Monday, October 24, 2011

Can't Blame Him Really

What can I say?

The kid loves sparkly shoes.

Can you blame him?

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Know, I Know

I haven't posted in a week.  I think I needed a break.  If you have a blog then you know how all consuming keeping up with it can be.  You worry that if you don't post, you'll lose your readers.  You worry that if you do post, your readers won't like it.  You become obsessed with things like hashtags and page views and Klout and followers.  I just needed a breather.  I haven't read any blogs in a week.  I haven't been on twitter in a week - okay, maybe I was on twitter a little, but hardly. 

If you don't have a blog, then let me explain it.

Every moment of every day I am thinking, "How do I turn this into a blog post?"  Examples?  Okay...
-Freddie says "a beet" for feet and he either says it funny like "Hey, look I  have feet, isn't that funny?!?!?" or very sad like "Oh my goodness, please take this blanket off my feet before they suffocate."  Do I put a funny or touching spin on that?
-Ainsley often talks like she's a grown up.  Pulling out words like "Ridiculous," "Flattering," "Apparently," "Absolutely."  Do I save all these little stories up and do one According to Ainsley post or do I spread them out over the next month?

So you see, blogging sometimes takes over my life.  Other than viewing every action as a possible blog post, I also spend obscene amounts of time at work reading and commenting on other blogs.  I'm pretty sure that's not why they pay me.

I needed a break.  I needed to get back to just actually being present in the moment that Freddie cries because his socks are strangling his feet or Ainsley says something like "Mommy, it is absolutely ridiculous that you are apparently flattered by that!"

But look, I went and blogged about it.  Shame on me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

For My Girls

Remember when making friends was so easy?  If Ainsley walks by a child her age in the store she calls him/her a friend.

It gets harder as we get older.  Afraid we won't fit in.  Afraid to put ourselves out there.

When you go away to college, it seems kind of easy again.  Because you're all in the same boat.  Away from home for the first time.  No parent to set the rules.  A sea of new faces.

I made my best friends in college, I'm not sure I realized it at the time.  But here I am, 13 years later and I'd do just about anything to see them.  Including a whirlwind tour of Eastern Virginia.

Last weekend, I packed the kids in the car and took off (by myself - Read that again...without Clif). 

First stop...Julie.

Ainsley and Julie's daughter Katherine

Julie's youngest daughter, Claire

I met Julie when we were 19 years old.  It seems like a thousand years ago.  I wish that all my actual photos from those days were not in storage so I could scan them in and show you, but these will have to do.

Me and Julie at her bachelorette's very likely I am not sober in this picture.

Julie was wild enough to party all night but responsible enough to always make it to her 8 o'clock classes.
Julie was stunningly beautiful with her dark features but sweet like the girl next door.
Julie always knew what she wanted and always seemed to get it.
Julie was always satisfied with whatever life dealt and I rarely heard her complain.

Me and Julie St. Patty's day 2006

We spent the summer after our junior year together.  We worked at the same restaurant, lived down the street from one another, and did everything together.  I used my fake ID for the first time that summer.  We had sleep overs like we were 9 years old.  We worked doubles and triples at the restaurant just to have the money to go out to a bar afterwards.

Me and Julie 2005

We lived together after college, when we were just learning what the world was really about.  There were some really good times and some really rocky times...but in the end, here we are. 

Next stop...Carrie.

Carrie's kids - Addie and Hayes

Grayson, Ainsley, Addie, Hayes, Freddie

I have to say that I don't really remember the first time I met Carrie.  I don't remember being introduced to her or anything...but I just know that it feels like we've always been friends.  I don't really remember a time in college without her.

Me and Carrie, 2006

Carrie was loving and affectionate.
Carrie's smile could light up a room.
Carrie was fun and silly and always up for a good time.
Carrie wore her heart on her sleeve and I think that's what makes me love her most.

Me and Carrie, pregnant with Ainsley and Addie

Carrie and I were pregnant at the same time.  I mean the Exact. Same. Time.  We gave birth to beautiful baby girls 8 days apart.  We can never make it to the other's birthday parties because of this.  Carrie was the only friend I talked to when I miscarried.  I can go for years without talking to Carrie (and we did once - but I'm not sure why) and feel like we've only been apart for an hour.

Me and Carrie at her wedding, 2005

When Carrie laughs - like really laughs - she sounds like a sprinkler (she'll hate that I said that).  I will forever call her Carrie J no matter what her last name is.  I've never met anyone more in love with a cat (RIP Boo Boo).  It was actually a visit to Carrie's house, and her cat, my senior year of college that made me realize how allergic I was.

Bonus visit...Shanna.

Shanna's son, Grayson

Shanna, Carrie and I were all pregnant at the same time.  Ainsley was born first,
then Addie a week later and Grayson  3 months after that.

I often see Shanna when I visit Carrie.  She lives a couple of hours in the opposite direction, so we use Carrie's as a meeting spot.

Me and Shanna, 2005

I do remember the first time I met Shanna.  We were pledging the same sorority and my roommate was gone for the weekend.  Everyone I knew had pledged a sorority that semester...a different sorority than the one I had joined.  So I called Shanna and her roommate Leah to go to dinner.  I am so not good at doing things like that...but turned out to be a good thing.  We ended up going to a neighboring all boys college and Shanna and I spent the majority of the evening in the corner taking shots and telling our life stories.

Me and Shanna, 2005

Shanna was brilliant and so pretty.
Shanna always made me laugh or cry the hardest.
Shanna had a crazy life but was always rock solid when I needed her.
Shanna was never mean or judgemental, always accepting.
Shanna rolled with the punches, never knocked down by what life threw at her.

Me - whoa pregnant and swollen bridesmaid - and Shanna at her wedding in 2007

Meeting Shanna was like finding a soul mate.  We became inseparable.  I love her like I love my sister.  I think she's the only person who is completely honest with me and I don't hate her for it - and vice versa.

It was revitalizing and amazing spending the weekend with these ladies and all their beautiful babies.  I'm so lucky to have met them as girls, watched them grown into women and now see them as mothers.  It's really a beautiful thing and though we live far apart, I hope our kids always love each other, that we meet each others grand kids and we get together for drinks when we're 90.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Know it's Time

I love breastfeeding.  Some people think I'm crazy, but I love it.  When I first became a mom, I was determined to make it work.  It was hard at first, and I hated it that first month.  I remember those first few weeks thinking "Can I really do this for a year?"  I started thinking that maybe it would be okay if I just lasted 6 months.  Even that seemed impossible.  But by about 6 weeks Ainsley and I had settled in and I started to enjoy it.

When her first birthday rolled around we were no where near ready to stop.  Quickly her feedings decreased and by the time she was about 14 months she was only nursing before bed.  I went out for my birthday with some friends.  When I pumped, I got less than 1/2 an ounce total.  That was the end.  I nursed her and knew it would be the last time.  I may have cried.

Freddie was easy.  He latched on the moment I held him and he never looked back.  He loved nursing and his love only grew stronger as he grew older.  At 12 months, he was still nursing 5-6 times a day.  I've never been one to push a strict feeding schedule.  I've always nursed on demand.  However, Freddie's demands were frequent and violent.  We went through about a month where if I didn't whip it out the moment he crawled in my lap he'd kick, scream and hit me.  We got past that...first by completely stopping any night feedings.  Then I stopped nursing him at all during the day...only at nap and bed times.  Then I took away the nap nursings.

All that took quite a bit of time.  Finally, about 2 months ago we were down to just nursing before bed time.  I decided I would go until 18 months and then we were done.

Then, of course, things come up.  Two weekends out of town immediately following his 18 month mark, did not bode well for weaning.  I knew that would be the case, so I decided I'd wait until this coming weekend to stop.  He'd be just shy of 19 months.  I wanted to do it on a weekend so if we had a screaming toddler all night long, I could sleep it off the next morning.

Tonight, I have a work function to attend.  I won't be home until way past bed time.  So Clif will be pulling night duty.  There won't be any nursing and he hasn't taken a bottle since he was 10 months old.  I think it would be cruel and counter productive to nurse him tomorrow night and then stop Friday.

Last night, I rocked and nursed my 27.5 lb, almost 19 month old baby for the last time.  His feet now dangle well past my knees.  His arm now reaches around my back.  His legs don't curl into my stomach any more.  His legs run and jump and kick and climb.  His hands don't ball tight in fists any more.  His hands explore and pull and throw and clap and blow kisses.

I drew it out longer than normal.  I know it was for me more than him.  Starting today, my body is all mine again.  For the first time in 5 years I'm not growing or nourishing or sustaining a little person - or trying to do so.  And it will be awhile before I do it again.

I nursed him all the way to sleep, which I never do anymore.  I kissed him more and hugged him longer before placing him in his crib.  Sometimes it's so hard to let go.  So difficult to let them grow.  I know it's time to release this last thing keeping him small and embrace the little boy he's becoming.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Just a Guest

Clif and I have been to lots of weddings.  I mean LOTS of weddings.  I can't count how many weddings we've been to, but one year before we were even engaged we went to 10...5 of which one of us were in.

Between the ages of 25 and 28 everyone you've ever met gets married.  Then you get a break.  And then 3 out of 4 of your younger siblings get married within 1 year!  And you and your kids are in all those requires a very skilled act of juggling. 

Last summer, Clif was the best man and Ainsley was the flower girl in Cam and Amanda's wedding.  I had my hands full with a 3 month old who was breastfeeding around the clock.

Exactly one year ago this Saturday I was the matron of honor in my sister's wedding.  Ainsley was the flower girl.  Clif was a groomsman.  And Freddie was pure cuteness!  He didn't have an actual role in the wedding, but he was there and still breastfeeding most of the time.

Five months ago I was a bridesmaid, Clif was a groomsman, Ainsley was a flower girl and Freddie was a ring bearer in Caitlyn and Oliver's wedding.

As a bridesmaid or groomsman you have a lot to do the day of the, makeup, hang out with the bride/groom, participate in weekend plans with the wedding party...that is not easy to do with two children who also have to be dressed and ready to walk down the aisle.

Not that we weren't honored to be involved in all three weddings...we were, but it's not the carefree, easy time it was before kids.

Last weekend we went to a wedding and...wait for it...none of us were in it!!!  Clif's cousin got married in Connecticut.  We took a long weekend, hung out with Cameron, Amanda, Caitlyn and Oliver and went to the wedding on Saturday.

It was a pretty good time.  However, weddings?  Not the same when you've got kids.  In my younger days, I spent the first couple hours of the reception getting a bit tipsy so I could spend the last hour or so dancing.

Now, we spent the first hour running circles around the empty dance floor, then passed out in our seats for the rest of the evening.

But it was still a good time and a good excuse to wear our prettiest dress.
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