Tag Archives: mamahood

Five for Friday

Real talk: I want to throw some Friday fluff at you today, but I am not feeling particularly warm or fluffy these days. The constant, every day-ness of parenting a toddler and caring for a newborn has caught up to me big time. I am working on it, minute by minute. While we trudge on over here, I still wanted to share some of the bright spots…because they’re always there, aren’t they? Let’s keep looking for them.

1. A dinner like this can only mean one thing: my husband is on vacation and is doing the cooking.

photo 1

2. Addison’s first roller coaster. She was a champ—that thing was legit for a three-year-old!—and I was so proud of her. She went on it two times in a row, little daredevil. Sometimes Most of the time I don’t feel especially courageous, but I want to make sure that my girl knows her bravery is always seen and always celebrated.

coaster tailscoaster

3. Speaking of rolling…

asher roll

I definitely laid this little bean down on his back and found him like this in the morning. He’s incredibly confused once he makes it all the way over.

4.When you get married young, you are so blinded by puppy love and optimism that you can’t possibly imagine a life not filled with romance and sunsets and butterflies. And then you get real jobs, move a handful of times, have two kids and wake up realizing holy crap we are grown-ups and parents and old and different. What I would wish for every single couple embarking on that journey is that when they wake up to all those realities five, ten or twenty years down the road, they would be SO OVERWHELMINGLY THANKFUL for who they fell in puppy love with. That who they married for the rainbows turns out to be exactly who they need when it rains. This man is who I needed when I was crazy enough to jump out of a plane, who I needed when we were crazy enough to bring two tiny people into this world, and who I will always need when the crazy catches up to me.

c addie pool3

There. That has to make up for not doing an anniversary post in May, right?

5. This little boy and his profoundly simple wisdom.

swimming

Five for Friday

My mother in law is in town for a quick, impromptu visit to meet our little man and Clayton is off today, so my normal lazy Friday is out the window. Let’s jump in so I can get back to our holiday weekend.

1. When the in-laws are here, it’s time to dust off those pots and pans and present a finely crafted illusion of domestication. At least the rouse provided my family with one full, well balanced meal this week.

 mil meal

Sorry if that half cooked meat grosses you out. I am imagining my pregnant self seeing that picture, and, well, gag fest. Still not changing it, though.

2. My dad took the day off Monday, and we took the troops for lunch and exploring at the park. This is a park we frequent, and I’ve always assumed the “beach” was saltwater. My mom thought it might be fresh water, so naturally we Googled and it turns out it does get fed by a lake on one end and Tampa Bay on the other. I say all that because saltwater = no alligators and fresh water = alligators. Thanks a lot, Mom, for that new red alert at our favorite park and paddleboard locale. I’m hoping the water is more brackish and the only possible threats would be bull sharks (which I am always on the lookout for while on the board because I would exaggerate the mess out of that story) and, worst of all, razor burn after getting in too soon after shaving. This one I can actually attest to after Monday.

pawpaw addie park

Ain’t no nap like a picnic table nap ‘cuz a picnic table don’t stop.

Or something like that.

table nap

3. Major Gap sale happening. In the store, the clearance sections were marked down an additional 50%. Hello, $5 kids clothes. My finder’s fee was an outfit for myself.

4. We went to the children’s museum this morning.

musem view ig

I could talk about how fun it was and how we stumbled on a secret patio overlooking the University of Tampa for lunch, which is true, but the reality is that we couldn’t find Addison for several minutes. I don’t know exactly how long it was because the seconds stretch on for eternities piled on top of eternities when that happens. It was probably close to 10 minutes. If anything like this has happened to you, 1. please let me know so I feel less like an absolute failure as a mother and 2. you know how long 10 minutes can be. I can’t talk more about it because it’s still too fresh and I can feel the remnants of that terror lingering in my wobbly legs and fingers.

5. I don’t want to end on that note because THANK GOD Addison is home, in her bed, napping peacefully. Instead, let’s get frivolous and celebrate this national treasure that starts Sunday! In related news, Florida is becoming a bit of a hot spot for great white shark sightings. Because gators and stingrays and pythons and panthers weren’t enough. We caught ourselves one a few years ago.

shark week

It was a wild one.

Have a festive July 4th! I hope the hot dogs are delicious and the fireworks are spectacular and, if you have kids or a dog, are over by 9 p.m.

An al fresco summer

This weekend we got out of the house more than my reclusive tendencies have been allowing lately. Friday night we were considering going out for an early dinner, but Addison snoozed for longer than expected and we got lazy. Enter a crazy idea from Mama: picnic dinner at the park.

We picked up some food and headed to a shaded park (because it was still 85 degrees at dinner time) with some grand plans of summer fun. With the exception of two falls with subsequent meltdowns, one flat on the mulch tantrum, one bruised cheek, three ant bites on my foot, one mosquito bite on the infant, one wasted kids meal and an hour late bedtime, it was a complete success.

park dinner

Despite the inevitable difficulties, I keep thinking, “This is it. These are the nights and moments that you will look back on. What will you remember?” I know my life is not the brazen string of exploring and adventures I once imagined. I am happy I had my fair share of those and don’t truly believe I’m fully done with that brand of trekking either.

For right now, though, the exploring hovers close to a suburban, single family home. My adventures involve a packed SUV instead of an overstuffed backpack and overflowing passport.

But these days are no less memorable. In many ways, they are more so. And I want to remember a husky laugh echoing from the swings, a breathless “Mommy, look at me touching the sky!” I want to soak in a summer night that radiates the thrill of breaking from routine, to take advantage of days that pour sunlight over the witching hours and draw us out of a physical and mental hibernation.

I want to borrow my daughter’s immediate agreement to new ideas: “Sure!” And then go. Do. Create. Swing, climb and jump. Maybe not across the world, maybe in no way that garners attention or envy. But in our way, the way that will linger in our minds throughout any looming winters. In the way that these four souls will remember long after the mulch has been washed from stringy, sweaty hair and the ant bites have healed and the bruises have faded and so has the thrill of playgrounds or hanging out with your parents on a Friday night.

addie clayton park2

So yes, it was muggy and strenuous at times and my toes itch like no one’s business right now, but it was a really good summer night.

Life Lately

Since we’re approaching four weeks with our new little tenant, I was thinking about how we’re adjusting to all the new. As anticipated, the first week with Asher wasn’t really an accurate gauge of true life. He was still all “what the WHAT is going on?!” shell shocked and didn’t make a whole lot of noise. His temperament is slowly changing, and while he’s definitely not a screamer, he seems to be particular. So far he does not enjoy the swing, bouncer, car seat or bassinet for more than a few minutes at a time. That basically exhausts all of our baby soothing and baby sleeping resources, with the exception of my two arms and two other appendages. Nights are unpleasant for Mama.

We’re already becoming second time parent stereotypes, throwing caution to the wind with things like stomach sleeping (usually only during the day), using a pacifier at two and a half weeks and taking the little guy out and about.

I don’t know if it’s the second baby thing or because my labor was so different this time around (birth story is in the works), but I’m finding recovery much more manageable this go around. With Addison, I didn’t even feel like going for a walk around the block until nearly two weeks after she was born. Before Asher was three weeks old, we’d been to multiple doctor appointments, Target runs and park trips. And we’re getting daily walks, either just the two of us or with the whole fam. If I’m not careful, I may do something absurd like consider having another one of these nuggets.

MTA 053

Life is only now starting to resume a little normalcy. The week that Clayton went back to work, my mom came to help on the three days that I had both kids. Unless my dad and I plan to share custody of her, I don’t think that plan will work for the long term, unfortunately.

Thankfully, I’m feeling ready for the challenge of finding our new normal. After wallowing in self pity and exhaustion during late pregnancy, I am so excited to have my energy returning and actually feel motivated, rather than obligated, to be awake and active. I love getting down on the floor to play with Addison again, I look forward to running errands as a family on the weekends. I forgot how vastly different it feels to live in a non-pregnant body. Though I have no idea when they will fit into the new schedule, I am also stoked about taking on some new workouts when I get the green light.

Pregnant work out: lift feet on top of cooler, place feet on ground, take out more water from cooler, repeat.

MTA 083

Basically, I am sort of annoyingly optimistic right now and I ain’t mad about it. We’ll see how long this mood can compete against zero sleep. 

Five for Friday

It’s barely still Friday, so let’s get to it. I wish I had more exciting tidbits to share, but life is baby-centric and therefore, so is this weekly wrap-up.

1. These sweatpants.

sweatpants

The last month of my pregnancy, almost nothing I wore was comfortable, not even my maternity pants. Clayton and I made a trip to Sam’s to stock up on bulk quantities of essentials pre-baby and these were a total impulse buy. I’d actually talked myself out of getting them, but at one point I was waiting for Clayton and Addison to finish their wild goose chase for frozen lasagna, and I decided to give them a shot. I went back over to the clothes and picked up both large and medium sizes for before and after baby. I have worn them almost every single day since then. This could be way off base, but I think they’re totally cute to wear out in public and have worn them to the park and out on our walks. I am debating picking up more colors.

2. We are deep in fervent prayer that this works and 5 a.m. wake ups will be a distant memory soon.

photo 2 (2)

3. My play dough talents continue to improve…

photo 5

leaving someone’s mind totally blown…

photo 2

while someone else remains unimpressed.

photo 4

4. I straightened my hair for the first time in…two months? Six months? This decade? Who even knows at this point. So, selfie obvi. Addison offered me the greatest compliment by saying I looked like Pocahontas. Minus the fondness for fringe and unfortunate affinity for forbidden love.

photo 3 (2)

5. Took the Tula out for a short test drive! Baby heads are what life’s all about, amirite?

tula

What life’s not all about is baby throw up all over your sheets at 3 a.m.

As for this weekend…Go Bolts!

Five for Friday

Old pros that we are, this week has been surprisingly low key. Despite having appointments or events every day, we are managing well. But I am not about to get lulled into thinking we got this or anything. On the contrary, I am just shy of terrified of Clayton going back to work next week. He has been a superstar with Addison and around the house; she is going to be quite disappointed waking up to my old mug Monday morning. To forget any of that is happening, let’s chat about this week.

1. My view in the hospital. Not complaining.

Asher Clayton hospital Much lips.

2. My new view at night. Not complaining.

asher bassinet

3. We had a quiet lunch at our place for Mother’s Day with my family. Can’t really top the gift I got this year. I still don’t fully believe I have childREN.

noas mothers day2 4. Just about the last thing you feel like doing six days after giving birth, but Asher’s close up was calling.

makeupWe had newborn photos taken and I had to determine how drug store concealer could help contour the five month baby tummy I’m still toting around. Towards the end I had to call it because my stomach muscles flat out refused to cooperate with one more second of standing.

5. Ever since we downgraded our cable, I like to watch my stories at 7 p.m. every night. I can feel the gray hairs coming in with each spin.

wheel of fortune

Hopefully this weekend will be laid back, maybe even involving some pool time for the Noas that have the all clear to submerge themselves in water.

Five for Friday

I don’t know that I’ll be able to enlighten you with five exciting things from this week. There has been little excitement; mostly blinking in disbelief at Addison’s potty accidents and “resting Mommy’s eyes” during Disney movies.

1. Reading this article should cement my place as Mother of the Year.

lying down mom

At least that article exists and had 40 contributors. I’m not alone in my lethargy!

2. When I did manage to reposition myself upright, Addison practiced her newest skills: gentle baby/blanket rearing mixed with intense archery. I don’t know where my kid learns half the things she knows.

A babyA bow arrow

3. And I practiced my latest skills: play dough (really just “dough” because it’s generic) crafting.

dough2 Check out that cupcake, which ended up being too realistic because Addison licked it. A lot.

4. “Beauty and the Beast” is now officially in the 12 times a week rotation, so I tried to mix it up by playing the special features disc. Addison was over it within seconds, but I was giddy with excitement for the Celine Dion/Peabo Bryson duet of the original 1991 “Beauty and the Beast” track. Took me right back to rocking out to my parents’ favorite easy listening radio station in the back seat of the ol’ Buick LeSabre.

celineceline2

All I wanted in life was a perm that tight.

5. Technically, this was my last week of work before “maternity leave,” a silly term for a freelancer, really. In actuality, it’s “two months without income and praying you don’t find someone else while I’m gone leave.” In usual freelance fashion, people suddenly remembered they did have projects that needed my TLC. Many projects, in fact. So I’ll probably be working into the beginning of next week, but as long as the tiny VIP in utero agrees, that $ound$ good to me.

comp and donut

As long as I’m covered on the snack front, we’re golden.

Have a wonderful weekend enjoying the active living and parenting that I most definitely will not be participating in!

Showered Up: The Sequel

This weekend my more-talented-than-she-realizes mom and some dear friends threw me the loveliest, dinosauriest baby shower. I wasn’t sure of the etiquette surrounding second baby showers; this is my first second baby. But they generously offered, and I tried to make myself scarce during the planning and prep, leaving my bedroom 10 minutes before go time.

decor collage

I was nervous about how I’d fare in that kind of social setting given my bouts of anxiety over the past year, so I agreed to/jumped at the idea of having it at my house. Everything was so thoughtful and the morning ended up feeling completely laid back, even though I was wearing eyeliner. There were about 20 family members and close friends. We ate delicious quiche, banana bread, croissants (with chicken salad for those not currently vehemently opposed to poultry) and cupcakes. Carbs are a girl’s best friend.

My hostesses accommodated my persnickety wishes about games—not many, as little interaction as possible—and presents—they left it up to me to open them in front of everyone or not. By the time a natural gift-opening break appeared, I was feeling swell, so I made all the aunts and grandmas happy by cooing over little boy onesies and baby socks. Which wasn’t hard because omg so tiny and cute and blue and new and we really didn’t have any boy clothes and this one has a monster on the butt and I think I might cry it’s so adorable.

I was a straight up pro out there.

fam collage1

Remarkably, even the ongoing, very public “she’s so much bigger this time/no, she is so much smaller this time” debate didn’t faze me. Because it’s clearly acceptable to argue over the state of someone’s physical appearance in front of said person when they are at their most physically and hormonally vulnerable. Now I’m wondering if a party goer secretly spiked the beverage jug with some liquid valium. And to that guest I say, THANK YOU, KIND LADY.

fam collage2

The shower also marked a much anticipated lull in pre-arranged activity up until Falcor’s arrival. It was sitting on the calendar with glorious, unspoiled, quadratic white space behind it. Granted, we’ve already filled in like half of those once open dates with potential commitments, but the idea of them filled me with joy and made the shower all that more exciting.

I can’t thank my mom enough for rolling with my nonsensical, multiple personality texts and conversations regarding décor, games and guest lists. She knows me and made this day as stress-free as humanly possible, mainly because she took all of that stress on herself, striking a miraculous balance between my antisocial, pretentious ways and the normal, generalized expectations of the rest of society. Not an easy task, and I adore her for the effort she put into achieving it.

nat mom

So much belly touching for a modest introvert.

And my pals who each have several babies to care for, homes to manage and crazy schedules of their own who graciously gave time they didn’t have and brain power they didn’t need to spare to make this a really beautiful day.

Up next: one nursery, one name and a whole lotta napping.

Recap of my baby shower for Addison here. I guess I like those earrings. Feel free to play along with the “she’s huge! she’s tiny!” game. It’s my favorite. 

It’s going to be okay.

“Mama, it’s going to be okay.”

I looked at him, blank faced, my scattered, frazzled mind slow on the uptake. His gaze didn’t falter.

It’s going to be okay,” he said again, softer but with more conviction.

I offered a smile that I’m sure we both knew to be insincere, unable to reply as the tears began to sting the backs of my eyes. I stopped my cart in the middle of the parking lot to make a desperate grab for my sunglasses before this kind man and anyone else around me witnessed the ensuing breakdown. I made it to the car with heavy, hot tears moistening my cheeks. I lifted a screaming child into her car seat and strapped her safely inside as she slapped at me over and over again with two helicopter arms and hands sticky with ice cream. I tugged at the straps out of habit, ensuring that she was secure. Held tight.

After loading the few things I was able to purchase from my mile long list in the back of the car, I slammed the door, drowning out the cries. I trudged to the nearest cart return, one aisle over, thankful for the respite despite the black heat radiating from the concrete and the uncomfortable waddle any walking requires these days.

I began to drive away, but the tears were relentless. So I stopped at a space at the edge of the parking lot, my unhappy, hysterical girl already asleep behind me, and I gave in. For a short five minutes, I let myself wallow and cry and eat my toddler’s teddy grahams.

As the weeks of this pregnancy fly by, the days are so endlessly long. But this is what we do as mamas. We keep our children safe when they are hell-bent on ripping our eyes out. We keep our children protected when they have no clue of the danger we have prevented. We take five minutes and give them the other 1,345 each day.

So whatever season you may be in,
Rolling out of bed to feed that newborn,
Restraining flailing two-year-old arms on the floor of the grocery store,
Loading the last box before he pulls out of the driveway for college,
Pleading for that one blue line on the test to turn to two,

I just want YOU to know,
Mama, it’s going to be okay.