June 25, 2013

the girl and her "da"

Father's Day was 9 whole days ago, and I have not yet written about it.

The truth is, every day is Father's Day.

It's like any of those appreciation holidays, when people say "Why does this exist, we should celebrate these people every day!"

Heck yes. Yes we should. So, my dear husband, Happy Tuesday. You are awesome. Thank you for being you, because you are the greatest.

I will just say it. I am not a good gift giver. I am good at procrastinating and throwing stuff together at the last minute and failing to mail an anniversary card to my brother and sister-in-law on their anniversary 3 years ago and it's still sitting in the back pocket of my driver's seat. I am not good at these things. I get anxious about gift-giving. I always want to give something special, personal, memorable, that translates to the person "This is how much I love you, and then some".

I wanted to do something like that for Sean for Father's Day. The truth is, though, I didn't know how on earth I could show him how much he means to me. I can't even think about how beautiful it is watching him be Lily's "dada" without getting teary. I have just come to accept that my life will be lived with tears in my eyes because he is so good. I knew waaaaaay back when we were dating that he was a keeper. I knew he'd be a great husband and dad. And then Lily was born and he surpassed any and all expectations. He amazes me.

I talk a lot on here about how I feel about motherhood, and how I see things as Lily's mama. So I thought I'd share some things about Sean.

When Lily was born, I had a very hard time the first couple days. It was excruciating to get out of bed, stand, walk, or use the bathroom. Sean changed all of her diapers the first 3 days. Every last one. He did it with pride, and probably a little amazement ("Dear GOD, what IS that?!").

Sean and Lily are napping buddies. They are like two peas in a cute little sleepy pod.

She loves it when he comes home from work, or anytime she sees him, period. She lights up and grins and giggles.

He is her #1 peek a boo buddy. He can make her laugh like no one else.

He buys her frilly tutus and dresses, and likes to tell her about how he'll probably embarrass her at their first father-daughter dance with his crazy dance moves.

When he has to work late, I leave her bedroom door open so he can kiss her goodnight when he comes home. He always kisses her goodnight.

There's really no way to show him how much he means to us, so last Sunday, I made him some Darth Vader pancakes, he played some video games, and I made this little video. It may not seem like much, but my gift is photos. Nothing makes me happier than seeing these two and how crazy about each other they are.

June 24, 2013

approaching 30

In 3 months, I'll enter a new decade. It seems a little strange that I'll be saying I'm in my 30s, but it's just life, you know? We keep getting older, and there's no use in trying to cling to youth. My youth was good; I had a lot of opportunities to explore my interests, my talents, and fail at a number of things. I was surrounded by supportive people and lived in a great little town where I didn't really have to worry about a thing. But I did spend a whole lot of time worrying - about my image, about decisions I made, how my peers might view me and if I should try more to fit in.

Yup, I'm quoting one of my favorite Amanda Bynes (pre-hot mess) movies. Besides it being one of my guilty pleasure movies (included in the Slumber Party Pack with A Cinderella Story and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), it's a damn good quote. Why do we try so hard to fit in? Why do we try to change who we are so others will like us? If someone won't love us for who we are, then why would we want their love anyways?

As I approach 30, I have been reflecting a lot on life, my dreams, facing challenges and learning about who I am. I am more comfortable in my own skin than I've ever been.I feel like I have a pretty good attitude and outlook. I am speaking my mind more, being more open and honest (or at least trying), and really carpeing that diem.

You know those cliches? You only live once and stuff like that. Well, it's true! It's so true. It has taken seeing some real tragedy, accidents and hardships in the lives of people I love to really drive that point home. What are we living for if we're spending our time worrying about what others think of us, or if we'll ever get out of that job we hate, or buy a house, or travel, or do whatever that thing is that we feel passionate about doing? So my resolution for life, because this isn't just about being 30, it's about being human, is to live out loud. Let the freak flag fly. High and proud, ya'll. And I'm not going to wait 100-ish days to start. I'm starting now. It's on. You should get in on this. We're all a little weird. That's what makes this world such a great place to live in. And finding people you can be weird with is the best thing ever. 

June 20, 2013

simple and good

Oh hey, Universe. I see you there, not so secretly trying to teach me one of those important life lessons. Except, it feels like your throwing 20 of those lessons at me at once. Stuff about carpe diem and love thy neighbor and don't let the man get you down and living a life full of meaning and passion and unicorns and Nutella.

Oof. I get it. Loud. And. Clear. Message received. Roger that. Over and out.


On Saturday, I said peace out to laundry piles and dust bunnies and packed Lily in the car to go see my dad for his birthday. 7 hours round trip in the car for a 4 hour visit that I really needed. The sun was shining, the kids played in the pool and the sprinkler, we ate hotdogs on the back deck and enjoyed our togetherness, even if it was brief. It was simple and it was good.

I'm trying to do more of what counts. And what counts is finding happiness in who I am, where I am, who I'm with, and what I'm doing, at any given time.

We'll see what the Universe has to say about that.

June 18, 2013

life :: lily at 9 months

9 months in...

And 9 months out.

This post is hard. I haven't even written 10 words and I have tears in my eyes.

Time is a funny thing. People are always telling you to enjoy every moment; when you get married,
when you’re pregnant, when you have your baby. 'Someday, you’ll see...', they say. 'It goes too fast', they say. And you know what? They’re right. It occurred to me this week that we carry these babies for 9 months - 9 long and exciting but also kind of sweaty months - and now she's been on the outside for 9 months. That’s a year and a half since that second little pink line showed up on a test strip and took my breath away.

Time goes so fast.

September seemed so far away, staring at that pregnancy test. It seemed impossible that in that time, you would grow in me, and be born, and I would hold you, living, breathing, part of me and part of your daddy.

9 months of pregnancy went by fast and slow. And then you arrived. So tiny and so beautiful. We put you in newborn sized clothes that were too big for you and brought you home. I remember holding up a newborn sleeper while I was pregnant and not being able to imagine holding something so tiny and being able to say "she's ours". But here you were, and once I held you in my arms, I could not begin to imagine you any other way than you were right then and there. Small and sleepy and fitting perfectly in the crook of my arm.

Days turned into weeks, weeks into months. And now you've been here, growing, chattering, sleeping, eating, crawling and now, lord help us, standing. You've been on the outside for as long as you were on the inside. Time has passed and continues on, and I find myself in awe of you - who you have become, and the pieces of you that continue to be revealed.

I read a quote on another photographer's blog I follow, Rachel Thurston, who shared something from her friend, Natalie Norton. It touched me deeply, so I hope it's ok to share here:

“You become like the people you interact with... I look at my children, and I think, “Like it or not, they’re becoming like me. Like it or not, they are modeling so much of their own future stories after the one I’m choosing to live every single day.” I pray for the courage to teach them in the only way I know how, by inviting them in- by inviting them into a story they’re proud to be a part of. And I hope that together, we can create a life story so much more meaningful than anything any of us could have ever created on our own.”


I know, right?

We are surprised by how much of us and the people we love we see in you. But it's really no surprise at all. It's nature. A long line of family who came before you for years and years, some who you will never meet here on earth, are an integral part of who you are. Because they are our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents and on and on. We are shaped from birth. We are influenced by personalities, interests, and genetics. We are partially impressionable, but I think there are parts of us that will be what they are because of who we are and who we come from.

Right now? You're a little bit feisty. I can see it in your eyes and in your smile. You know when you're being funny, or sly, or frustrated. You squack, grunt, roar, and giggle. You don't hold anything back. Of course you don't. You are untouched by the world that tells us to pacify, to be modest, and to wait. If you are curious, you touch or taste. When you're sad, you cry. When you're happy, you kick your legs in glee and laugh and squeal and bounce up and down.

You live out loud.

You are your daddy's girl, especially when you're napping, you are two peas in a pod, arms over your head, mouth slightly open, the same face, just yours is smaller and less hairy.

You are starting to eat "table food", which just means you are eating bits of what we're eating. When you really like what you're eating, you make and "omnomnom" sound as you chew. You really, really like to eat. We hope to give you a good variety of tasty things to try. If there's one thing we really love in our house, it's eating yummy food.

You are all about the kitty. Anywhere he is, you want to be. He is kind to you and chooses to just run away when he has had enough. We keep a safe distance when petting him, and so far, it has worked out well for all involved parties.

You continue to love bathtime, but pretty much hate diaper changes, getting dressed, and anything that involves lying on your back while you're awake. You want to be up, standing, moving around, crawling. You are getting really fast with the crawling.

You are a tiny ninja.

I sometimes call you "little monster". You growl and make this raspy roaring sound as you eat, play and crawl. It cracks me up and I only worry slightly that I'm destroying your communication skills be encouraging this behavior. But it's so damn cute. 

Being mobile and exploring means occasional bumps and faceplants. We're trying our best to give you space to explore and learn. Sometimes it means letting you fall and waiting to see if there are tears. A lot of the time you pick yourself up and keep on going. I have to stop myself from helping you sometimes, so you have the opportunity to learn. But I promise I will do my best to always be close by and keep you from harm's way (and from eating the cat's food).

You seem pretty independent. You can play and explore by yourself really well. I love playing with you, but I end up just watching you a lot of the time. You know when you want or need us, though, and let us know loud and clear. :)

You continue to charm strangers everywhere we go. You are a people magnet.

You're a sweetheart.

June 17, 2013

family life :: we went to the zoo

Oh, hey, it's raining again. Big shocker there, Mother Nature. While you're dumping buckets of rain on us, with a sprinkling of impressive thunder and lightning, I am sitting in front of an air conditioner wearing sweatpants, a sweatshirt and fuzzy slippers. My husband is always overheating and I thought it would be a brilliant idea to move my computer out of the cave our bedroom to the living room, and the best place for my desk happens to be next to the air conditioner. I'll deal with it. These fuzzy slippers rock.

It's been a wet, rainy spring, but we've had these in between days that turn out warm and sunny and pretty much perfect. Memorial Day was was of those perfect in-betweeners, so we took advantage and went on a family outing to the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport. Sean and I went there back in 2006 when we were freshly graduated, and were impressed with this cute little park tucked away in the north end of Bridgeport. It's small, but well kept with a nice variety of animals. It was so much fun experiencing it all over again with Lily. It seemed like she enjoyed seeing the different critters (the ones that were awake and moving around, at least), and she especially lit up when we took her into the tubes to view the prairie dogs up close and personal.

She really seems to love animals, which makes my heart happy. 

We stayed until closing and even took her on a carousel ride! I'm not sure who had more fun with that - her or me! It was an awesome family day and I can't wait to bring her to more places like this as she grows and can interact more.

awkward turtle

wheeeeeeee! uh...guys? I think I'm stuck.

Also, I do realize it's been 3 weeks since Memorial Day. I'm a little behind on life these days. It's all good. I'll catch up.