Tuesday, August 27, 2013

the blog is moving!

Surprise! The blog has a new name and a new face. You can find me at www.aprettylittlenotebook.com and read more about why :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

making room for our second-born (the material stuff)

When I was pregnant with Jack, I'm pretty sure I had the nursery and the rest of our house 100% ready for his arrival by, ohhhh, mid-July? But true to all the cliche jokes about your first-born vs. all the others, Andrew came home right at the start of the third trimester and I was all, "So...about this baby. Maybe we should name him and stuff?"

I think I was in deployment survival mode and every baby-related thought ended with me deciding that it would be better to just deal with it when Andrew got home. Needless to say, we've been in MAJOR nesting mode over here. The nursery (what had become more of a craft/storage room) needed to be cleaned out but all of those boxes needed a new home, which meant the basement and garage also needed to be cleaned out as well. We've sold stuff on Craigslist, made a bajillion trips to Goodwill and reorganized boxes that haven't been opened since we moved in together and even though it's kind of been a drag, the house feels so much lighter. I'm a fan of downsizing. Out with the junk!

So now the nursery is painted and it's just waiting for all the fun stuff like furniture and tiny diapers and baskets full of baby clothes. The nest is ready to be feathered, if you will. 

Which leads me to my next question/outloud thought: what does one need the second time around?

I started a mental list in the form of an Amazon Registry for things that I knew I was going to need but didn't want to forget about: another changing pad, another humidifier, some newborn long-sleeved onesies (a Connecticut October baby needs a lot more layers than a Charleston October baby). But what about the other stuff? Here are a few things on my list:

  • I didn't register for swaddling blankets with Jack because I had flannel receiving blankets on my list and I didn't think I'd need both. I can just swaddle him with the cheap flannel ones, duh! WRONG. No one told me about those magical, extra large blankets that you can tie your babies up in so they don't bust out of a weak swaddle at 3am and start screaming. So these are definitely on my list this time.
  • A second Boppy cover. Again, what was I thinking only having one? My Boppy stayed naked a lot of the time while the cover was being washed and when the Boppy itself was slimed...up the creek without a paddle, my friends.
  • I wish I'd thought ahead when I bought our video monitor because you can't add extra cameras to it like you can so many of the others. I really love having a video monitor and I'm not quite ready to take my eyes off Jack, so we're selling ours on eBay and upgrading to this version so we can have up to four cameras on one monitor. Technology! I got it for a good deal on eBay so now we just need the second camera.
  • Strollers. This is another area where I really, really, REALLY wish I'd done some more research. We're getting a double stroller (although I feel like we're buying another car because WOW they're expensive) and the one we picked out is actually a single stroller that can be converted into a double with a kit. Instead of getting that stroller for Jack and buying the kit now, we're selling our first stroller and our jogging stroller to come up with a teeny fraction of the cost of this new double stroller. Seriously, why are they so expensive?
  • I got a LOT of use out of our Ergo but it never quite fit right. I thought it was user error until I did some research and found that it was a common complaint of narrow-shouldered mamas. So we sold our Ergo and now I'm hoping to find a good deal on one of these Beco Geminis, which has been recommended as a good alternative. Anyone else have thoughts on that?
  • A sound machine. Our house is small and all one level and the bedrooms are close together, so I have a feeling that we might need to drown out some noise. Especially with a certain toddler on the premises who likes to scream "HAAAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!" every time Rudy comes in from outside.
Second-time mamas, what else should I be thinking of? Thankfully we're all set on clothes and linens, but is there anything else you wish you'd gotten/can't live without? Do tell.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

three kidless nights

One time, before I had a toddler, I made the statement that I didn't understand the appeal of going to a hotel resort/spa unless there were other things to do outside of the hotel itself. I mean, how boring would it be to just sit in a hotel room with nothing to do??


Needless to say, when Andrew emailed me from deployment and said he'd dreamed up this relaxing trip for us to take and to arrange for someone to take care of Jack, I fantasized about it for months and had no idea what I was looking forward to. He just promised blackout curtains and uninterrupted meals and told me that I'd find out about the rest when he came home.

You guys. This was the most laid back, restful, enjoyable time I've had in a while. Being a single parent for six months is no. freaking. joke. and I felt like a queen what with all the sleeping in and fancy dinners and wearing of dangly earrings. It was fantastic.

AND it was so romantic! Andrew scheduled our first night in Chapel Hill, since that's where we met, and we stayed at the Carolina Inn (love) and walked our college campus and ate at all of our favorite restaurants. So nostalgic. The second night we stayed at the same hotel where we had our wedding reception and even though we had plans to go to a nice dinner, we opted for Chick-fil-a and an early bedtime because we're grownups and we do what we want. The third day, went to the Umstead, this fancy pants hotel where the bathrobes feel like clouds and you can control everything from the lights to the temperature with the iPad on your nightstand so one doesn''t have to leave the bed unless it's to eat something amazing or sit outside on the patio with a stack of magazines and a mocktail. We did both.

It was the best kind of reset button. So thanks to Andrew for planning the trip and thanks to my parents for keeping the boy. He was in heaven with all the chickens and dogs and Uncle Tyler's old trains. He probably didn't even miss us.

And I vow never to knock the art of doing nothing ever again because I've tasted and seen that it is GOOD. Really, really, really good.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

the day he came back {homecoming pictures!}

I woke up at 2am the night before Andrew came home and was wide awake for the rest of the night. The anticipation was worse than what I experienced before our wedding. Now that I know what life with this guy is like, I know how much there is to look forward to and my nerves felt every bit of that emotion. I was just so excited to have him home.

That morning at home was the longest ever in the history of the world but soon it was time to put on our carefully planned outfits and head out to the water. Our first stop was where the river meets the sound, the first place you can get a glimpse of the boat as it's pulling in. As soon as I saw its sail in the distance I teared up, which wasn't at all what I'd expected. It was all just so happy. Six months is a long time, y'all.

From there we went to the pier where we waited and waited and waited for the boat to pull up. When they finally came and we could see the sailors in their dress whites waving at their families on land, everyone cheered and clapped. Jack knew his daddy was out there somewhere and kept waving and calling his name. When the tug boat that assists the sub pulled away, he started to cry for him because he thought Andrew was on that boat. But when I told him that he was still there, that he was still coming home, all was right in his world again.

Once the sailors started coming off, we waited about 15 minutes before I saw Andrew's face. The longest 15 minutes ever and the sweetest second ever when he turned and I saw that it was him. I was already crying at that point so when he grabbed me and just said "I love you so much" over and over again, all I could do was nod into his shoulder in agreement. I've said it before and I'll say it again: he's the sweetest man there is.

Jack was so overwhelmed by the crowds and the activity and the heat that he was a little cautious when Andrew picked him up. But he warmed up to him almost immediately and wanted nothing to do with me by the time we got home. For about two days, he panicked whenever Andrew left the room but now it's like we didn't lose those six months at all. I'm so thankful for that. And seeing the difference in him now compared to the time when Andrew was away has amazed me. He was meant to have his daddy around, you know?

Now we're home and doing all sorts of family things together while Andrew is on stand down and I never ever want him to go back to work. It's been such a sweet time together, all of us getting reacquainted and feeling what it's like to be a complete family. Pretty soon there will be duty days and new babies and more weeks away and we'll find the new normal in all of that, but for now I'm happy to watch my boys play in the front yard while I cook dinner. It's that ridiculously cliche June Cleaver moment that I've daydreamed about for half a year and I hope I don't ever take it for granted.

Friday, August 9, 2013

we're back!

I wish I had a video clip or sound byte of Jack saying that because it's darn cute. He squeals "Back!" any time Andrew, Rudy or I re-enter a room, like he just can't believe that we actually returned. He also likes to announce it when he's done getting his diaper changed, because he knows we'll all be so excited to have him back in our company. That kid. He's a ham.

But here we are! Andrew came home to us about three weeks ago and our little family of 4.5 (Rudy included, obviously) is settling back into post-deployment life in Connecticut after spending almost two glorious weeks in North Carolina. The whole thing - homecoming, being together, being a family - feels completely surreal. We do totally normal things like pick vegetables from the garden and go to Lowes and get Jack ready for bed, but it feels like such a special treat to be doing it together. These are the things that people have been doing all around me for the last six months and now it's my turn! It's fabulous.

Andrew's been quick to remind me that I haven't adequately kept up with the blog so there are a few more posts headed your way soon. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

operation shower

The post and pictures I promised I'd share from a month ago! Lucky you! 
All of the pictures are from the Operation Shower Facebook page, taken by Sassy Mouth Photos.

Back in June I was invited to attend Operation Shower, a non-profit that hosts baby showers for moms whose husbands are deployed. I didn't know much about it when I got the invitation but I spent approximately three seconds on their website before I decided that I would absolutely not be missing it. And it was on my birthday! If I couldn't spend it with my husband, being showered with extravagant gifts for baby brother would be a fine substitute.

It was at a fancy pants PGA golf course near Hartford and there were tons of media (including Hilaria Baldwin from Extra!) and the whole thing was just kind of surreal. For two hours, we were literally handed one amazing gift after another. There was fantastic food and pretty centerpieces and everyone who spoke was just so appreciative of what military families are doing. I try not to complain about Andrew being gone for this pregnancy, because it could be a lot worse, but it is kind of a bummer. I start the third trimester next week and he hasn't heard the baby's heartbeat, felt him move or been able to see Jack pat my belly and say "Hey baby!" And to have people recognize that and do something to make you feel loved while you deal with all of that is a really special thing. I'll never take it for granted.

And the loot, you guys. It was unbelievable. I drove away with a high chair, a bath tub, a Mamaroo, a stroller, an Ergo, a Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag and a box full of other random goodies like toys, books, cloths, diapers and bottles. It was amazing. I really still can't believe how generous they all were.

Not bad for my 27th birthday, eh? And because two girls whose husbands serve on the same boat as Andrew were there to volunteer, I even got to celebrate it with friends!

So, a big gigantic thank you to everyone who pulled this off...from the person who nominated me for it to the guy who loaded my car. It was such a special day and it'll be fun to tell this little guy about how he was loved so well by strangers.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

around here lately

I'm over here, still not blogging. LAME. There's no real reason - I just find myself soaking up what's unfolding around me and not rushing to document it. It's kind of liberating to enjoy those little bits of life without feeling guilty that it's not on camera or on the blog. Right now Jack is standing on his tippy toes at the open window, in his PJs, saying hey to the neighbor who is cutting the grass. That's the sort of thing I should find my camera for, but instead I just make a note to tell Andrew in my nightly email. And I don't even feel bad about it.


This kid is just growing and growing and every day he makes me laugh and think about how this is definitely my favorite age. I also think, usually on those same days, that I want to pull all of my hair out but that's just par for the course. He's still a keeper. He's running down the hallway and learning new words and hiding in the corner to read books and obsessed with trucks and patting my shoulder when HE gets hurt and asking for cereal every five minutes. He loves blowing kisses to the pictures of Daddy on the wall and tackle-hugging Rudy when he gets home from preschool and watching Curious George when he wakes up in the morning. He's pretty great.

The other boy will be here in roughly four months and that blows my mind. One of these days I'll start cleaning out his nursery and maybe we'll pick out a name? I feel great and aside from the fact that my pants don't fit and I have to go to the bathroom every hour on the hour, I don't even feel pregnant. You can throw rocks at me for saying that because I know how ridiculous it is, but I really do feel fantastic. Of course, next month brings the third trimester and summer temperatures so I may be singing a different tune.

My birthday was yesterday (27! woo hoo!) and in addition to sharing the day with my brother who traveled far and wide to be here, I got to attend Operation Shower. Google it and be in awe of the generosity of others. More on that later, but suffice it to say that I was thoroughly overwhelmed in the best way possible. I will also be on TV ;)

My sweet friend had her twin girls and I am D-Y-I-N-G. They are just the most precious little pink wads ever. I've been trying to find the balance between helpful friend and crazy lady who keeps coming over to hold the babies, but I almost don't care because they're just so snuggly.

We're about a month away from getting Andrew back and I think time might actually be standing still. It's close enough to be making homecoming plans and picking out dresses, but far enough away that I still have to turn my head when the couple down the street takes their baby for an evening walk because it makes me miss him too much. Raw thoughts on the Navy and deployment coming soon.

And that brings us to 7:15pm on a Wednesday evening. I'm going to heat up some leftovers and pull up The West Wing on Netflix, another reason why I haven't been blogging. But I won't apologize about that either.

Monday, June 3, 2013


This post has been rolling around for a while, I just haven't taken the time to write it. But they're words I don't want to forget, so here they are - four months later!

I'm pretty sure you've seen that picture before. It's one of my favorites. In the middle of taking some family photos when Jack was about six weeks old, he needed to eat. The photographer snapped this from afar while I sat with him on a bench at Drayton Hall and I've always treasured it. One of thousands of moments just like it, captured so perfectly and tenderly. I love it.

Jack came out a great nurser. Within seconds of the doctor handing him to me, he was rooting around like it's what he came for in the first place. I wanted to breastfeed so badly and that was one of the things I had the most anxiety about before he was born, so it was such a relief to see him get the hang of it so quickly. I'll be the first one to tell you that it was still awkward, painful and frustrating for the first few weeks, but compared to many it was easy for us. And he was never a high-maintenance or needy nurser, which made it even easier.

Soon after he turned one, we dropped the after-nap feeding. It only took a few days and he was used to it. Around 15 months, we dropped the morning feeding and he didn't even put up a fight. And all of that was done in preparation for my upcoming trip to Paris when I'd be gone for over a week. I knew that he'd either have to be weaned completely (or used to going a few days without) in order for me to leave him for that long. And so far, so good.

Adjusting the bedtime feeding was a bit more of a struggle. And it didn't really work. I noticed that if I wasn't home and Jack was with Andrew or a sitter, he went to bed without any problem. But if I was there, he expected more. So after a week of extreme protest, I gave in and decided that he wouldn't stage a sleep strike on account of my absence, at least not for the whole week. And if I came back to a baby who wasn't interested in nursing anymore, I had to be okay with that. But I wasn't going to force it before I left.

Let's talk about where I was emotionally with all of this. I loved breastfeeding. Like I said, it was easy for us, so that made it easy to love. I wasn't uncomfortable with nursing in public, so I never felt like I was missing out on things by excusing myself to feed the baby. But it was also a great way to escape the chaos of parties, family get togethers, etc. and just steal a few moments of quiet with my boy. I never minded climbing the stairs at 3am to sit in the dark with him, because that time was always so sweet. And as he got older, I welcomed the opportunity to snuggle with him since that was the only time he'd sit still anymore. I loved how convenient it was, I loved how soothing it was for him (both of us, really) and I loved knowing that my body was doing this awesome thing to provide for him.

I really didn't want to give that up. But I knew that there was a huge possibility that I'd come back from Paris and either he wouldn't be interested or I wouldn't have the supply anymore and I had to come to terms with that.

The night before I left for that trip, I was wrestling with the very recent news that I was pregnant. I decided that even more so now, I had to prepare myself for the fact that Jack would be weaned soon. I didn't know what pregnancy was going to do to my body this time around and I wasn't sure if it was something we could keep up. So when we settled into our chair that night, I assumed that it would be our last time. I cried.

I was already hormonal over the thought of having another baby and the changes that were coming our way as a result, plus I was leaving him for a week. And then there was this whole weaning thing over all of it, which is just an incredibly emotional thing. If no one has ever told you that, it's true. Prepare yourself for it.

That night, for the first time in weeks (maybe months), he fell asleep while he was nursing. The sweetest gift. I didn't put him down for a long time. I suspected it might be the last time and, in fact, it was.

When I came back he half-heartedly asked to nurse that first night, but then changed his mind and  snuggled his head into my shoulder instead. And that was it. That's been our routine ever since - we read some books and we rock for a few minutes until he's ready to go to sleep, when he points to his crib and says "night night." He'll rub my arm or face and it's just precious. I soak it up.

So that's our story. We breastfed for almost sixteen months and I'm proud of that. There are definitely times when I'm feeling all the feelings and I miss it. I miss that time with him. But I think part of being a mom is falling in love with something about your baby, only to watch it change in a blink. And then you find something else to love, until that's gone. And on and on and on. I think motherhood is the definition of bittersweet.

And that's what makes it so freaking beautiful.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

a shower for two (!) baby girls


I think we can all agree that the cute baby girl stuff outnumbers the cute baby boy stuff 10 to 1. Yes, cute boy stuff exists, but you have to look harder for it. But the pink stuff is everywhere! Headbands! Leggings! Ruffles! It's too much.

So when my Connecticut bestie found out that she's have twin girls (any day now!) I couldn't wait to throw her a shower. I knew I'd keep it simple - these are her second and third daughters so she already has a lot of what she needs. Plus, most of the guest list were ladies from the boat, which meant that there wouldn't be many husbands around the watch the kids on a Sunday afternoon. So it was drop-in, very laid back and casual, but it was perfect.

I made crab dip, spinach dip, caprese kabobs (cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil on a toothpick) and cupcakes. I served punch and set up my Keurig for a coffee bar and that was it! Simple, but more than enough for the ladies and kids we had running around. It kind of felt like a tea party :)

I marked all of the dishes with tiny cards that I decorated with pink washi tape and then attached to a clothespin.

I found the cupcake liners on Amazon - and I love the little pink pearls on top of the cream cheese frosting!

I found those little paper straws and the wooden utensils on Amazon as well. Those were a fun little addition in place of the standard plastic ware.

The coffee bar was a huge hit, especially since it was a chilly and rainy afternoon.
This is one of my favorite things to do when hosting a shower - have the guests address their own envelope! It makes it so much easier on the mama-to-be when writing all of those thank you notes after the party.

I think everyone had a great time, but I forgot to take pictures after the guests arrived. That's always how it goes, eh?

Now I'm just ready for those babies to get here so I can snuggle them. And maybe dress them up in a ruffle or two.

Friday, May 17, 2013

to jack, so i don't forget

Dear Jack,

I've been feeling sentimental about you lately, I think because your brother is on the way and I wonder how there will be room in my heart and lap for both of you. I know there will be, of course, but it's just that you're my little buddy and you have been for nineteen months (and one day) and it's hard to think that moments are coming when I can't make you feel like a priority.

I think another reason I've been so weepy when it comes to you is that you're just so darn sweet. You're certainly not like this all the time - in fact, the first few days of this week were a challenge - but I keep reminding myself that you're just learning and growing and stretching like we all do. But at your core, you are a dear. You are so loving and affectionate and every single hug or kiss or shoulder pat that you send my way makes me feel so lucky to be on the receiving end. Sometimes I feel guilty that your daddy doesn't get to soak up any of this but I have a feeling you're going to redirect a lot of this to him in a few months, so I'll take whatever I can get.

And you make me laugh all the time. Today we were driving to the aquarium and you were zoned out like you usually are in the car until Hey Ya! came on the radio and then you just came to life. You were bobbing your head and waving your hands over your head and laughing so hard that I couldn't help but do the same. You were just full of joy and I love seeing you that way.

You're growing so much and I love it, but it's hard to watch because it's happening so fast. You eat your sandwich like a big kid now, no longer needing me to break it into pieces. You can open the gate and walk up to the front door when we get out of the car. They don't make onesies that fit you anymore. And tonight when I was getting you ready for your bath, I poured a bunch of dirt out of your shoe and noticed a little farmers tan on your neck and arms and something about all of that made me feel like I was looking at a little boy, not a little baby. But I love it. I love who you are right now.

I have no idea how to be a mama to two or how my heart will stretch to accommodate that, but I know that it will happen and I hope you know that nothing will ever, ever change how much I adore you. Ever.


Friday, May 10, 2013

some stories about our second bambino (spoiler alert: we know what we're having!)

Oh hi. So apparently, I don't blog anymore? I don't know what's going on with that. There's been so much to share! But we've been busy living life and dealing with everything that comes along with it and honestly, all I want to do when I have a moment to sit and write is just sit and do something mindless instead. I usually choose to watch Food Network or the birds on my feeder, but today I choose blogging. Because there's a lot to share.

I've wanted to document this pregnancy like I did Jack's, but it's been harder because there's a Jack now. Sweet Baby Jack, with his broken leg and his recent stomach bug and his new obsession with being picked up so that he can hug me and pat my shoulder. But I certainly don't want to get to the end of this pregnancy with nothing to show for it, so here are two stories I've been wanting to share.

1. How I told my baby daddy, v2.
You can read the first version, Jack's version, here.

I was not expecting to be pregnant when I took the test two nights before I left to meet Andrew in Paris. He'd been gone less than two weeks and while we'd talked about trying to have another, we had decided in December that we'd rather wait until after deployment. Joke's on us! But I had this weird feeling that I might want to make sure that I wasn't pregnant, what with all the wine and unpasteurized cheese waiting for me in France, so I took a test before I got in the shower that night. I laughed at myself for being so ridiculous, because no way would it be positive, but at least I was being a responsible adult! Hooray! Needless to say, when that second line appeared, I stared at my drop-jawed face in the mirror for several minutes thinking WHAT IN THE WORLD OH MY GOSH. 

And that's how I found out I was pregnant. With Jack, I thought keeping the secret from Andrew for a few hours was hard, but this time I had to wait two more days AND endure an international flight. I was dying. I didn't sleep one wink on that overnight flight because I was so anxious. When we got to the airport (we being the group of girls I traveled with) we were greeted by our sailors and spent the next two hours navigating the train schedule and traveling into the city. Together. All ten of us. Not exactly the time to tell my husband about our surprise.

I'd had plenty of time to think of how I was going to tell him. I had all sorts of clever little phrases cooked up to drop that bomb, but when the time came, I was too excited and sleep-deprived to do anything but blurt it out. We were finally alone at a cafe on the corner near our hotel, where we'd just dropped our bags off at the front desk because it was too early to check in. There was no way I was sitting through lunch without telling him, so after we ordered, I told him there was something he needed to know. He looked very frightened. I smiled and told him I was pregnant. His mouth fell open, much the same way mine did when I saw the test, and after a few seconds of that he looked like he'd just won the lottery. And he told me over and over how awesome this is. And even though I'd had some concerns and fears up until that point, his reaction was all I needed to be excited, too. Because this is awesome.

2. How I told him what we're having.
We knew that the delivery of the gender news to Andrew would likely be via email. It wasn't ideal, but my OB wouldn't do the ultrasound sooner than 20 weeks and there weren't any scheduled port stops around that time (when I could at least tell him on the phone), so what can you do? But when, two days before they pulled into port this week, I found out about a private ultrasound clinic down the road that does gender sonograms any time after 16 weeks, I made the appointment. I knew what we were having when Andrew Skyped me the next day, but he had no idea I'd even found this place. Here's how our conversation went:

Andrew: That's a big smile.
Me: Because I have a surprise!
Andrew (a little bit hesitant): Okaaaay?
Me: I found a place that will do an ultrasound.
Andrew (smiling a little bit): Okaaaay?
Me: And I had one yesterday.
Andrew (smiling a lot): Okaaaaaaay?
That's when he threw his head back and started laughing. When he'd composed himself, he told me (again) how awesome this is and I completely, absolutely agree. It's fantastic. 
And so, that's how I told Andrew that he's having another son. We're so excited to have another boy and to give Jack a little brother. I think they'll be buddies. My sweet little boys.

My friends, does that make up for the absence? :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

the one with the (not) broken leg (or foot or something)

On Sunday morning, we skipped church in favor of rest and the opportunity to enjoy the nice weather at the park with some friends. I was going down the slide with Jack, a good mommy moment in my eyes, and on the "last time before we have to go home for lunch!" his ankle/leg got twisted. He cried, but no more than usual, and calmed down pretty soon after we got in the car. But as the day went on I noticed he wouldn't put any weight on that foot. I made a call to the doctor and she told me to take him to the ER because it was probably broken. Come to find out, our little mama-Jack bonding time on the slide is a common cause of broken bones. File that under: things they should tell you BEFORE you break your kid's leg.

At the ER, he was that boy who was waving at everyone who walked through the door. He was not at all the picture of a child in pain. Except for when he had to go in for xrays with a bunch of strangers because I'm pregnant and couldn't go in the room. We both cried pretty hard during those two and a half minutes. But other than that, he was sweet and friendly and patient.
 His hand is blurry because he's doing the PB&J dance. Bringing that sandwich might have been the main reason he was so good.

The xray showed no fracture, but the doctor assured me that it was probably a hidden break since kids that young don't favor one foot or the other unless it's broken. They put him in a splint and we were sent home to wait 2-3 days for a visit with the orthopedist.

And yesterday, the orthopedist said she doesn't actually think it's broken. Her words were "it could be something or it could be nothing" so I feel GREAT about that (sarcasm). We're to keep doing what we've been doing and come back in a week, when she said she expects him to be running around like nothing happened. One can hope.

Aside from the occasional impatience that one feels when his or her leg is out of commission, he's actually been great. I let my mommy guilt get the best of me on Tuesday and I bought way too many puzzles and sit-friendly activities. We've been taking a lot of walks in the stroller, watching a lot of puppy videos on YouTube and I've even been contemplating getting him a pet fish because I just want to make him happy. He's such a joyful kid and it's been hard seeing him unable to run around and play the way he likes, especially since he has no idea why he can't. I'm just praying for a good report next week so we can get back to normal and if we're looking at a few more weeks of this, I'm just praying for lots of grace and patience.

Oh and also, send wine.

Friday, April 19, 2013

on being a mama when bad things happen

Andrew and I had been married just over a year when we went to Washington, DC. It was my first time and I was completely jazzed about it, so we packed as many touristy things into that long weekend as we could. I remember standing outside of the Capitol Building when we overheard a conversation between a man and his daughter, who was sitting on his shoulders. She wanted to know what the guards were carrying. "Guns," he said. She asked why. "To keep us safe." She asked why again. Andrew and I talked about how hard those conversations must be and how it's not fair that we have to have them with our kids. I never really shook it off.

This news from Boston and everywhere else in the world is wearing me down. I've turned off the TV and the radio and I'm trying to limit my time on the computer because it'll suffocate you. You'll take your kid to the park and start to wonder, "Am I safe out here in the open?" and that's just no way to live. So we turn it off and we keep on living.

But I can't help but want to gather him up and take him into hiding, not to protect him from it but to protect him from the idea of it. How do you talk to your kid about stuff like this? The bad things that happen because they just do and the bad things that happen because people are evil. It's everywhere, every day, and soon it'll be my kid on Andrew's shoulders asking us why. Deep down, I think that's the part of parenting I've always dreaded.

There's a Mr. Rogers quote that keeps popping up this week and I can't read it without tearing up. He said his mama told him that when bad things happen, always look for the helpers because they're everywhere. And they are. On the street comforting bombing victims they don't even know. Showing up to West, TX with trucks full of bottled of water and blankets in the middle of the night. Pushing a mama's groceries out to the car in the rain because she's got a crying baby with her.

That's what I want Jack to see. I want him to know that for every bad thing that happens, something good happens, too. We might have to look harder but it's there. And I want him to be the good. I want him to be a helper. I want him to always love first.

For now, I'm thankful that he's blissfully unaware. I'm thankful that we're safe and healthy when none of that is ever guaranteed. I'm thankful that he ran up to me at the park this morning, put his hands on my face and kissed me - just because he felt like it. Then he ran off again in search of his next adventure.

And I hope whatever that is is always there.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

baby's first day at the beach

We've been soaking up the North Carolina sunshine and hanging out with family all week and we've got two more weeks before we have to head back north. We're in a complete state of bliss right now.

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