Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Letter to my baby

My dearest Adria,

You are such a pretty girl! I just have to say it, number one because it's true, but because I hear it so much from so many others. And because you are pretty, you'll probably hear it throughout your life, especially since it's the first thing others can see about you.

But baby dearest, there is so much more to you than pretty. You are fun, and funny, and clever, and capable, and strong, and interested in the world around you, and sweet and absolutely loveable. You're such a pretty girl, but you are so much more than that!

I love you dearly and hope to remind you of all these "other" things all along the way.

All my heart,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

30 in 30--Happy Birthday to me!

For my 30th birthday, I celebrated by having some girlfriends over and making a list of 30 of the things I've accomplished in my 30 years that I've done or am proud of.  Because 30 years didn't just happen to me.  I lived in those 30 years.  So here is my list of 30 in 30:

1. I lived in Sarajevo for a year, and have traveled throughout Germany, England, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Bosnia, Croatia, South Korea and Jamaica.
2. Completed a triathlon and beat my time goal by nearly 20 minutes
3. Back to pre baby/high school weight at 30 yoa
4. Speak Spanish, and have dabbled in Bosnian
5. Loved without holding anything back
6. Married the man I measured all other men against
7. Have been rescued utterly by God--after college, and he's doing it all over again presently
8. I can cook.
9. I am a wine drinker
10. Natural childbirth--amazing accomplishment and amazingly empowering
11. Adria--I had the sweetest most beautiful daughter and am raising her to be an amazing little girl
12. 2 majors and one minor in 3.5 years at Mercer University
13. I have made mistakes in my life, but am learning from them.
14. I am an office supervisor--middle management, baby!
15. I have fallen asleep next to the man that I love on lush green grass under a clear blue sky.
16. I attended midnight Christmas mass led by the pope at the Vatican
17. I am learning about speaking truth to people, whether on mission or at the probation office, as a way of life.
18. Drank wine out of our backpack with my best friend while sitting on the fountain outside the Lourve in Paris.
19. I have gotten away with speaking Spanish w an Italian accent, as speaking the language in Italy.
20. I have been kissed on the beach at midnight by a stranger.
21. I have drank wine on the roof of a tiny building dwarfed by skyscrapers on a purple night in New York City while being watched over by the Statue of Liberty.
22. I can drive a stick shift.
23. I am learning that the closer I walk to God the fewer regrets I have.
24. I was my Chi Omega new member educator and lived in the sorority house.
25. I did not have a bad high school experience, but college kind of made up for it.
26. I know I can always go home.
27. I bought a house, and refinanced it.
28. I missed my flight home from Vegas because I was still gambling.
29. I can support me and my daughter financially.
30. I have hope and remain an optimist.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Happiness is my CHOICE. Happiness IS my choice.

Perhaps I've shared my thoughts on this matter before--I suppose happiness is something that we constantly seek, so it'd be no wonder for it to come up time and again.

I think I've always been an optimist. Not in an unrealistic everything-is-always-sunshine-and-roses kind of way, but in the way that I choose to see the world as half full. Perhaps some of it comes from being the younger sibling. For whatever reason, growing up I wanted to be a people-pleaser and a peace-maker, and so the "well at least..." became a part of my vocabulary. Part of my identity.

I also recall a time when in college, young and in love, I mentioned to my mom that this boyfriend of mine "made me happy". And oh, he did! But her wise response was that while that feeling was wonderful, my happiness was my responsibility. I couldn't depend on another person to provide happiness for me, and if someone could make me happy, well then, they could make me unhappy as well. And somehow along the way, my mother's wisdom has become the voice in my head, and I've heard "happiness is my choice" for some years now. For a while I simply changed the verbage to "I'm happy with you", which satisfactorily seemed to express my exuberance while maintaining personal ownership and responsibility.

Even a few years down the road after that a beautiful, wise, wonderful counselor and friend of mine took it further and shared with a group of us girls specifically, you cannot seek to find your identity in a man, because the woman that needs to always be validated and poured into by a man will SUCK THAT MAN DRY. He simply cannot fill the vast cisterns that are a woman's heart. I suppose that's true enough, because I think especially as women our worth is always in question, and we CONSTANTLY need that question to be answered affirmatively. She suggested that our unchanging worth and value comes because of what God says about us. The most important aspect there being our unchanging worth. This wonderful woman had listened to the loving whispers of God in her ear, telling her she was beautiful, and worth it, and capable and strong, so she knew those things to be true. And in turn she began to help us open our ears to hear that same sweet lover's whisper.

And so it is that I am wired to seek balance. Peace. Contentment. Satisfaction. Happiness. And it's a good thing, because my personal life feels like a shambles around me. If I were depending on someone else, anyone else, to provide my self worth and contentment, I wouldn't have it. Couldn't have it. But that doesn't come from someone else, it comes from me, and it comes from God.

Within, I have recently been in what I felt like was a "fight for my life". Or as much for the life I want. But it has felt recently like the last stronghold of my weaponry in this grand fight has been disarmed. I am depleted. And yet. My happiness is my choice. So I choose that it is also liberating to have given everything and know there is nothing held back.

I also recently came across the account of the Exodus, where God is about to lead the Isrealites through the Red Sea. Moses tells them, "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." And in the very next chapter, after God has done exactly what he had promised, and more than they could have imagined, they announce with exuberance: "The Lord is a Warrior, the Lord is his name!"

So at least I know, at the end of my strength, The Lord will fight for me. At least I know, when I don't feel my value being affirmed in the way I might want, I can rely on what Unchanging God whispers in my ear. And so in that, happiness is my choice.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Going batty...


So the title kind of gives it away, but what do you think Jason and I found in our bedroom around 1:00 this morning?


Jason and I were both in bed, and at first I heard a little rustling and realized--something is definitely in here--have we got a mouse or something? Dang it! What to do? Will we have to call an exterminator? I wonder how much that will cost. No wait, mousetraps! Ok, yeah, no problem, back to sleep, and we'll get mousetraps tomorrow...

When Jason jolted me awake--There's something flying around our room and I think it's a bat! We've got to get out of here! And when I opened my eyes and looked up, that sucker was circling our ceiling, lighting every now and then on our ceiling fan!

I literally almost jumped out of my skin, and at least almost jumped out of the bed, but Jason had us both roll onto the floor and crawl out of the room, and he closed the doors behind us and snuck a peek, checking out the situation.

Yup, huge bat. Yup, landing on the ceiling fan. Jason got a towel, and after a rather loud crash, came back out of the room, mad, and declared that if we just had a b.b. gun... And then he took my keys and went to Wal-Mart!

Now, I'm wondering how loud a b.b. gun will be, and if it'll wake Adria, and if it's a GOOD idea to shoot a wild animal in our bedroom, and what kind of damage it'll cause the room, and what it'll take to clean up the mess if we DO shoot the bat... but of course by "we" I definitely mean ONLY Jason. So I decide, since I'm COMPLETELY leaving the dealing-with-the-bat responsibilities to him, who am I to criticize his methods?

A few minutes later he shows back up, armored up with thick gloves and a straw broom. He decided against the b.b. gun (although I think he'd still like to own one), and in favor of the broom. Again, who am I to second guess his methods? But I will admit I was a bit relieved.

So once again we both crept into the bathroom, and he cracked the door and started swinging. "I'm missing it every time!" was the first response--hello sonar! But before long he'd whacked it good, and except for losing sight of it after the whacking, I think we were both significantly relieved! Now, I've seen too many Chevy Chase movies to believe that bat was really neutralized until it was OUT of our house, but Jason found it after only a few moments of poking around, and before I knew it the thing was contained in his big gloves and out the front door.

Big sigh of relief! And so thankful for my manly man!

But how did that bugger get in our room to begin with?! It was still maddening... and hard to sleep... when whether it was our imaginations or not we again heard a small tapping noise coming from the door in the wall that opens into attic space...

So. Imagination or not (which realistically is less likely since we BOTH heard the tapping noises), we're still not sure of where our bat-friend came from... or who else is out there... or that we've seen the last of this problem. I only know that in the mean time, my old backpack is propped up against that attic door...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ten months old

I have a ten month old!

I will not continue with these monthly updates once my darling daughter reaches the ever important one year mark, which is barrelling down on me, but for now these little monthly updates are sweet to me. There is so much development happening, so much change. So much to treasure and remember, so much to delight in.

Something occurred to me the other day. Plenty of people have told me that I've got a mama's girl. And that's definitely okay with me! But it occurs to me the very high priviledge I hold with this little wonder-girl. Nobody will know the unparallelled delight of being the one she wants. The one who can comfort her more than any other. The one who knows her better than any other. And probably the one who loves and delights in her more than any other. It is a high calling to be mother to this little precious and to give my love with all my heart. And an even greater priviledge to be loved by her.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My great grandmother, Adria's great-grandmother

I have just arrived home from the adventure of the year--or at least of the last few months. Where did this adventure take me, you ask? You might be surprised to hear that the adventure of recent history took place in a mystical place called, are you ready for this? Dayton, Ohio.

My dear sweet grandmother is turning 89 years old today, which is a significant birthday! (Seems like they all are, after a certain age!) but it seems even moreso because my dear sweet grandmother is also battling Alzheimer's. It seems a little unfair, because we all know it is a battle you can't win. But she keeps hanging on. Each time I see her I know it may be my last, and I honor it as such. It's hard to see her so much deteriorated from he feisty, sassy woman I remember from my childhood, who my mom said I was so like. It doesn't so much seem like an adventure, Butthis visit was special because I also wanted my most precious little daughter to get to meet her great-grandmother while she still can, so the adventure came when I bought myself a plane ticket, packed up our things, and Jason dropped us off at the airport.

In grand adventure fashion, the story started with excitement, Jason charging us through Atlanta traffic only to have us arrive just late enough to watch the flight take off without us. Perhaps it wasn't that dramatic, but we missed our flight and were booked for the next one, some 3 hours later. Adria and I entertained ourselves well for the 3 hour delay--naturally we were both still fresh! But after boarding and another almost hour delay, both our patience and stamina was wearing thin. (Good thing we were seated next to a bonafide rapper to make the flight a little more manageable!) Seriously, Adria was an incredible trooper, and only fussed as the plane descended--hard on my grown-up ears, understandably hard on her!

My mom (who MADE the earlier flight) picked us up and was able to meet us at the gate, what a treat! By the time we arrived at the hotel it was time to crash, and Adria slept in our room while mom and I listened through the monitor and ate pizza in her room.

The next day was the reason we came--adventure or not, we came to see my grandma, and I couldn't have scripted a sweeter time. With much love, my grandma has become more baby-like herself these days, and as strange as that is to say, she and Adria seemed to understand each other from first glance. Grandma and my uncle actually met us at the entrance to the (very nice!) nursing facility Grandma is in now, and responding to my joy and surprise at seeing them and being greeted that way, Adria beamed and cooed at them both, and my grandma beamed and cooed back to us. I don't remember if I hid my tears, I don't remember if I tried to. It is so bittersweet seeing her like that--she's absolutely precious, and my dear grandma is still in there, but of course it's not the same--she doesn't speak anymore, and stayed so tired our visiting came in spurts, and the chatter was of course one sided, but in her face and her eyes she still showed her delight, and seeing her delight in MY greatest delight, well, as imperfect as it was, it was also pretty pure, and I couldn't have asked for it to go better.

To be honest, I'm so glad Adria took right to her and wasn't afraid. I suppose I needn't have worried--Adria was climbing over her and reaching out to hold and lick her hand by the time we left. For me it was still a great adventure, because going into it I had no idea... But I suppose there really is something natural and lasting about family--if we'll let it be so.

Not to downplay the significance of Adria and my air travel. As it turns out that was the greatest part of our adventure, with a TIRED girl (naps not being included in our itinerary), tired of travel and being strapped in places (car seat, stroller, high chair, etc) tired of being constrained to her mother's control and lap while the air itself seemed to revolt in her head as we ascended and descended. My poor crying, uncomfortable baby in the air, yet my sweet, smiley, happy social baby as soon as we landed. I don't care--i'm a mama and much more concerned with her comfort than those around me! She did great, and if I'm still processing--the stress, the significance of our little visit, the sweetness, well I don't think anyone could blame me for that!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My how time flies!

All around me people are talking about "back to school" time. It doesn't really mean a thing to me, since neither I nor my child are going "back to school" ourselves. (Jason will be going back to school in a few more weeks--but it's still a few weeks away, so THIS back to school buzz hasn't really hit our house.) But it occurs to me that school seems to start earlier and earlier each year. It's only August 1st, and people already are officially packing their backpacks in 100 degree weather and trudging through those double doors everywhere. Or they will be by this time next week. It doesn't seem right. With the school year starting earlier and earlier, it really makes it seem like the summer just flies by. Time really does fly, doesn't it?

I have LOVED my time spent with Adria this month. I have a 9 month old. She's 9 months. Oh, how many months is she? 9! She's crawling wonderfully, she's pulling up on everything, and making the first little indications that she wants to stand up on her own. She loves to use her little finger to point at and touch, can pretty much get anywhere she wants to, and has enjoyed cruising around while holding onto furniture, cabinets, a wayward knee, whatever. She has just seemed SO HAPPY these days, can play and entertain herself, but loves to climb on me and has begun what I think is trying to give me kisses. She'll turn her mouth to me when I'm kissing her cheeks, or she'll come at me, open mouth and tongue out, right on the kisser! She's adorable, she's amazing! I'm absolutely loving it.

But it's August already! How is my 9th month slipping by so quickly? In just 9 short days I'll have a 10 month old! I wish I could freeze these days and just linger in them. Warm summer days, playing outside on the blanket in the back yard, trying to eat the grass, exploring the little play set we inherited from Uncle Matt and nephew Brayden. She and her dad and I playing in her own little baby pool. Slow down, summer! Slow down, Month Number Nine! I want to soak it all in, and with having to juggle work, and making time for quality time with my hubby, these days are all too precious. SLOW DOWN!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy 9th monthday, little darling!

I have a 9 month old baby girl. How amazing! How amazing she is! I've said it before, but it keeps proving itself over and over--every phase is my new favorite. I enjoy this little person more and more as she continues to grow and develop. Things I find delightful:

We'll find her sitting up in her crib in the mornings after a little chatter to let us know she's up. And when she sees you come through the door, big smile and sleepy eye rub. Although she puts up a little fuss about the diaper change!

The girl can crawl! She loves to get moving, and will crawl with gleeful abandon, like when she really gets moving she's thinking to herself, man, I'm really making it!

She can pull up on things. In fact, she can crawl UP the little playroom slide at daycare! (She showed me today but whined the whole way, like she was scared but just kept going anyway. Sweet girl! Brave girl!)

And in pulling up on things, I saw her "cruise" and take her first steps holding on just yesterday! This girl wants to be a mover and a shaker, and it won't be long now!

She can wave. Oh. my. goodness. She is so cute.

And she can clap! Oh my goodness!

And she likes to chatter. (She MAY take after her mama about that!) I'm convinced she's really telling me things, I just can't understand what she means--yet!

She has 8 teeth. 8! And to be honest, I think there are more coming in! Whew, makes me tired just thinking about growing all those teeth.

She sleeps through the night--has been for months, but is giving up her 10:00 p.m. bottle and sleeping straight through from 8 p.m.-7 a.m.ish. Glory, hallelujah!

She can feed herself, and more and more often actually gets the bits of food into her mouth! She LOVES bananas, goldfish crackers, cheerios, peas... anything I'll put on her tray for her to grab.

And she can sit at the table with me like a big girl. After she eats, while the grown folks are finishing up, she's perfectly satisfied to sit at the table and provide entertainment. In fact, she did it at my parents' over the 4th of July. That's an important skill to me for her to learn, and I couldn't have been prouder.

She's a little begger for grown-up foods--she sees what other people are eating and gazes at you with those imploring baby blues until she gets just a taste! Haha, that may be how I get her to stay satisfied at the table while the grown folks eat!

At bathtime you should see the way she kicks and flaps her arms in the water--loves to splash! Same with the pool. Also, she loves froggies and duckies.

And, she may be learning limits. Sometimes she can't help those little hands, but she understands some of my verbal instructions to her--cords, the fireplace hearth and my cell phone are "no's", but there is so much fun to be had elsewhere! She seems ok with it so far!

She loves to play with the other children at daycare. Loves them. And plays gently and well with the other babies! It seriously warms my heart to see her making friends already, so sweetly. I love to see how other people love her, even if they're just babies.

And maybe the greatest thing of all. She loves ME! I am her MAMA, and although I don't have all the answers and don't always read her just right, she KNOWS that I love her, delight in her, and am a safe place to jump off into the world from.

Yes, being her mama is one of the great honors of my life.

So happy 9th monthday, little darling! I love you, and always will!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Isaiah 54

We've come across some hard times at my house, but even in the midst of it I have felt God's hand holding onto me, holding me steady. Which is great, because I am so terribly unsteady on my own! But all the same, there is at least the great steadiness of God to rely on.

I came across Isaiah 54 some years ago, and it was like salve to my soul. And I came across it again somewhat recently, and found it to have the same cathartic effects. This may not seem like much of a post, but here is some of the peace of God, shared with me in my storm. Shared with you!

"Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband, says the Lord.
"Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.
"Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your maker is your husband--the Lord Almighty is his name--the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit--a wife who married young, only to be rejected," says your God. "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you," says the Lord your Redeemer.
"To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
"Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with saphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace. In righteousness you will be established: tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed, it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.
"See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me," declares the Lord.

I love those Old Testament texts where it seems as though God speaks directly to us through his prophets. I don't understand it all, but there is enough I do understand and cling to.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Letter to my daughter 15: Be who you are

My darling Adria,
You are such a joy to me! Even getting to know your baby-self is a thrill, and to say that I'm so looking forward to knowing the person you'll become is a huge understatement.

I've had occasion to do some serious thinking about difficult situations in my own life lately, and through God's grace am able to come to one peace-giving conclusion--all I know is all I know, and all I can be is who I am. I think as WOMEN we struggle in particular with feelings of inadequacy. I was taking about it with a dear friend of mine just today and she'd been having some of the same questions and feelings as I have been--is who I am enough? When all the striving is over and I'm left with just me--is THAT enough?

My little darling, the truth in my own challenging situations lately is, all I can be is me, and all I know is all I know. And somehow the grace of God has been telling me that that IS enough. In fact it's who I must be! And it's the grace of God to tell me that, because sometimes the world or some unnamed difficult situation will have a different answer for you.

So as my Maker shares that answer with me, I want to that same answer with you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made--you were made Adria. No one else. And no one else was made to be you! So when you are faced with these same questions, and as a woman I am positive you will be because that seems to be our lot, know that all you can be is you. You were made Adria, to BE Adria. So be her, be yourself with all that you are. Because THAT is exceptional, beautiful, lovely, equal to your calling, and absolutely enough.

I will always be cheering on who you are with all my love,
Your mama

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Watching her grow

I hate to admit it, because I hate to admit when anything is hard, but these have been hard days for us around here lately. I mentioned the start of little Adria's illness in my last post, but it turned out she had a little stomach bug that seemed to last for days and days... And that she shared with me before it was all over! But we have finally both recovered well, and my sweet little, she's doing just fine!

Splendidly, I could even say! I never formally celebrated on this blog the latest accomplishments of my little darling, but she is indeed crawling, and in what seems like only 2 weeks, she's crawling well! We finally started baby-proofing the house, although there is certainly more to go, but little Adria, she's mobile now, and the world, or our house at least, is her oyster! She can tear up the kitchen, wants to pull up on everything these days, including me, and I think is generally having a ball!

In fact, when I picked up my sweet little naked baby from day care this afternoon (apparently blew out 2 outfits today and was down to diapers by the time I got there), I got her home and let her loose in the kitchen floor while I prepared our suppers. She likes to push the kitchen stools around, and I always keep a close eye on her even while she's enjoying her freedom. But this evening she crawled over to me at the kitchen sink and before I knew it she'd pulled herself up my pants legs and was naked baby standing in the kitchen--and I think she may have gotten temporarily stuck standing between my legs holding onto my pants--like I'm up here now mama, how do i get back down?? I had to rescue her from falling on the tile floor when she started to get wobbly!

Oh how I love that creature, oh how every day seems more interesting and exciting than the last, how treasured to get to be a part of her life and watch her grow.

For a variety of reasons these have been hard days. But in the midst of them is such sunshine.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How sleeping beauty eats her dinner

So my little one has been having a rough few days, it seems. She has a hard time napping while at daycare (we call it school around our house--makes me feel better about leaving her). She sleeps like a champion for her dad and me... at home... in her own bed... in the cool, quiet room... by herself with no people around for distractions... So I guess I can see why she sometimes has a hard time getting good naps at daycare. But it does end up making it hard on her.

They'd observed a slight fever on Monday, so on Tuesday I went into work late and kept Adria with me during the morning to observe her and just so she could relax some. Well again, she had a beautiful, splendid, wonderful nap for me... but NO afternoon nap at school!

So just about the time I was picking her up, she was crashing... and she crashed hard! I am still nursing her, just a little tiny bit, but holding her in my arms, she fell asleep. There sat the little salmon patty she'd helped me make with her name on it. There sat the pureed carrots, sure to tempt. And there lay my sleeping baby. I decided if she was only just mostly asleep, and not 100% asleep I could still give it a try... (I'm seeing that scene from the Princess Bride where Westley is just mostly dead...)

and my baby slept-ate for about 10 minutes yesterday. I swear it was the funniest and cutest thing. My sleeping girl would slurp down carrots and open her little baby bird mouth, all the while eyes shut! And if I put in a little bite of the salmon, she'd munch, munch, munch! She certainly didn't get a good full meal, but she got some variety of food in the belly, and I decided to just "top her off" with a bottle before putting her down for bed, so she ended up sleeping sweet just like she should have, full belly and all.

Too funny this girl of mine.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Proud moment

I did it! This morning I completed My First Tri!

Let me start by saying, if I can do it, anybody can do it! For the last several months, I would go on my lunch breaks to the local pool and swim laps one or two days a week instead of going to see Adria at daycare. And in the evenings after I picked Adria up from daycare, if I had a bit of time before dinner and she wasn't falling asleep on me, I'd put her in the baby bike trailer we got for her and pull her around the neighborhood. Motivation: she loved it! But didn't always seem so thrilled when I'd huff and puff up our neighborhood hills--so in my head she was crying "faster, Mommy, faster!" And at night after she'd go to bed, I'd hop on the treadmill for a few miles. (Remember my "Grey's Anatomy workout plan"? Haha, well in conjunction with all this training, I have to confess that I've gotten a little addicted to that show as well!)

But part of the point of signing up for this thing was to see if I could do it! To see if I have what it takes. And then once I began to see that yes, it probably would be possible to finish a race like that, I wanted to do it well. I had 2 goals: finish strong! (That meant I wanted to swim, and bike, and run--no quitting and walking.) And I wanted to see if I could finish in under 2 hours.

And I did it! I finished, and finished well! And as a matter of fact, completely surprising me and blowing my mind, I finished it in 1:41!

Part of why this is such a big deal is because I have never thought of myself as one of those people. Those really active or fit people, or even one of those people who just goes and does cool unusual things. I have always just been average. So I thought I'd go and dabble in it, bring up the rear of the field, dragging myself across the finish line. I'm a new mom. I work full time. My face turns beet red and I sweat like a pig when I exercise. That's who I thought I was when I arrived this morning. But whether I was really competitive to anyone else or not, I blew my own expectations away. I was able to hang with the competition, I felt free, I felt fierce, I felt hard-core. I pushed it! And that makes me feel special! It makes me feel like this was a BIG DEAL. It makes me feel like I'm more than I thought I was.

Now don't get me wrong--I still finished 142nd out of 252. There was no win in me. But I wanted to run my own race, and in that, I beat myself, and I won.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Houston, we have lift off!

My fabulous little person, she just keeps growing and developing in leaps and bounds! Just the other day I visited her at daycare, and after a snuggle and some playtime, I put my little A in the ball pit, and what does she do? She pulls up! To standing! She's been crawling all over her dad and me for a while, and would pull up onto her legs and stand over us, butt in the air and bent over with her hands on us. But this was completely upright, holding onto the little bar, smiling like she knew she'd just hit on the start of something big!
And wouldn't you know it, now that she's able to coordinate those arms and legs, she can go from laying on her back to her belly to sitting, just like it's no big deal!
And if all that weren't enough--I think she's crawling. They say at daycare she is, and hubby says she crawled forward 1 or 2 feet the other day. Well my rule with daycare is that if I didn't see it, it hasn't happened yet, but I'll definitely start looking for a behavior under their advisement. But my own dear hubby--if he sees it, it counts! But lucky enough for me, I saw her move forward myself yesterday, cutely enough going after my freshly painted and brightly colored toes! I'd seen her rock and roll, scoot and move backwards, but I am willing to attest to it myself--Houston, we have liftoff!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I woke up as usual this morning, to the sweet cooing of my daughter coming from her room across the hall. She hasn't learned how to say "mama" yet, so for now she just babbles and lets us know she's up. For the record--when she learns it, I'm toast. Putty in her hands.

This is my first Mother's Day, and from the start it was a beautiful day, mostly filled with appreciation for my dear husband and darling daughter, who turned me into a mother. From the moment I walked into her room and she spotted me, her clear baby-blue eyes lit up and she smiled a wide, open-mouthed smile for me, showing me not only the 2 chompers that have been coming in on bottom, but the one off centered upper tooth that makes me smile back and laugh every time I see it.

My darling and I, we ate, and played, and talked and watched a Baby Einstein video, and when she went down for a nap, I crawled back into my own bed to enjoy the luxury of a day meant just for me. While I was sleeping Jason and Adria prepared breakfast for ME, and our slow day together came into full swing. I had already planned what I most wanted for this Mother's Day, which was a lot of time with my dear family, and a lot of time spent doing not much of anything else! So we packed up to go to a local park, picked up sandwiches on the way and before long were stretched out in the sun, laying on a blanket in the grass by the lake. Adria played on the blanket, rolling, getting up on all 4's, and trying to climb over her Daddy and me, and generally making all kinds of grunts and chattering noises. When she discovered the grass we spent the rest of the time trying to keep her on the blanket!

When we'd lazed enough in the sun, Jason dropped me at the local AT&T store to pick up my Mother's Day gift--a new iPhone! (It's a little less glamorous than opening up a shiny package, but the contract is in my name, so I have to be the one to add a line, and he took my love on a ride in the car and she napped while I took care of business, so in my book this was just the thing to do and we all won.)

Back at the house there was more time for playing together before Jason prepared dinner, and we all enjoyed sitting around the table together--Jason and I eating the dinner he'd prepared, and Adria having an absolute ball getting started with finger foods. It was simply the best dining experience I've had in a while. From there it was bath time and bedtime, snuggling with and singing to my precious love before she went down for the night. She lights up my life, that little one does. She's changed everything. Everything in my world, in my day-to-day, and more than anything, in my heart. Just being with her is all I really want under most circumstances, so spending the day celebrating our relationship couldn't have been a richer and more lovely experience for me.

Once she was down for the night, my husband and I enjoyed the rest of the evening filled with no commitments and nothing that needed to get done, and as I laid my head down on my pillow that night of my first Mother's Day, I was so grateful.

Happy Easter!

For Easter Adria's Grandma and Grandpa came over, bearing a basket the Easter Bunny had left for Adria at their house. She was enchanted by a giant pink bunny--as big as she was!--and enjoyed the eggs in her basket.

I joked about this being a "baby Easter Egg hunt":

And for the record, Adria got 5 Easter Baskets, and one Easter Bag this year! What a sweet little girl she must have been! Thank you SO MUCH for making this holiday special for us Matt and Amanda, Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Elaine, Great Grandma Marie, and Gamma and Poppy!

No news is good news--right?

So the saying goes--no news is good news. Or is it? Where I'm concerned, my mom observed about me once, "when we don't hear from you in a while we know something's wrong."

And it's been almost a month since I've posted on here, hasn't it? I've missed Easter, Mother's Day, and even Adria's 7 month post. Don't worry, they will come. But here's what's been going on.

I try not to complain, and I particularly try not to say too much about work, because well, you never know who's listening, right? I learned once a long time ago, you can't take back your words. And you especially can't take back words you put in writing and send out into cyberspace! But the truth is that I've been struggling lately.

A few weeks ago one of our employees was fired. For reasons that aren't important. But his workload was divided between the Chief and me. Call me Deputy Chief. Which wasn't any small thing when added to our already existing workloads, along with those Deputy Chiefly duties. So there's that.

And then a few weeks ago I heard that one of my co-workers "misquoted" me, or basically slandered me to one person, who told another person, who told Someone of Great Importance, who, coincidentally, was the one I was misquoted of speaking against. And that person told my boss. So I had to set things straight with my boss. And then with this person. Not fun no matter what direction you approach it from.

I have had no less than 30 messages on my phone at any one time for the last 2 weeks, and just cannot seem to make progress on getting through them. Hope you haven't called! I have been called away from my office time at least half the time I should be there getting things done. Like the phone messages, for example.

And so yesterday, the inevitable happened. Things have started to slip. While also covering for one of my own employees who was recovering from surgery, I got called into a meeting with the man in charge of our contract, basically the reason my office exists, and agreed to do something for him. Then, on my way out, I was met by the same Person of Great Importance with whom I now have to work on my relationship and was drawn into a small meeting with them. And when I was finally back out on my own... I let the thing I agreed to do slip. It simply was no longer on my radar.

It's a problem in and of itself, but one that has some resolution, tied up in work details that aren't important. It had something to do with a phone call informing and requesting pardon from the man I let down. But the long and the short of it is clear: I have just got too much on my plate right now, and things are starting to come unraveled. For some time I've just added... and added... and added. But now with the realization that there is only SO MUCH ROOM on said plate. And there are some things of my own which simply cannot slip.

For example, I have a lovely and beautiful 7 month old daughter, who has changed the whole center of my world! (Everything else is peripheral to my family now.) NO MORE long nights for me. At least not at work! (Haha.) Just an example. Not to mention my amazing husband, who deserves the best from me. My commitment to working out and doing a little something for myself. And of course my blog!

And so, something has got to give.

I have always been, and remain, entirely grateful for my job, the wonderful people I work for, and basically just feeling like I'm good at what I do. But I'm not good at it anymore, and that stress is eeking in and effecting the rest of my life. So.

So all I know right now is that something's got to give. It feels good to be back, though, it feels like I'm fighting to keep up a bit of "me", which feels good, and I'll keep ya posted!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Adria's 7 months!

My dearest daughter,
It's hard to express how proud of you I am. It's not the things you do that make me proud, which are sweet and fabulous in and of themselves, but it's just you being you.
I came into your daycare at lunch the other day just to visit, and you and the two younger girl babies in your room all ended up having floor time together, and it was one of the most delightful experiences watching you love on and make friends with the other two girls. You were the oldest, but none of you were crawling yet (yet!), so you three just babbled and blew bubbles and flapped your arms and looked at each other--three happy, sweet, excited baby girls. You (we) have so many wonderful times to look forward to!
So listen. There will be times you make mistakes in your life. There will be times you end up disappointed, and sometimes disappointed in yourself. And that's ok, because we all learn and are shaped by those times. There will be times when you are NOT the coolest girl on the block, as difficult as those times are to imagine right now. But keep on loving other people, and remember that my love for you isn't based on what you do. Or sometimes don't do. But it's all because you're YOU, darling. And I have to say, that is pretty fabulous.
I love you muchly, you are a delight to me. And I will always be,

Your loving mama

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Try try tri

Before little Adria was born, I had certain "get back in shape" goals in mind, and I'm turning 30 this year and had wanted to accomplish some things physically to keep myself young and strong. Specifically I wanted my "pre baby body" back , and I decided I wanted to compete in My First Tri on June 5, 2011--a yearly sprint triathlon designed specifically for first time participants. A sprint triathlon starts with a 400 meter swim followed by a 12 mile bike ride and a 3 mile run.

Which all sounds good and well when you're 9 months pregnant and have no necessity or capacity to train for a major athletic event. But today I looked up and realized, the triathlon is 7 weeks away! And due to feeling under the weather, and admittedly just plain lazy, I haven't even gotten started training!

I was a bit alarmed when I started looking online for 7 week triathlon training plans and realized they don't exist. So I suppose I'm on my own, but here I go! I feel like even with the training I'm embarking on yet another adventure, and to tell the truth I'm pretty excited about it. So wish me luck and I'll keep you posted!

Monday, April 11, 2011

6 months

My precious little lovely is 6 months old!

I couldn't be happier or prouder. 6 months seems like a long time, but with her everything seems like a flash. I love her laugh. I love her smile. I even love that incredible frowny face just before the wail comes out. I love watching her play on the floor, flipping from back to belly, then up on all fours and acting like she's ready to go.

Every stage she's reached so far has been my favorite. She just gets sweeter and more active and interesting, and I love her more and more, even though at times now, and definitely at times in the past I thought I loved her so much I could possibly burst from it. My darling Adria, Happy 6th monthday!

My own little Elvis impersonator in her "Vegas Elvis" onesie!

And Adria heard that Easter is coming, so she's getting ready!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Memphis rocks, baby!

So, after making best friends at church and growing to love one another while taking fabulous adventures overseas, the time was right for Jason and I to take another adventure. Next city on our list to conquer: Memphis, TN.

That's right, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Rome, Venice, Barcelona, Seoul... and now Memphis. You know you're jealous! ;)

Jason took me on a fabulous weekend getaway to experience my first real rock concert seeing Kings of Leon (LOVE them!!), and even Graceland! Because really--what IS Memphis without Graceland?? We dropped Adria off at my folks for our first real weekend away and hopped a flight, thanks to many thousands of dollars spent on our American Express sky-miles credit card, and after a SHORT hop, we were there!

We spent the first day hanging out on Beale Street, conveniently located RIGHT NEXT TO the arena where the concert was. And, if I happen to mention that you can carry your beer around Beale Street, and even up to the forum while waiting in line to get in and be the first to stand at the stage for the concert--does it give away too much? This may be old hat to people who have been to concerts before, but remember, this was my very first one! So we got in line a few hours before they opened the doors and quickly made friends with everyone around us, sharing stories and travel tales, and singing KOL songs while we waited. When the finally opened the doors security did a quick once over and we RAN to the table to get our floor pass wrist bands, and then RAN to the stadium floor to get as close as we could to the stage. I could touch the rail, and the guys threw out guitar picks or drum sticks from time to time, right to us! (We didn't get any, but that's how close we were.) It was an awesome first show--not too much pushing and shoving, everybody just loving singing along, and the band was really rocking and sounded great. I may be hooked. :)

We got back to our hotel and ordered a pizza to the room, which reminded me a lot of our wedding night, and then we crashed hard. Seriously, we slept past 10:00 a.m. central time, 11:00 eastern, which I have to admit, I was looking forward to as much as anything else on the trip. But then we were off to GRACELAND! Wahhhh! (That's me going wild. You'll just have to imagine me in all my 50's era Elvis crazed excitement.) I actually expected it to be a bit cheesier, but it was just the perfect amount of cheese, and truly surprising tribute. I came away a bigger Elvis fan.

Check it out! Here's the house--that Lisa Marie knew marketing even when she was a young'un, cause she opened it to the public just 5 yrs after Elvis' death, and kept it just the way he had it. It's 70's-tastic, and that Elvis knew glam-rock before his time.

(Yes, that IS a 360 degree mirrored staircase into the basement.)

Famed "Jungle room" ahhh! (Shame you can't really see the grass green shag carpet on the CEILING there!!)

I'd call this the monkey room. Note monkey statue on the coffee table, mirrored ceilings, and 3 TVs! (As a side note--this guy must have REALLY liked TV and bars... there were lots ALL through the house!)

Pleated fabric ceiling, anyone? Why don't we see more of this these days??

Oh so many more pics to come... but had a little difficulty uploading, so check back for all the really glam side of Graceland!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Car woes

Well, after 4 good years driving the Honda Accord Jason and I bought off a little Vietnamese man named Mai on Atlanta Highway 4 years ago, it is time to move on. Here is a list of what's wrong with my daily:

1. It's got a rebuilt title. Really that doesn't bother me, but it kills the resale... but really, resale of a '99 with over 230,000 miles... I got my money's worth, so no complaining here.

2. The check engine and service light just... stay on. Ironically the check engine light only came on after I checked on the service light, but we decided against a $100 part that didn't really fix any problem we were having. (I can't even remember what the original issue was with that, but not any of the problems listed here.)

3. The car's alignment always seems to pull to the right. Even after I get it checked regularly. I don't even notice it anymore until I get into another car and inevitably end up inadvertently steering into the left hand lane!

4. Sometimes, only sometimes, when you accelerate, the emergency brake light comes on. Not the emergency brake--just the light.

5. Sometimes, only sometimes, the a/c controls on the dashboard will go dead, and you just get whatever it was set on last time you crunk the car. Luckily you can still turn on and off. But just because you were defrosting the car in the chilly mornings and it's 70 degrees when you get in at lunch doesn't mean you can necessarily change it from heat to a/c. Or not. Because sometimes it works!

Well, that's really it. (I'm such a whiner.) The car runs great, accelerates and brakes reliably (or else we would have replaced it a while ago). And after all, it is a Honda, so probably has at least another 70,000 miles in it. But, alas, it is time for it to go.

Or at least not to remain the daily.

So... we shall see what is in store for us! (I have something in mind... if it all works out, I'll be posting pics of my new ride by the end of the week!)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sweet Potato!

Well, after starting Adria over a month ago on rice cereal, I decided after her 5 month mark to introduce a few actual solids--vegetables! First there was squash. I boiled up a bag of frozen squash, blended it up and voila! Fresh homemade baby food! I thought it was yummy! Jason didn't really think so... And it made Adria cry. Was it not yummy, yummy, yummy, or was it the simple fact that the squash puree contained bits that didn't just melt in her mouth like the rice cereal? Ah, in any event, I still made her eat some throughout the week, just mixed in with her beloved rice cereal. :P

Not to be put out, the next week I offered her white potato--the kind you make mashed potatoes with! And I LOVE mashed potatoes! So, how did Adria like her baby version of mashed potatoes? No salt, pepper, butter, milk, etc? Head hanging in defeat. About as much as the squash. Although at least this time she didn't cry. And still, throughout the week, she's been eating potatoes along with her cereal. Ha!

And so still not to be defeated--tonight we tried sweet potato! And finally folks, we have a winner! She liked the sweet potato, first time around! (Although I did at least have the sense to mix it with her cereal from the beginning this time!)

I've been putting away ice cubes of the fresh baby food to pull out when Adria comes to her senses and realizes there is so much more out there than rice, and comes to love her veggies just like her mama! Or, to at least mix in with her rice cereal all along the way. :) Who knew--adventures in baby food!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring has sprung!

I always love this time of year, after the last freeze, when Jason and I both get stirrings to get active in the yard, when things start blooming and turning green-from-brown.

I planted our little garden yesterday evening, and am always so anxious to see things start to sprout up. Romaine lettuce (already started, so the only thing sprouted yet!), baby carrots, peppers, cukes, tomatos, yellow squash, string beans, and even basil and cilantro. Stir up the cold earth, add dirt, plant seeds, mulch, water, and wait. I can't wait.

I love this time of year.

As an aside, we've semi, kind of been introducing a few vegetables to Adria, which she hasn't been too keen on. She loves her rice cereal and will eat with abandon! But the yellow squash and white potato she's tried so far... She fakes a little baby gag and pushes the offending veggies out with her tongue. So, we'll just have to keep mixing with rice cereal for now. It may be a bit far off to be excited for her to get to enjoy the fresh produce from our little garden, but the fruits of our labor are a bit far off now too, so maybe by the time we get our first harvest she'll be a little more willing. Hope so!

Happy to announce...

So after a month or so of teething, of infections going through our house, of Adria learning how to flip from her tummy to her back, but not from her back to her tummy, and of doing away with the 10 p.m. feeding only to bring it back, I am happy to announce...

we all slept through the night again last night!

Adria's doing so well at 5 months, I really have so few complaints, and am just so proud. But. It's a welcome rest, and hopefully we'll be able to settle in to a pattern again of sleeping long through the nights very quickly!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Letter to my daughter (14)

My dearest Adria,

It doesn't happen often, but yesterday you fell asleep in my arms and I held onto your tiny self while you took your afternoon nap. It doesn't happen often because we try and let you nap in your bed--you sleep better there--and usually after 5-10 minutes you cry it out and are fast asleep. But yesterday after a trip to the Home Depot with your dad before he headed on to work and we headed on home, you had a hard time settling into your crib. You just looked so tired, and I couldn't bear to just leave you to cry, so you snuggled into my shoulder and I watched a Netflix re-run of Grey's Anatomy, and I so much enjoyed just holding you while you slept. I didn't try to put you back in your crib, didn't try to multi-task or get anything else done, I just enjoyed being with you. You melt my heart so often just by being you, and you'll only be this little with things this simple for a short while. So even though I know I was "supposed to" let you sleep in the crib, I think we both re-charged from the snuggle!

I love your shaky little breath as you quit crying and settle into my shoulder. I love the opening and closing of your little hands as you drift off to sleep. I love the smell of your hair, and face. I love how soft and warm you are, and your sweet deep breaths once you finally drift off. I love stopping and just being with you in the quiet and still. I just love you.

Anyway, I enjoyed naptime yesterday, baby girl. Thanks!

All my heart,

Friday, March 18, 2011

We do what we can

Sometimes the world seems so big and full of hurt it makes me feel so small and powerless. I am astonished at the things that are front-page news these days--between the uprisings throughout the mid-east, the atrocious civil war in Libya, and the utter tragedy that keeps going from bad to worse in Japan, I wish I had something more to give! (I actually looked at what it would take for me to be trained as an EMT--and I am NOT cut out for medicine!)

It's no secret I've been barely holding on spiritually these last months. But all I can do in the face of such great tragedy is just keep holding on. And hoping for God to save. And not to remove his hand of blessing from upon me and my family. Because even in the midst of such sadness, I feel so rich and so blessed.

So I think. What can I do? From where my life is these days, what can I do?

And the high calling I'm answering right now is to love my husband and my daughter, and to WORK for their good. To give to them the same passion by which I'm moved for those in Japan. And to just do what I can from where I am. I read an article that mentioned very briefly in one line that a hospital in Japan fears running out of milk and food for the babies--and that one line stopped me cold. So what my family can do, must do, is what we can. And for today that means buying up formula and rice cereal and doing whatever I have to do to get it to that hospital. (Hopefully through my local Red Cross!)

What that also means is to be so grateful and thankful for each day of peace and plenty I get. Not to feel guilty that I have it so good when there are unimaginable sorrows out there. And not to be afraid that it'll inevitibly happen to us. But to appreciate the good that I'm living in.

So. Things that make me so grateful these days:

When Adria is crying and I'm so frustrated, and I go in to pick her up and she immediately stops and just snuggles into my shoulder with one shaky breath, as if she's thinking "RELIEF!"

How soft Adria is! Really, how are babies so soft?

The way that loving Adria has made me love all babies (and most mamas) more and more.

And the news that a good friend is expecting!

The way my hubby still makes my heart flutter. And makes me laugh. And the way we still love talking to each other.

And beautiful blue skies over warm spring days, with growing things starting to poke out of the ground. Fresh, clean air. I may have to get in the garden this weekend. And I can't wait to share that with Adria.

Having enough to share. Even if postage to Japan makes my heart stop temporarily. :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Baby's first tooth!

Hanging out with mom and dad!

Baby hands and baby feet!

Playing with cousin Brayden at Gamma and Poppy's!

Sleeping sweet on my 5th monthday!

Nanny's heirloom pearls!

5th monthday picture in my chair!

And tooth #2!!