So, I’m a Mom. and I’m still more.

Remember when I wrote this lovely little ditty amidst a passionate need to make sure the world knew I’m still me?

Welp…I survived birth, but more difficult, I survived Maternity Leave. Kudos to Stay at Home Moms. “Good for you, not for me”…I cannot go 8 hours a day without intelligent adult conversation. I can’t. I know that I could probably take on Stay at Home-ness if I had to, and find play groups that would help this need, but I realized that as much as I adore my kid to bits and pieces, I need more than motherhood to keep myself sane.

There’s some lovely stuff though when you’re on maternity leave that folks asked…

“Aren’t you breastfeeding?” (upon seeing me make a formula bottle)…nope, I’m not, I did for 6 weeks, and then my kid basically screamed bloody murder despite diet changes every time I gave him my milk. He has Zantac and Colic Drops and Formula now, and I assure you his pain is everyone’s (including his own) gain, because he can sleep and get rest and enjoy life.

“How are you ever going to put him into daycare?”…drive him and drop him off. I love my kid, I want to be around him alot, but not 24/7. I want him to learn independence and social skills, the likes of which he won’t get with me being a helicopter parent. I need him to learn to be around other adults as well as kids, and quite frankly, a little “controlled” germ exposure may not hurt either – God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt.

“Are you able to focus on work now that you’re back?” – YOU BETCHA. and guess what, when I go home I’m TONS more excited to see my kid, because the guilt of “I’m on maternity leave and I should be bonding affectionately with my child constantly instead of trying to do chores or get rest” is gone. I go home and it’s like “MOMMA TIME!! LETS DO THIS!” and for whatever reason, my brain is tons more well rested after a day of work – I can focus on fun and silliness much better.

Fact is, I’m going to make a conscious effort to stop the guilt, and it’s been paying off. I’ll be adding going back to the gym, buying myself stuff as my budget permits, and taking some couple and me time. It’s been an adjustment, but my life continues to be my own, even after that precious baby came out.

Yep, lots of stay at home parents where we’re from. Lots of them do all the right things and all the correct methods. But, guess what, so do I. Good for them, not for me. Chant it.

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16 Years. Time marches on.

At approximately 2:42 a.m. on November 18, 1999, the 59-foot high stack, consisting of about 5000 logs, collapsed during construction. Of the 58 students and former students working on the stack, 12 were killed and 27 were injured. This ended the tradition known as Bonfire on the Texas A&M Campus, and forever changed the face of the university and those who participated in it.

Wow. Another year. This post has slowly come around not only as a moemnt to reflect on the lives of my classmates lost, but also to take stock about where my life is since this event. As I sit here, I’m reflecting on the massive change my life has taken since this post last year. I know the blog has gone by the wayside – for many reasons. I need to pick it back up…once “life returns to normal”.

My son will mark completing his second month at life next week, and my husband and I just marked our 2nd year of knowing each other. Wow, that all sounds so fast, and yet, it feels like I’ve been snuggled into this spot for so much longer.

I was fearful when I was pregnant that I couldn’t love my son this much. I mean, he was a “thing inside my belly” that I couldn’t see, or talk to. Then I was concerned about “how we would fit him into our life”. Now, I can’t imagine how life was before him. How cliche.

Not every day is a Hallmark card full of sweetness and light. There are crying fits, late nights, frustrations. But then again, I know that every day at 7:30 I have a little man, who’s eyes and mouth like a baby bird are contentedly looking at me ready for his bottle and smells of nothing but baby and snuggles me and makes me feel like the whole darn world.

I look forward to each day, despite being tired, without makeup, too many pounds overweight and craving to fit into regular clothes, mentally searching for what I can show him, and do with him and while the days are going too fast, they aren’t going fast enough for me to show him all the things I need to show him.

Today I wanted to be on the way to College Station, showing him the memorial, showing him where Mommy came from, perhaps we can do this together next week. 

Lately, today in particular, I’m reminded of how short life is. I look at my son and want to give him the entire world. More so, I want to give him what HE wants. I know I have visions for him, I know I can could steer him to my choices of what I’d like him to be. But I want him to have his life.

I have struggled this year, trying to be the me I need to be. Not what others want. I want my son to have a mother who is as strong in her convictions as I want him to be. He has two feet, I need to nuture him to stand on his own – and I cannot do that until I learn how to do it myself.

I implore my readers, and friends, and anyone who will listen, to live big. and I have not done that myself. I have not leapt and been brave – I have generally remained quiet when conflict arises, or even when my own substance just plainly differs from another. I’m not here to make waves and cause fights, but I’m tired remaining quiet when there is room for me to speak up and make a difference in the world.

Sometimes the things we do not say make us more exhausted than the things we do. The build up in our heads of how people may react is overbearing. Getting over the fear and anxiety of “being judged” is my goal this year. I will be me, because I have a little one who I want to be anything he wants to be, it’s time that I embraced the same – for to be alive is a gift, and it could be taken away at any moment.


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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’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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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