Sometimes He thinks I may not notice

My husband is a saint. At the most, one month from today, we’ll be parents.  I thought I’d take the time to thank him out loud, since in a month we may get a little busy with this baby…

Thank you for putting together every piece of crib and stroller and baby gear that came into the house. I still think Ralph thinks that his canine life is much improved by a stroller, and Penny still wants that stuffed owl we bought for herself, but we’ll all learn to share together, won’t we?

Thank you for making a nursery with me that makes me feel like we put together something so completely our personality that I couldn’t imagine our little kiddo starting off anywhere else more perfect. We have always said that we find “home” within each other,  and his room is the embodiment of that belief.

Thank you for every time you told me I wasn’t fat, I was pregnant. and for calling me – dare I say it here – “sexy”, because Lord knows when you can’t put on your shoes, the last thing you feel is desirable. Thanks for telling me my grey hair looked like highlights, and that I never needed make up.  Feeling like a science experiment takes a toll on my confidence, and you were always there to pick me up.

Thank you for washing every single solitary teensy piece of clothing that came into our house. I have no idea how our kid will ever wear all of it, but goodness knows, he’s prepared to!

Thank you for every date night that we went on. Those last adult-nights-out are precious and memorable. I know we’ll try to maintain that in this next stage, but continuing to date you through our marriage means a ton to me.

Thank you for coming to every.single.solitary.doctor’s appointment. Thank you for being amazingly involved in the care of our kid. Thank you in week 6 when I thought we were losing him, for saying repeatedly that everything was going to be okay – and it was. You never faltered even when I thought it was all over. Thank you for your faith – it’s unreal.

Thank you for every bit of support when we decided to switch doctors in the 32nd week. I know you couldn’t help as much as you wanted, but being there and telling me it didn’t matter what it cost and that we were doing the right thing helped me get through all that paperwork and chaos.

Thanks for killing that snake in the middle of the eighth month – and walking me out to the car in your bare feet to show me that the snake was “all gone”, you have no idea how much I cannot jump vertically and how much I would have needed to. You’re my hero for that.

Thank you for every egg and toast that you made me at 5AM when you could have slept in, so that I stay on track with my gestational diabetes diet. Then, right behind that, thank you for every lunch where you detailed out to me what lunch and snack and thing I was eating to make sure my blood sugar stayed where it needed to be – especially since towards the end, putting lipstick on seemed to be a massive task.

Thanks for the massages when I needed them – especially since you have aversions to toes. Thanks for telling me to sit when you could help me with something, thanks for helping me off the couch when I felt like a turtle stuck on it’s back.

Thank you for all of the advice on how to deal with people who only saw me as a pregnant thing. Thanks for asking how I was doing, thanks for still seeing me as a wife and a friend and a numbers person and a volunteer, thanks for making me feel human, instead of a human incubator.

Thanks for tying my shoes. Holy mother that got hard. And thanks for that compression sock application – I’ll never forget it.

Thank you for supporting my want to get back into shape as soon as possible by indulging me in every thought I had about gym equipment, memberships, corsets, programs, diets and the like. But thank you more for never making me feel like I “had” to for you to love me, but only because you knew that’s what I wanted for myself.

Thank you for putting up with every tear and emotional break that I had – we both know it’s far more than most husbands with pregnant wives put up with – and you did it with such grace. You have no idea how much it means to have a partner who doesn’t hold a grudge and who genuinely wants to become better so we are better as a whole. You continue to be my best friend, who I can share everything with – and that’s a rare person in this world.

Thanks for hiking things back and forth and up and down, out of attics, to and from storage facilities, and from every shop in between to help us get every tiny thing imaginable needed for our little unimaginable tiny thing! I know he and I appreciate all the sweat equity you have put in.

Heck, thanks for just listening to me babble about every aspect of whatever it is that I had to say that day. Sometimes just being heard was all I needed. I know you wanted an instructional manual on how to deal with a hormonal chick, I swear one day I’ll write one, but you did the best you could.

I know I missed a million small and big stuff in between the fog of these last 35 weeks, forgive me for not noticing all of them, there are too many things to count, but not one of them should have been missed – I know as soon as I hit publish on this piece, I’ll remember 12 more.

You are going to be an amazing Dad, thank you for being the man that I want our son to be. (and thanks for sharing your name.)

and most importantly, thank you for loving me and even considering this adventure with me. I have dreamed of this moment for more than 15 years, and it’s absolutely surreal to me that you and I are here, and it’s happening. I know we’ll love this baby more than we can ever imagine, but I couldn’t even do this, if I weren’t in love with you more than I could have ever dreamed of.

Posted in Parenthood | Leave a comment

Books for my Kid

Sorry, I know. Sorry I’m not sorry. It’s been such a whirlwind that I don’t even know how to start saying “I’m still here”. That said, I’m still here.

I know these were on my list for quite awhile now as a to-do. And today I’m proud to say, they are done and on his bookshelf (with copies stored virtually when I know pages will be mutilated by little hands).

That said, I’m pretty proud of them. I’d love your feedback. Click to see them!

1Capture 2Capture 3Capture 4Capture 5Capture

Posted in Parenthood | Leave a comment

The Value of an RSVP

This weekend my husband and I hosted a party. Every year for awhile now, he’s hosted a shin dig to celebrate the end of school. This year we got out ahead of things, sent out a Save the Date, and then checked in later. All told, Facebook announced that we’d have 28 guests, and 16 tentative guests. When you add in spouses and kids, I expected a full house of 45 people this weekend.

Imagine the shock and awe when 9 adults and 3 children showed the entire Open house time from noon to 8:30. (We were “open til midnight” but closed the doors after enough absence.)

Now that we’re expecting, I find myself sounding like a parent (or better, my parents) more and more. Namely, after this, I’ve been hearing “Respect others.”, “Spend your time where it’s valued” and “A penny saved is a penny earned” are ringing in my ears. Or as I type this, my dad’s saying “Lesley, I’m not made of money.” also rings true.

I spent about $300 on food alone for this party. I won’t mention the mountain of alcohol. or the AC that was running crazy cool, or the lights and other stuff you should be doing if you’re hosting a party with keeping your guests comfortable in mind.  Fine. It’s money. It’s a gamble.

What’s not a gamble though, being the number geek, is watching 28 people dwinded to 6. Or the after effects, which were me wondering what we did wrong, or if I’d ticked off someone. It specially stung as I watched other friend’s (in real time during the down time of our own shin dig) wall’s fill up posting their pictures of their night out on facebook – which was going on in-tandem less than 2 miles from our house, those who had RSVP’d in fact.

What I’ve come to realize now, Facebook may not matter in terms of RSVP. In fact, hitting “going” may really only mean, “I care to know about this, but I still have every right to not go, since the internet cloak keeps me safe” – i.e. like most correspondence, it means much more when you do it face to face rather than via the interwebs.

All I can say now is that I’m hurt. I’m even sorry to the guests who came thinking it was going to be a jovial night out. We made the best of it, but it’s sad to me that we care so little about each other’s time and resources that we could care less what we tell them. 

Moral of the story: for now, parties will be few and far between. I’ll invite friends to dinner over the phone or in person. I’ll start realizing who my friends are, I have a little one coming anyway, and it’s time to be strict about who I want my kid to model themselves after.

Sorry for the downer post. Just tired of the realization. Makes you wanna start all over elsewhere.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It takes a Village to be more than a Mom

I consider myself a realist, if not even veering off into pessimist at times. I don’t like “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best” as it’s an emotionally exhausting way to be, but I naturally do it because I’m an anxious person.

I recently posted that I wasn’t sleeping well to facebook and had immediate responses from several moms telling me that I should “just get used to it.” Implying that lack of sleep would be “all I get” when the baby is here.

Ever the person who remembers that people are icebergs – wherein 90% of their mass (emotions) lie below the surface. It annoys me to no end that my sleep deprivation had to do with anxiety attacks and nothing to do about being a mom. In fact, I’m a mom right now, but I’m not only a mom.

Lately though, it’s everything I can do to keep chanting what Amy Poehler writes so poignantly about other mothers in her book Yes Please!. “Good for her. Not for me.”

I’m trying to pick myself up, and it feels like I’m alone sometimes. I can’t help but deal with the weight gain and the fact that I’m giving up my “status” at work as able to stay late or come in early or to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Sure, I’m giving up plenty of things that I used to have, and may never or won’t have for some time coming. Disposable income. Size 6 dresses. Late nights out of dancing.

I want to be a mom more than anything, and I’m happy to give up those things, but I’m not thrilled about people reminding me what a hopeless, lifeless, lifelong, death march motherhood apparently is. I have a hard enough time with my current state dealing with day to day. I realize when a child gets here I will have no sleep, no sex drive, no social life, nothing – but perhaps it’s more I won’t have that in the “same way” that I used to.

I will have a whole new normal to adjust to – and I’m excited about that.

I’m excited that I will get a fresh start on parents who become friends who go to day care and understand the woes of first time mommy hood. I am excited that my husband and I have to change our schedule of everything up partially because we are so comfortably in a rut now that I love it, but I could see any routine getting stale after a year or two. I’m excited that I will be up for hours with my son, because I realize in ten years, or even five, that moment will be gone, and something else will replace it.

I knew this is what I’ve wanted since I knew what motherhood was, and spent many years crying tears watching my exhusband go through his medical struggles, accepting we would never have kids. Then I went through four years of what was the most ignorant relationship and self esteem murder I could have put myself through. But I did that all with good reason – because those experiences placed me where I am now. The fact that I’m even here, let alone over the moon with my husband who made this child with me, I can’t even imagine that I’m here. I just can’t. I often  ask Ray if the baby is still in there. Because it’s just amazing to me. Shocking even.

I got everything I ever wanted and never thought I could have. You can’t BUY this. You can’t even EARN it. Ray said that the other day – we were just meant to be – there’s nothing I could have done to get me here. There’s no way I’m going to spit in the face of God’s plan and be made to feel shitty about it.

It’s heartbreaking to me to have mom’s tell me how little sleep, and how horrible their lives have become. It hurts me for their own children’s sake. I know I’m probably sounding like the biggest and naive-st freshman out there when it comes to all the knowledge that these moms have and that I haven’t experienced it yet. I know that I will have puke on my dress, or that my child will get sick, or that I will forget the concept of sleeping in or what being “put together” even means.

I knew the whole time what I was getting into. I know it’s going to be hard. I’m tired of being told by others that the only thing I am is a Mom. Nope. I’m not. I’m a wife. I’m an analyst. I’m a band booster. I’m a oil and gas group member. I am a swing dancer. I’m a crafter. I’m a friend. I’m a daughter. I’m a photographer. I’m many things. I know Mom will be the title that requires the most work, but I’m tired of that being the only thing that I am, as it’s not the only thing that defines me.

If I want my child to be “all the things”, I need to maintain being “all the things” with my child. We forget that we’re still other things other than moms. We have husbands. We have fashion wants. We have body issues. We have interests. We have jobs. We have aspirations. Those things didn’t die just because we added something amazingly massively life changing to the mix, they just got reallocated. They aren’t gone. and guess what,there are ways to join kids in! I swear to God I know there’s a way to have it all. I’m hell bent on making sure I get it. Life is too short, too big, and too amazing to go around wearing one label for the rest of my life.

Why can’t we all work together and do that? Why do we spend our time doling out the pessimistic advice and tearing down those who we could be using to lift us up?

I guess in the end, if I have to be the lifter of the doom cloud, is that why don’t moms lift each other up? I mean, I have so many mom friends. but very few of them seem to want to actually gather together as a force to be reckoned with. I don’t want someone to be naive and in denial about what I’m about to journey in on, but whatever happened to “Yes! Those hours of missed sleep suck! What can I do to help!” …..or “Let’s meet for a playdate so you don’t feel alone and we can vent and destress while our kids get exercise!”….or “Hey! Nice new stroller, let’s go do squats and grab a smoothie while pushing them because lord knows I want to get postbaby body a little more managed!”….instead it feels like we retreat to our corners and lose sight of the idea that it “takes a village”. I don’t care how tired I am. I don’t. I can’t have a plan, because planning is a futile exercise – but I do have a goal. and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let my child watch me not achieve what I want to. Not at their expense, but finding our own way to do it all. One of the few things I want to make sure they do is learn how to get the things they want by using what they have and that what they want, no matter how massive or outside the lines it seems, is achievable.

Instead of treating me like the new kid to a school and banishing me to eating by myself at lunch, what if we took just a bit of time to remember the positive, to lift each other up in such a time of uncertainty. Remind each other what an amazing gift life is – whether your a Mom or not. Every day we get to live on this Earth is a gift. Share that. Remember that. OWN IT. Quit telling me I need a lack of sleep to earn my stripes – remember that this stripe can’t be earned. This is fate where I am. Deal with it.

Posted in Parenthood | 1 Comment

To my Son, Love your Mother.

I’m writing this even though I’m not even late yet. But for those of you who know me, you know that I just couldn’t wait to write, but I had to wait to post. So, walk back with me about 3 months will ya?

Actually just me, your Mom, found out about you on January 19, 2015.

I remember peeing on the stick on a fluke.  I was already doing ovulation predictor kits and let’s just say the month was a bust. They were these “fancy” kind of tests that were supposed to tell you when your “sort of fertile” days as well as your “very fertile” days were.

Admittedly, they just completely wreck your need to pee in the morning. Get up, open a test while hopping up and down needing to go (RIGHT NOW!) and then of course, you sit there and pray to Jesus that it flashes (sort of) or is static (very!) and then you have to figure out how to be romantic that

evening without feeling forced, or tired, or somewhat hopleess with that what-if-something’s-wrong-and-I’m-never-gonna make this happen, feeling.

They say that, on average, it takes three months to make a baby. Well, you were bang, spot-on three months. Way to not frazzle my nerves too much. I will say though, back to that fluke peeing on a stick moment….I blinked when I saw the two lines that indicated pregnant.

I took the test because I figured, my temps were up, and the box was there, and why not? I have no idea why. It was three days before I would even be late. It wasn’t even a time I should have been considering

I was pregnant, since nothing that month had come up as fertile. I didn’t have the mucus, my temps were there, but odd. I was taking vitamins to help things, and I was sure they were wrecking my cycle, so I stopped them…only to realize that stopping them probably wrecked my cycle too.

Then little things started pulling at the curiosity in the back of my mind. I was really tired. My breasts were extremely tender (usually normal for PMS for me.) Then my nose was runny constantly. Then nauseous, just the tiniest bit, but not hungry like I usually am. It was just little things. Hindsight 20/20 and all, I should have known….

You’re going to be like me I think. Unpredictable and a force to be reckoned with. This little start in our lives proves it.

So there I was, staring at two lines. Then I grabbed another unused and ran it under water to make sure the line I was looking at wasn’t just a shadow.

Then I said it very succinctly, near silent, in the mirror that morning “I’m pregnant”. But I remember not wanting to smile, smiling to me meant it was true, and there were still so many unknowns and what ifs.

I posted the picture of the test I took on a website where other members could vote on the outcomes. You were 100% a positive (with one lazy “unsure” vote) according to the throngs of women who were out there. I figured 50 women weighed in, surely that many couldn’t be wrong.

After work I scrambled to the grocery store and bought 8 more tests.  I figured, back up information is power.  So, I waited a day. The next morning, I took another test.  There were those two lines again. This time, the line that indicates pregnancy is just a little.bit.pinker. So I got to work, called my doctor and they said to have a blood test done. That afternoon at the GP Doctor getting my blood done, the assistant walked in, looked at my picture and said, “Yeahhh, that’s pretty much a positive.” My heart just fluttered a bit. I wasn’t ready to believe.

It wasn’t that we didn’t want you. I wanted you so bad that I couldn’t believe it was happening. Up until now, the only feeling I can compare it to is when I got the job of my dreams and couldn’t believe they chose me.  Until you’re there on the first day sitting at your desk, it’s just not real.

But I digress. The assistant basically went on to say that those tests are over 99% accurate, and that I’m pretty much pregnant.

I took the blood test anyway.

Day three came, I took a third test in the morning, and those double lines came back with a darker venegeance. This time, undeniably, blood test still looming, I’m pretty sure you’re on your way.

Every emotion and fear and elation is running through me right now with extreme frenzied passion. Funny enough though, there’s this big coat of calm hugging me.

We got this, we got you, we’re a family.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Resolution Check: January

2015 Resolutions Let’s CHECK IN!

1) Lady being. My husband bought a beautiful couple of necklaces for Christmas and some amazing lotion! So that said, YEP! I’m doing it! I’ve also taken the time to reconnect with friends over a few lunches and have a few more scheduled in the coming weeks! While gym time has been a hard pull during the day, especially since work ramped up, I am rather failing on this. That said, Me Time, has ramped up. I’ve been spending alot of time at home while Ray works doing crafts and catching up on my tv, it’s been a major help on my stress levels to feel like I’m getting things done!

2) So, I’m dating my husband. In fact, we’re on one of those wine and paint nights tomorrow. I can’t wait. Last weekend we watched movies and made dinner. We’re trying to save some bucks, so it’s a little bit of a fun challenge to see what we can come up with. That said, the ability to get his attention for 30 minutes between work schedules and talk about the day has been amazing, and reconnecting things, and I will say, one fight this month – not too shabby. (Totally my fault though.)

3) Our family. Parenthood – will keep you posted. The puppies and wabbit however, omg good. Cuddly and loving. Penny is adamant now that she gets loved on before closing the hasps on her kennel every morning. She’s even doing me the justice of not playing the heavy gravity pull game when I tell her to kennel up in the morning. She just goes when I point, and then we’re all set. That made my day. We also made Alice more space in the garage, and this seems to have resulted in a very happy bunny! Ralph’s spent the month (unhappily) on a vet-ordered diet, and I’m happy to say he lost 1.2 of his recommended 1.5 lbs! YAY! (Doesn’t soundl like much, but that’s like telling a person to lose 20!)

4) We’re still taking a sentimental jourey. I’ve set up our Christmas card for next year. We’ve definitely had more active days than lazy days – but I’m happy to report that in a few hours, Lazy Weekend-Gate is in full effect. Sunday dinner, as well as many other home cooked ones, have us eating and having fun together. We even took up Mr. Selfridge and equally enjoy the humor and plotline. It’s nice to have an “us” things.

5) Crafts have reallllly taken over. I finished three sets of ornaments for my vintage tree, plus a tree skirt and topper to match! Plus two wreaths for the school’s Christmas Concert Silent Auction. Plus, more Christmas in January!, a handmade garland for our first real tree together this year. I also made a pillow out of an old band shirt of his that now resides in our office. Upcoming is a veneer hanging lamp and his Darth Vader inspired Halloween costume. I’ve also been putting together a journal of photos to take this year, very excited!

6) Volunteerism is still on my mind. I just completed my research and submitted the marketing package for the school’s Mulch Sale. Also in a few weeks we have the Swing Dance that I’ll be teaching lessons at for the Jazz Band. It makes me excited to give back to such a wonderful group of folks. Also, in networking news, I was able to help a great friend of ours score a job as a teacher, her talent took her all the way there though – we’re so stinking proud of her, and to be a small part of that, makes me lift up!

7) Saying No – yep, I’m learning it.I said no to a gala earlier this month – I didn’t want to spend the money on an event I didn’t think would make us over the moon. I’ve also said a big HAIL NAH to our budget – giving it a massive make over. Ray has taken serious charge on making sure we put things into the bank after last year’s wedding-honeymoon-a-thon. I’m so happy to pull together on this one. I’ve also said no to a few other appointments and needs of others to insure that I get what I need, what my family needs, etc…it’s been amazing the level of stress that gets released.

8) Scribbling – I’m so proud of myself on this. I’ve written 10 poems over the last week, which has me well on my way to the poetry collection I wanted. In addition, I completed most of the photographs for the four children’s books I’m working on – numbers, letters, months/days and color primers. I’ve already finished the numbers book, the color book is nearly complete – just a few photos to redo. The letters book is needing fully written, and then month/day book is needing all the shots. That said, this popped otu much faster than I thought it would originally. Then interestingly enough, I’ve launched a magazine idea. I was researching for a few months on digital publishing and lo and behold, I now have a team of four other writers. Day at a time, but I hope to turn out something.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Anti Pro Choice

A friend of mine asked this amazing question the other day. “Can you choose to love someone?”

So I’ll tell you my situation, which all the fine print is: it’s just mine, it’s not everyone.

On September 30th my ex left my key on my doorstep. I chose to love him for four years. No matter what he said, did, anything. I just kept pressing, pressing, telling myself, “it’s gonna work darn it”. (in retrospect, it so so so so didn’t work, why I didn’t stand up for myself and my needs earlier is beyond me.)

On October 1st, I finally threw my hands up, signed on to Match.com, after months of my mother’s nagging to do so, and that afternoon, I had an email from what would become my husband. I didn’t know it at the time, I was broken up with, over emotions, tired of dating.

Then I met Ray.

(cue the sap music, and then scratch that record, because seriously, this isn’t lovey dovey flowery bs truth, it’s the honest, gritty, truth)

It JUST happens.

I didn’t ever talk about love or marriage with Ray. In fact, I told him I loved him first. and he answered walking out the door (I told him after he was leaving for work and was being a wussy by just “throwing into the goodbye)…and his response was “mmHhhmm.”

I remember as the door shut my whole heart CAME.OUT.OF.ME.

MHHMMM!?!? What on EARTH?

all day, friends and I commiserated that it was all over, I had committed a relationship sin, and there goes everything, despite how perfect it had been.

But then he got home that evening, and against all friend’s advice to shut up if I wanted to save things and pretend nothing happened, I sat down and said, “Yeah, I said I loved you this morning, and you didn’t, so what’s up with that?”

Ray didn’t act shocked. He just said, “Lesley, that mmhmm, means Me Too. I figured you knew I loved you a long time ago.” Despite all my esteem issues and never-wanting-too-assume attitude, he was right, basically from day one, he acted like he loved me, and treated me as such.

That lesson has stuck with me forever. Not that it has to happen from day one, but it does have to happen fairly quick. and the lesson of it all is, if you’re acting like you love them, and it’s just assumed – no matter how good or bad or critical the situation is – then it’s love.

If you have to constantly feel like you have to entertain someone, show them your talents, make sure they know your’e in the room, try to accept who they are, try and like what they like, constantly stress about whether or not it’s working —
then it’s not working. and it’s not love.

You do not choose to love someone. You love someone you have chosen to spend your life with. Ray and I have both said that we could have ended up with other people, it’s entirely possible to love other folks in a lifetime. But, the time you have, that’s finite, and you have to spend it wisely. So when you’re choosing who to spend your time with, then you need to be with people you love.

I can’t explain properly how I just knew, or how love was really, truly love when I met Ray, and that it makes me think I never knew what it was all along. So I’ll skip the romantic equation, and just say, it made sense, it never caused work, I just looked up one day and I was here and we were married.  Neither one of us ever questioned if this was it. It just was.

So, I’m Anti Pro Choice love, I’m Pro Life Happens.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment