Deep breaths.

•September 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes I turn into a whirlwind. The day goes by and I don’t even stop to breathe. My mind is already 3 tasks ahead and running down the mental post-it note that is figuratively taped to my head. I stop to realize I’m starving and that one cannot live on crumbs alone. And then the mental post-it note gets longer – adding things like “must remember to take vitamins tonight, need to start exercising, we’re out of muffins in the freezer, etc”.

And then on other days I actually remember to take a lunch – to really enjoy the day. I come home to a wonderfully prepared dinner. I bowl a 170 in Wii bowling. I actually finish the cookie that was half eaten from yesterday’s meeting. I laugh at the absurdity of America’s Got Talent with my husband. And I hug (oh, how I hug!) my kids.

I forgive myself for adding way too much cinnamon to the apple butter I made this past weekend. I forgive myself for leaving out the homemade wheat rolls overnight.

I scrub the kitchen hardwoods. I leave my laptop at work. I actually spend an hour reading with my eyes open and my concentration still optimal.

And I breathe.

Toddlers.

•March 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A has announced that she will only be answering to ‘puppy’ from now on. She won’t answer to her name and she has been crawling on all fours for most of the night.

And even puppies must wear pink princess pajamas to bed.

Weekend Love.

•February 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Going forward, I’m going to try and post each weekend on one specific thing that I love.  Considering this is the weekend for love, I thought it was only appropriate to begin today.

I love Chick-fil-A. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I could easily eat it every day of the week. So, when I heard that our local Chick-fil-A was hosting a special Valentine’s dinner I immediately set the plans for attendance. B and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, B ‘chooses to do nice things for me – not because he is told to on a special day’…but that is for another post. Anyway, last night A and I (K was there for all of 10 min until B got off of work – K isn’t feeling well this weekend) met both sets of grandparents for dinner. The tables were covered in red with special centerpieces. The staff was dressed up and carried the food to our tables for us. We all enjoyed complimentary brownies and Pez dispensers. The food was inexpensive, tasty, and quick. A got her picture taken with the cow and a wonderful time was had by all. Everyone came to our house after dinner and enjoyed a bit of Wii bowling.

All, in all, a wonderful evening.

And I love (and appreciate) Chick-fil-A!

Torn.

•February 9, 2009 • 2 Comments

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about the eight babies that were recently born. After reading Lisa Belkin’s (love this blog – thanks Ellen!) blog post and some of the comments I’m reminded that everyone is an expert and has a definitive opinion.  After A’s premature birth, B and I didn’t take having another baby lightly. We thought long and hard about the decision, prayed, and met with doctors to determine what chance we had for a successful, full-term pregnancy. We were fortunate that A was born at 34 weeks instead of much earlier. We are fortunate that she experiences almost no long term effects from being premature. But, in reality, things could have turned out much differently.

After meeting with my doctor and having  what seemed like all of my blood taken, I learned that there was basically a 50% chance of having preeclampsia and HELLP again. And since doctors are not sure what causes the preeclampsia, they are not sure how to prevent it. I’m not a gambling person but 50% seemed to muddy the waters and make the decision to have another baby all the more harder. Before I was pregnant I would stress about being on bedrest with a toddler and/or trying to balance the NICU stay with another child at home.  At times, it seemed absolutely daunting (what if I had a micro-preemie?) and other times, I would let myself hope that all would be fine and I’d come home with a healthy, full-term baby.

Yet, when I actually found out that I was pregnant, all seemed less confusing. It was as if I subconsciously knew that I, ultimately, was not in control and had to put on my game face. Of course it is easy to look back at this now, knowing that I have a beautiful, chunky (compliment!), healthy baby upstairs sleeping.

When we told people that we were having another baby we were usually met with guarded excitement. I remember commenting to someone that I was either brave or stupid – we wouldn’t know until July. In my heart of hearts I wanted to be brave, willed myself to be brave, left no option other than bravery. And as each week passed we breathed easier.

In the end I had an awesome pregnancy with K. He arrived just ten days prior to his due date. He’s perfect.I won the gamble, I got the better 50%. But, seriously, what would have happened if I got the 50% with the high bp, puffy feet, NICU stay, medical bills, etc? I’m sure people would have looked at me saying, ‘she should have known better’.

And perhaps bravery is just stupidity covered in love.

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6 months.

•February 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

What a difference six months makes (and 3 1/2 years, too).

And I’m enjoying these days.

Here I go (oh no!).

•January 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A friend tagged me. And since I missed The Office due to a baby boy who didn’t want to sleep yet I’ve got a few spare minutes before I go to bed. So, here we go.

Rules: If you you get this, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

1. My initials are AZ, which I think is pretty cool, especially for being the book lover that I am (B, I realize I don’t read nearly as much as you these days…but eventually I will get the HP series finished…I promise). Which leads me to #2.

2.  I love books. Sometimes I find myself picking up a new book just to smell the pages. I particularly love the books with uneven, ragged edges. And, yes, I absolutely will judge a book by the cover (and smell!).

3.  My house was clean before I had kids. Now it isn’t and I’m ok with this.

4. I grew up on a farm. My parents are two of the most wonderful, hardworking, and kind people I’ve ever known. Anything good that I accomplish is because I had supportive parents. These wonderful parents have become amazing grandparents.

5. I like my in-laws (actually, I love them!)

6. I like pie crust – raw, uncooked pie crust. I think I often make the pie for the pie crust.

7. I’ve never colored my hair. After the perm I had in 4th grade I’ve been too scared to add chemicals to my hair. If you saw the pictures you wouldn’t ask why.

8. I’m incredibly in love with my husband and I genuinely like him, too.

9. I’m often torn between enjoying where I live and wanting to plant a huge garden in my backyard. Sometimes I want to pick up and move to the country and ‘live off of the land’. I think I’d be living by myself. I married a city boy. I slide in and out of both worlds and sometimes feel like I don’t quite fit in either.

10. My kids are amazing. Nothing brings me greater joy than watching them interact with each other.

11. Almost every person in my Dad’s family, including women, has graduated from college since the early 1900’s. When I once told a co-worker this, the person asked me if I felt embarrassed and like an under achiever because I am a marketing coordinator. I didn’t even know how to respond.

12.  I lived next door to my grandfather for 21 out of 24 years that he was alive during my lifetime. I became much closer to him during the last three years. It is amazing what growing older did for the both of us. I still have his large print books throughout my house. I firmly believe that God gave me A knowing that I’d be devastated losing him. He died in 2005, which was the worst year of my life, with the marvelous exception of A. She saved the year and I’d repeat it if I got her at the end. Sometimes if I think about that summer I still almost lose my breath.

13. I graduated in three years from college. I took 24 hours one semester and planned a wedding. This was not because I was smart, more because I was cheap and determined. College was over 23k a year and I’m still paying it off.

14. I am the oldest child in my family and the shortest. My siblings rock and they have my back.

15. I really, really like nacho cheese. I share this affinity with my brother-in-law. I think he likes it even more than I do.

16. I don’t think I’ve ever had long finger nails. I had my nails done for my wedding. I accidentally got one of the nails caught, ever so briefly, in a fan. All of the photos of my hands clearly show the split down the center of my nail. Did I mention I work with books? My hands usually have at least one paper cut.

17. I love to cook and bake. I want to become really skilled in baking bread. I’m working on it.

18. I could easily become a vegetarian…if I could still eat chicken broth. I like the taste of chicken, just not the texture.

19. I have a wickedly good memory, especially for conversations. This can be both a good and bad trait.

20. My favorite place to visit is Jekyll Island. There is a quote that says that “once your feet have touch the sand, you will always want to come back.” Some of my favorite memories of summers were on this island. It was equally as enjoyable to take my own family there.

21. I am terrible at geography and directions.

22. I took painting lessons from 5th grade to my senior year in high school. Part of my degree is in commercial graphics. I wish I hadn’t stopped painting because I’m afraid I’ve forgotten how to paint. I remember my teacher saying how much easier it is to teach children to paint because they don’t know that the art can be poorly done. She was absolutely correct.

23. I love to help people anonymously. I’d love to do this more and hope to have the budget to do so someday.

24. I value my faith.

25. I hate, hate, hate church games (you know…run with the egg on the spoon and don’t drop it) and ice breakers. One of the first things that B and I attended together was a New Years Eve party at his church (I was 16) where we played lots and lots of church games. I knew I liked him when I controlled the disdain and didn’t hyperventilate.  He kissed me the next morning. It was well worth it.

And that is it.

Colorful.

•January 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I love Sharpies. My absolute favorite are the ultra-thin colorful Sharpies. Over the past year or so I’ve found that I no longer write with pens, instead I write everything with my collection of color Sharpies. I find that it makes even the dullest notes seem all the more interesting.

One of the last things I did before I went on maternity leave with K was to order myself a little package of new colorful Sharpies. I made sure to display them on my desk (in the pink and yellow felt container that A gave me for Mother’s Day – it was part of the gift from daycare) so that they were waiting for me when I returned. First days back from maternity leaves can be crazy enough with the emails, projects, greetings, meetings, and longing for the baby (and older sister) that you’ve spent every waking moment with thus far. But colorful Sharpies make it somewhat more bearable to return and help during that transition back.

I think it is interesting that my stapler, tape, mouse, books, etc., all disappeared while I was out yet my Sharpies were left untouched. I mean, if I were the ‘borrowing’ type (and I’m not!) I’d certainly have gone for those first.  Yet, they were all there wonderfully waiting for my return.

And for the record magenta, plum, and navy are my favorite colors.