trip was the world's fastest trip (for us) to IKEA.  We spent maybe an hour in there, which if you know us, you know our trips are hours and hours.  Many times, we'll have been there for 2 or 3 hours before we even notice how long its been!  While we were there, I purchased a set of Tripp storage tins. You see, I'm on this quest to become more organized.  The idea of organizing excites me.  If my organization was based on the number of organizing books and magazines I've read, I'd be the queen bee of organization.  But alas, I'm not.  My only regret about buying these tins is that I put away the second set I intended to buy.

 Hair ties, bows, and headbands fit perfectly in the smallest of the 3 tins in the set.
Oscar absolutely adores little plastic toys.  Dinosaurs are his favorite victims.  I recently found the missing head to one of the dinos he decapitated with his razor sharp teeth.  Dinos, birds, Little People, and various other little plastic toys have found a new home here!
I'm a huge fan of wooden puzzles.  My favorites are Melissa and Doug puzzles.  These are also a favorite chew item for Oscar, so they all have a safe home in the largest tin.  Plus, this keeps the pieces from magically disappearing.  You know, when you have a puzzle and all but one piece?

I love IKEA.  I really, really, really do.  What I never realized was how many IKEA items have found their way into our home.

Like the Expedit multipurpose shelving/bookcase/cubby system I purchased about 2 months ago.
 There's a lot going on right now.  During Sunday's IKEA trip, I purchased 4 cloth bins to organize things in.  Plus, I didn't want this beautiful piece to turn into a hot mess.  Right now, it is home to some items on a temporary basis.  The food, due to piss ants.  The VHS tapes, due to the fact we haven't been to Oma's house to take them to her.  Also, There are some other odds and ends (tupperware containers and oodles of books) that are in process of being relocated.  
*Note: We have SO MANY books.  Ayla's.  Ours.  And if Ayla gets nothing but books for her birthday, we'd be good with that!*

We also got many decorative touches for Ayla's (unfinished) room, including this awesome rug!

Notice the huge pile of books on the floor by the rocking chair?  Yep, that's just a few of them.  I found a great magazine rack for the ones in rotation for bedtime that I think I'm going to order for Ayla's birthday.  It got great reviews-and I take a lot of stock in the reviews I read before purchasing.

We also got these great curtains to go with the multitude of colors in her room's "theme."
 Not the best lighting, but here they are in action!

And then there's the duck wall storage.

And the car rug...

Did we stop at IKEA children?  No!  We got a couple cute pillows.

And a step stool.
 It needs to be stained or painted somehow.  Summer project?  Also, the floors in our mudroom/kitchen are terrazzo, but they are badly discolored/have cement junk stuck on them.  We are hoping to tackle a flooring project (cheap) and create some storage options in our mudroom as well this summer. 

There's a cute picture/card holder in our hallway.
We had an awesome wall drying rack until someone (we have a good idea who) broke into our house again, didn't steal anything, but decided to break it off the wall, causing irreparable damage to the metal frame.
 Don't mind the laundry room garbage can (with the holiday bag sticking out of it).  Its just there to hold up the broken rack.  Sad face.

Even though we own reusable grocery bags, we always forget them.  So we end up with a surplus of plastic grocery bags (which we reuse as bathroom trash can liners).  Good thing this was only $1.99.
Crooked?  Yep.  Needs to be rehung.

We got two great bathroom rugs for Ayla's bathroom.  One is round with a cute little hippo on it, which goes with our jungle animals theme, but I couldn't find a pic anywhere.  However, I did get this cute orange one for $3.99.  

Also...have a cool rug for our entryway.  I think it was $1.99.
Can you tell I like color?  Lots of it!

And last but not least, our beautiful curtains in our living room and dining area were made from fabric from IKEA by my BFF Ette's mom.  
 Bad lighting.
They are so beautiful!  We maybe paid $5.99 a yard, which means our curtains (very large ones at that) not only cost us less than traditional curtains, but also they turned out WAY cuter!

IKEA is just plain awesome.  I love that we can slowly make improvements to our home and it doesn't cost us a fortune, plus it reflects our more modern style.  (If you can believe it, these aren't the only items we own from IKEA.  We also own their little broom/dustpan combo and an art easel with chalkboard on one side, whiteboard on the other, plus it has a spot for a roll of paper that comes up from underneath).

I can't wait for an encore shopping trip!  We are on a seriously tight budget, but a little at a time we have been able to accumulate products that we think are great quality and value and that make our lives better, cuter, and more organized.
*I was in no way compensated to endorse/promote IKEA.  But if they ever decided to give me a home makeover or even a shopping spree, I wouldn't be able to say no.

Edit: How could I forget my owls?!?!?!?!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ayla's Antics

Happy Sunday!  This morning I am prolonging the inevitable chore of getting dressed for my fun, busy day ahead.  My Aunt Kari is in town, so her, my mom, and I are going to go see John Edward (psychic medium) in Orlando.  Luckily, my bridesmaid dresses came in for my girls this same week, so we are picking them up for my 2 girls (sister and future sis-in-law, who will be getting married 5 months and 2 days after us).  It wouldn't be an Orlando trip without an IKEA stop, so we'll be going there.  (My aunt has never been!  Eep!) Then, after our show, we will be going to Ming Court for some Chinese/sushi.  Sadly, it will be farewell to my aunt (her name Kari means "pure of heart"-so fitting), as she will be returning home to Iowa.

We've spent a ton of time together this weekend, and we've all especially enjoyed Ayla's antics.

Ayla's Antics
Ayla loves all shoes, but these were some of her favs at Payless.
  • Putting on everyone's shoes and walking around the house.
  • Counting: "Two, free, four, six!"
  • Running laps around the house
  • Dancing wildly to Black Eyed Peas, as well as "Freak Out" from Toy Story 3
  • Her obsession with "Jessie" (meaning Toy Story 3) and "Shrek" (meaning the final Shrek movie, which I think is just weird)
  • "Chocolate bunny.  Chocolate chicken." Thanks Oma Gaby for the Easter basket of crack.  Ayla is so sad we made it through the chocolate critters (painstakingly one at a time over a period of a couple weeks).
  • Going from person to person giving them hugs and/or kisses
  • "Kari, Kari!" she said as we arrived at my mom's house each time
  • My sister's boyfriend (whom I shall call Edward for privacy reasons) really threw her for a loop.  She wanted to lay with her Ti-ti in bed to watch a movie, but she kept telling Edward, "In, in."  I think she meant she wanted in the bed, so he could have assumed then (based on her logic) that she wanted him out.  Haha!
  • Yanking her hair out.  She will put up with having her hair fixed until she's over it.  Then she YANKS it out.  Yanks.  "Off," she says.
  • "Lub you too."  My favorite phrase ever.  She has been saying "Lub-oo" for quite some time, but now it is sounding so much more like big people words than baby talk, plus she's added in the "too" for extra proof of her growing up.
I can't believe that in just ELEVEN days, my "baby" will be 2.  Her long, long legs with the perfect mixed baby complexion and her vast vocabulary are a far cry from the baby we brought home who kept us up all night and slept all day for pretty much the first 365 long days of her life.
 I know I've said it before, and I will say it again...I love her so much.  She's my world!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Run Forrest, run!

This is my bridge.  My "run your ass off" bridge.  My mom got started walking it the summer Ayla was born.  I went with her on and off, but I got out of doing it when I got back to work that Fall.  Too tired, unmotivated, etc.

Well, I'm baaaaack.  5 months until our wedding.  When I weighed in on Saturday, I was at 154.8.  I had to go back on Sunday to make sure it was true!  I've been trying to get below the 155 mark, which hasn't gone so well.  I kicked off my whole weight loss with Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.  It went great-I didn't feel deprived after the first few days of adjusting to life without my love, carbs.  I lost about 6-7 lbs, but as soon as Phase 2 began (reintroducing 1 carb at at time over a period of weeks), I fell off the wagon.  I tell you what, that first piece of bread was my gateway carb!

Now I am just watching my calories on MyFitnessPal, which is a pretty rad website.  Yep, I said rad.  80s child.  I am also back on the bridge.  Trying to run my ass off.  Not actually my ass, I'd like to keep that, but my belly and all that jiggle I've got from my head to my toes.  I've got about 25 lbs to go, and I honestly don't know if I'll make it.  I don't really think I will, but I've also come to the point where every pound I lose will be a victory.  

I'm pretty proud of the fact I am interval running.  I can be (and have been) legally disabled, but I am pushing myself.  I am able.  Less able than some...but able!  Some days are harder than others, but I am doing it.  I feel like I am representing what's possible for RSD patients.  I don't intend on becoming a marathon runner or winning running races, but I am fighting against the body I have that I don't want.  I don't want to be a fat bride.  I don't want to get pregnant again and be at a greater risk for pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes.  

The hardest part of my weight loss journey to admit is that I weigh more now than the day I left the hospital.  Not by much, but still a good 4-5 lbs heavier.  I put on around 13-14 lbs after leaving the hospital.  Poor eating habits/putting myself last plus Zoloft plus relative inactivity are to blame for those pounds.

So I run.  And when I think I can't go any further, I run some more.  I run until my arms are numb-an unpleasant side affect of having RSD (poor circulation).  When I'm done running, my reward of endorphins make me remember a bigger reason to run.  I feel healthier, I feel happier, and I feel strong.  It takes me back to the days when I worked out 5 days a week, at least an hour a day.  When I was chosen to demonstrate stretches for a poster at the campus gym.  (I have to admit, I was a total gym rat, and I loved it!)

For now, I will run my ass off.  Five months from now, I hope to report back and say I've gotten to my goal.  But even if I didn't, I'm guessing I'll still be going.  For my heart, for my future babies, and for a chance to wave hello to the cute dolphins that are my view from the bridge.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pedicure...white sandy beach...drink with umbrella...just keep swimming...

Do you ever have one of those days (weeks...months?) where you feel like you have nothing left to give?

Like you're running on E?  Like you're running miles on the hamster wheel, going nowhere fast?

Ever feel like every corner you turn something is waiting for your attention, be it a task, someone who needs something, or a bill that needs to be paid?

You have a mama meltdown, then 16 hours of sleep...only to feel even more exhausted than before?

Where you just want to cry or scream.  Or cry while screaming?

Or binge eat chips and chocolate for hours on end? 

I'm trucking along, but I feel like if everyone around me could lend me some of their patience (and an extra hug or two) since mine is hanging by a thread, that'd be great. 

I am so happy that Ayla gave me extra hugs and kisses today.  And shook my hand, saying, "Mee-show!" (As in, "Nice to mee-show [meet you]!")

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Mother's Day Surprise

My Mother's day involved a very cranky, no-nap-taken almost two-year-old.  Oy vey! She felt it would be more fun to run around the pool than to go swimming in it.  However, she was very well-behaved for our much-too-long wait at IHOP, for less than amazing food.  The family at the table next to us, who yelled at the kids and threatened them for doing very typical kid things while bored and waiting (horsing around at the table, very mild horsing mind you), pointed her out to the 5-year-old saying how well-behaved she was being.  Of course, that prompted her to start throwing things on the floor and demanding to be held.

Anyway, my mother's day was mostly good, although getting into a fight with my mom is on the bottom of my list of things I hoped to have happen today.  I got to sleep in yesterday, and I really slept.  I mean, I went to bed Friday night at midnight, and I didn't get up until 4:00 pm on Saturday.  That is SIXTEEN hours of sleep.  Wow!  I suppose after my mama meltdown and constant high level of stress lately, it was much needed.  Today, I woke up to the sweetest cards a mama could ever hope for (I'm a sucker for cards...buy me nothing, so long as you get me a card with a thoughtfully written message in it) and a sweet Ipod nano.

Later on this evening, after visiting with Nana (my mom) and my family, as well as visiting Oma (B's mom), we arrived home.  There was a bouquet of flowers in front of the door!  Turns out, Brandon's mom sent me the flowers with a sweet note, which brought on tears for the 2nd time today (the first time being my sweet card).

Ayla had a special surprise for me as well.  She pooped not once, but twice.  Then, after we read some stories together, she insisted, "Rock, rock," which is nothing new.  As we were rocking in the rocking chair, she looked at me by the glow of her angel nightlight, leaned forward, and...


Mid-bite, I screamed, "AHHHHHHHHHH!"  Thank God she stopped.

You have to understand my child has never had a real close relationship with my ta-tas.  She nursed quite poorly, which led to the breastfeeding/mastitis fail of this first infancy.  However, she is quite intrigued by my ta-ta's.  If she sees me getting dressed, she says, "Hello boob."  Not to mention the time she crushed my nipple while climbing on me in bed.  She had a good time saying, "Nipple, nipple," much to my dismay (and her father's amusement).  But this goes down in boob history.  I guess she thought it looked nice and soft to bite?  I'm not quite sure...

She jumped when I screamed, and she immediately knew her experiment had gone awry.  I asked her, "Do we bite?" to which she replied, "No, no.  Sowwy."  I told her to give me a hug.  Her new thing is to show that she knows yes and no by nodding or shaking her head while saying something. 

Mama: "Do you know who we are going to see today?"
A: "Oma!"
Mama: "No, we're going to see Danielle."
A (nodding): "Danielle."
A (shaking no): "Oma."
A (nodding): "Danielle."
A (shaking no): "Oma."

Tonight's demonstration of opposites (yes and no) went like this:
A (nodding): "Hug."
A (shaking no): "Bite." 
A (nodding): "Hug."
A (shaking no): "Bite."  

I had to keep myself from laughing, and I made sure she recognized me whole-heartedly agreeing with her demonstration, shaking my head vigorously and making the "mean mama" face when she said "biting."

To all the mamas out there and all the women in my life who will someday be mamas, I hope you had a wonderful mothers day full of sweet cards, pancakes, and hopefully ta-tas safe from the dangers of biting.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day

Tomorrow marks my 3rd mother's day.  My first mother's day, I was 9 months pregnant and ready to pop.  My second mother's day, I was getting ready to watch my baby smash her first birthday cake. Now, here I am with a toddler ready to turn two and celebrating (?) having Oscar the Boston Terror for a whole year.

For me, I have two things that I love about Mother's Day. 
#1. I love that I have such an awesome mom that I am blessed to talk to on a daily basis who has taught me everything about everything.
#2. I love that I GET to be a mom.  For years, I watched people around me get pregnant and have babies...and I figured it would always just be a dream for me.  I never truly thought I would fall in love with someone so great and become mama to such a sweet little girl.

This is one of the first images I got to see of sweet baby Ayes.  This ultrasound was done at 10 weeks pregnant.  After seeing the images of Ayla, my mom nicknamed her "acorn" since we didn't know if she was a boy or girl, but one image it looked like her head had a little acorn cap on top.  The rest is history.  Later on, in January 2009, we found out our little acorn was indeed a girl, which is good since we already had her name picked out (but if she was a boy, we'd still be deciding!)

My mom is pretty amazing.  She is my hero and my best friend.  She has gone through more in life than most people do, yet she has come out on the other side of all her tragedies and struggles with such grace and humor.  We talk every morning.  We walk the bridge together.  We go couponing.  We also fight and bicker, but it never lasts long.  

When I had baby Ayla almost 2 years ago, she was there.  All night the night before she was born.  She camcorded the birth.  She told me, "She's almost here," until I insisted she stop.  She watched over me as I got stitched up, while Ayla got cleaned up.  And the second night in the hospital, when I hadn't slept in well over 24 hours, she insisted that I let her take care of Ayla so I could sleep.  She stayed because Brandon had to go back to work.  In the dark moments of exhaustion and stress that night, she brought me back from the edge.

When we finally got to come home, she went to Walgreens and got me all kind of post-baby supplies that I needed, including ice packs and a donut balloon for my unbearable cracked tailbone.  She brought them to me that very night, along with photos of the day Ayla was born.  

When I stopped eating out of stress and exhaustion, she brought me and Brandon Toojay's.  When we hadn't seen days of sleep, she came over with my sister so Brandon and I could nap.  

She convinced me to try on the wedding dress I'd been eyeing for months.  

She has always encouraged me to write, to tell my stories. 

She has stood by my side throughout my life when everyone else so easily turned away from me.

And she makes me laugh, my oh my, how she makes me laugh.  Let's just say that there have been many moments of inappropriate laughter shared between her and I.  

Thank you to my mom in more ways than I'll ever be able to put into words.

And thank you Ayla, for making me a mama.  Everything I do, I do for you.

"Your little hands wrapped around my finger
And it's so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter 'cause you're dreaming
So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light

To you, everything's funny
You got nothing to regret
I'd give all I have, honey
If you could stay like that

Oh, darling, don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darling, don't you ever grow up, don't you ever grow up
It could stay this simple

I won't let nobody hurt you
Won't let no one break your heart
No, no one will desert you
Just try to never grow up, never grow up"
-Taylor Swift, "Never Grow Up"