Friday, January 25, 2013

"On The Night You Were Born"

We just had a moment. Landon and I did.

We woke up this morning and he started sneezing, and his nose started running, and I started cursing because we literally have not left our house all week. We've gone NO where. So the fact that he apparently STILL managed to catch something, just really grinds my nerves.

So after not wanting to eat much breakfast, he brought me an armful of books, crawled up in my lap, snuggled in, and we started reading.

We have read "On The Night You Were Born" by Nancy Tillman before. A couple times, tops. It isn't filled with cows that he can moo at, or babies that he can kiss, so it's not one of his absolute favorites. But reading it today, I realized that it is, hands down, one of my favorites.

If you haven't read it, or you don't have it for your child, please, go buy it, and have a moment like Landon and I had together this morning.

Feel every word. Relate to every word. And if you're anything like me, cry over every word.

I won't sit here and type out the whole book, although, I really should so you get my point. But, it starts with Pslams 139 on the first page: "For you are fearfully and wonderfully made". I kick myself a little every time I walk into Landon's room and realize that this verse isn't displayed SOMEWHERE in his room. I've vowed to fix that, and to make sure that any future babies also have it in theirs. Because really, is it not the absolute truth?

I didn't even get through the first page without realizing that I hadn't paid close enough attention to this book the first few times we read it. And it took me back to that fateful night of May 19, 2011, which in some ways, was probably the worst, scariest night of my life. But in every single way that matters, it was the absolute best night I will ever have. I've already written his birth story, so I won't go down that long road again, even though every second of it all is replaying in my head right now. How did we get from there, to this TODDLER that will be TWO in four months? FOUR MONTHS!!!! TWO!!! I have FOUR months to plan a kick ass Diego party for my TWO YEAR OLD. But that's another story.

Annnnnyway. The first page, I have to share.
"On the night you were born, 
the moon smiled with such wonder 
that the stars peeked in to see you
and the night wind whispered,
"Life wil never be the same."
Because there had never been anyone like you...
ever in the world."

It goes on, for 14 more beautiful, heart wrenching pages. And on every page, I felt like good ol' Nancy Tillman was talking right to Landon and me. Mamas, please, do yourself a favor, if you don't have it already, go get this book. And be smarter than me, and put it up somewhere where little hands can't get it and destroy it. Thankfully, we only have a bent corner, but after this mornings "moment", it will be put in a special place. Maybe it will become our new tradition, to read it every morning, or every night, on his birthday. Maybe at exactly 9:21pm, so we can experience together, exactly what we experienced that night. Sounds like an amazing plan to me. 

"Heaven blew every trumpet, and played every horn, on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Yep. We finally found it. Peace. Ahhhhh.

A few posts back, I talked about the fact that we were at a crossroads, and we had lots of choices to make. And those choices felt monumental, and we felt like we were sure to screw it up somehow.

But. We had an ah-ha moment, finally, and our choices have been made, and I know, without a doubt in my mind, that we have made all the RIGHT choices. I know I said before that there weren't "right" choices and "wrong" choices, and I still believe that. But I also believe that there was a "right choice for us", and we found it. It took a looooooot of talking, some yelling, some tears, loooooots of frustration, but we both finally realized, that we actually agreed. GASP! Crazy, I tell ya. But it's true. And it feels damn good.

So with our peace and our choices, came more choices, but the fun kind. I have been staring at paint chips on my walls for almost a week now, agonizing over what color looks the best in the light at each time of day. I think I've got it figured out, but...well....the sun just shifted, so my whole mind set might too.

In other news, it's freezing as crap outside. Yeah, freezing as crap. And while Landon and I have started going a little stir crazy inside the house, it's been so nice to stop, slow down, and really savor these last few days. I haven't spent time cleaning, or doing laundry, or stressing out over choices. I've just played with my little guy. I've snuggled. I've laughed, sang, danced. I've wondered what happened to my 5 lb baby. And I have enjoyed every single second, and every single breath of air that we have shared.

Yesterday, his lunch looked like this:
And now you're asking why in the world this is important. Because of this. 20 months ago, my baby was struggling to drink 2 oz of milk at a time. Slowly, we got him up to his "right" amount, and he was drinking his meals every 2 hours. Then suddenly he was eating rice cereal. And then it turned into little pureed (nasty looking) meals. Then we moved onto real people food, cut up into teeny tiny little bites. How in the world did we get to this? A real persons meal. No cutting up, no puree, no liquid meal. Just a real sandwich, real apples, and real crackers. It may seem silly and insignificant to you, but to this mama, it's kind of heartbreaking. But it's also kind of a huge triumph. 20 months ago they put a tube up his nose to force him to eat. They told us we couldn't take him home until he ate more. They let him go, not sure he would catch up to the right weight. Well look at him now. An appetite for life almost as large as his appetite for anything edible. We did it, monkey!!!

Today, we built a fort. And what is the first thing my precious boy did? Went and got a picture of Jeremy and I and brought it into the fort. Decoration? Including Daddy? I don't know what his thought process was, but it was cute all the same.

After lunch, I ate my daily consumption of three Dove candies. And, let's face it, the messages inside of those things are kind of like my second Bible. I take them very seriously. Today, I opened a precious nugget of deliciousness to discover:
It's like they were reading my mind over these last few days. Could I love being a mom any more? I really don't think I could. Could I love this crazy boy any more? I know I couldn't. So, Dove, amen. I will continue to love what I do. 

I'm feeling now like there wasn't really much of a point to this post. If you made it all the way through without saying "What the hell is she talking about??", pat yourself on the back, and get yourself a little nugget of deliciousness and joy. You deserve it. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Our Love Story

I have been thinking a LOT about our "Love Story" the last few days. Talking with friends at all different places in their relationships has really caused me to reflect on my own. Talking to my mom this morning, when she said "I really do think you two are perfect" spurred what's about to come.

But I must preface this all by saying, we are NOT perfect. Far from it. We fight, we yell, we disagree, we aren't all sing song romance and flowers. But. We fight for each other. We yell because we care enough to yell. We disagree because we are two different people, who just happen to compliment each other on the good days. And to us, grand romantic gestures are just too much. We'd rather laugh our way through the "romance" and make fun of each other. It's what works.

So here it is. A total retrospective that is going to make it sound like I think we have the perfect love story. But again, nothing is perfect, and we are far from it. We are just perfect for each other, which at the end of the day, is what really matters.

November 3, 2007. The day that would change my world. We spent the day celebrating Aidan James' 3rd birthday, laughing and loving with family. I had spent a portion of the day in a bedroom talking through my internal struggles with cousins, trying to sort out my thoughts and feelings. Was I really happy? Was I where I should be? With who I should be with? If everything was right in my world, should I really be doubting?

The party drew to an end, and the idea to head to the local "hot" bar was thrown out. I wasn't for it, at all. It was a Saturday night, and I knew, without a doubt in my mind, the ex boyfriend I hadn't spoken to since July would be there, and it wasn't a situation I wanted to be in. But I have a persuasive "frister", and after going home and FALLING ASLEEP, and telling her I was way too tired to go, and her insisting, we headed out.

I walked into the bar one person, and walked out as someone completely different. When I went it, I was a scared, nervous, confused girl. I walked out a hopeful, expectant, clear minded (aside from you know, being wasted.... SO not my best moment) girl. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We worked our way through the crowd, and while she had her eye out for the dreaded run in, I kept my eyes down, hoping to just avoid catching a glimpse and then being stuck. Somehow we found a spot to stand, got our drinks, and started doing what any 20 somethings at a bar would do. Just standing there, trying to feel cool, drinking. Sarah spotted someone from across the bar and said he looked familiar. Me, still being a ball of nerves, just focused on my drink and didn't pay much attention to what was happening. Eventually, our paths crossed, Sarah figured out how she knew him (that's a story for a whole other day), and they all started talking. I continued to be the awkward girl standing there, not saying much, just sucking down my drinks as fast as I could to take the edge off. Again, not my finest of moments on this particular night. Classiness went out the window.

At some point, we were able to get two seats at the bar, and this mystery man that Sarah had known made his way to my side. I can confidently say that it didn't take me more than 5 minutes to realize there was something different about him.

I can't tell you exactly what we talked about, or for how long, because quite frankly, there were way too many drinks going into my system to remember it all. But I do remember discovering that he too was Lutheran, and deciding right then and there that we would be married. I remember the dreaded run in finally happening, and it not being nearly as bad because he was there as a barrier. I remember making him pinky promise me (no joke) that he would call me. I remember being so.damn.mad at Jimmy for calling Sarah and asking her when she was coming home. I remember walking in my front door, waking my mom up and telling her I met the man I was going to marry. I remember calling my roommate at college and telling her the same. I remember (successfully) trying to avoid a really, really unpleasant outcome from all my drinks all.night.long.

You hear about it in movies, or fairy tales, or whatever. Your mom tells you every time you break up with someone. Your friends tell you. The experts tell you. Married people tell you. Everybody tells you. But until you experience it, you don't believe it.

I'm here to tell you, that it's true. There will be a moment when you just know. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. There is no question, no hesitation. Just undeniable certainty. You can't put your finger on the moment, you just know that one minute you feel one way, and the next, you feel completely different. For me, it happened in a crowded bar, with a man 6 years older than me.

The next morning, when I told my FATHER that my moment had a bar....with a man 6 years older than me.....I think he probably wanted to check me into an institution. If you know me at all, you know that meeting someone in a BAR is the least likely of places for me. And if you know my FATHER, you know that a man 6 years older than me was probably a red flag.

One of my college roommates at the time was a guy who had met his fair share of girls in bars, whom he never called. And I was assured, time and time again, that I was CRAZY if I thought this guy was going to call me. I was insane. I needed to get a grip. Get over it. Move on. Which is why I was so unbelievably happy that I was with Kyle when I got the phone call. We were walking out of class, and my phone rang, a number I didn't know. I didn't think twice, I just hit ignore. Within 10 seconds, my heart dropped, and I said "Oh my God, what if it's him??". I was assured, once again, that I was delusional, and there was no way in hell that it was him. But two minutes later, when my voicemail ringer went off, and I got the best message of my life, it was Kyle who was eating his words, not me. I distinctly remember running, full speed, into our apartment to find my other roommates and tell them that he had actually called. And then spending a solid hour trying to sum up the courage to call him back.

And it's not a lie when I say that we have spoken every single day since then. Since November 5, 2007.  I went home again the following weekend and we had our first date, exactly one week after we met. And it was everything the first date with your future husband should be. We were 100% comfortable with each other, from the very beginning. There were no weird silences. No awkward moments. Just certainty. And, lucky for me, I could tell that night, that the certainty was a two way street. Not just me.

We moved in together in December of 2008. We were engaged in May of 2009. Married in June of 2010. And welcomed our first child in May of 2011.

We have shared happiness and tears. We have witnessed lives starting and lives ending. We have lost grandparents. We have graduated with bachelors degrees and masters degrees. We have struggled. We have been scared. We have shared the best days of our lives together. Since November 3, 2007.

There are days that I don't know where the hell that boy I met in the bar went. The days that I want to scream at him, and the days that I do. The days that I wonder just how drunk I really was that night. We have those days. 

But is shared with my soulmate. The one person that God put on this planet just for me. And even in the midst of the screams, I am 100% sure of that. I know that it's true that everything happens just the way it's supposed to. I know that we were both at that bar that night for a reason. I know that this is what forever looks like.

We aren't perfect. Our marriage isn't perfect. But it is ours. Our story. Our love. Our life. And it's the one that we were made to live together. And damn, I love that man.

The night we met, November 3, 2007

Jeremy's graduation with his MBA, December 2007

Our first Christmas together, 2007

June 19, 2010

Monday, January 14, 2013

Having Faith to Fall Back On

Happy Monday, kids.

I have been putting so much thought into my plans of trusting God these last few days. We have a lot of big choices on the road in front of us at the moment. Choices that include, but are not limited to, homes, babies, money. Choices that excite me and scare the crap out of me all at the same time. Choices that need to be made, and they are either going to be the right choice, or the wrong choice, and we won't know until we've made up our minds, and we're in the thick of it.

Scary doesn't really begin to describe it.

And here I am, trying to be all reasonable and take the emotion of out of it all, which, for the record, and much to Jeremy's dismay, is NOT working. Emotion rules my world. And none of the things that we're facing can stand to have TWO people thinking only by the rules, and taking out all emotion. One of us has to be the mess. I've taken that role as my own. I'm not enjoying it much.

But then I think about it, I mean really think about it, and I realize I'm not really in control anyway. I could lay out a perfect plan, but at the end of the day, it's still not up to me. God has His plan, and that's the way it's all going to play out anyway.

But here's the thing. I found myself getting very frustrated a few days ago. Sobbing to my husband because I didn't know what to do, what to feel. Sobbing and complaining because I had been praying for clarity for days, and I still had nothing. How was I supposed to trust Him, when he couldn't give me even the smallest sign as to what we're supposed to do? What the right choice is?

Then it hit me. After a long talk with the bff. Maybe there isn't a "right" choice, or a "wrong" choice. There are just choices. And we get to decide which choice we want to make. It's actually a BEAUTIFUL situation to be in. We get to CHOOSE if we want to move, we don't have to, and we aren't being told that we can't. We get to CHOOSE when we want to start trying for baby number 2, we don't have a timeline that we NEED to follow or an illness that we NEED to beat first. We get to CHOOSE how to spend our money, we aren't being TOLD what to do with it.

So, really, I have been spending the last few weeks stressing out, crying, rationalizing and agonizing over what? Something that most people are not lucky enough to have. Choices.

Choices that are not going to make or ruin our lives. No. Because regardless of what we choose, we will have a healthy, happy, beautiful little boy to love. Whether it's here, or somewhere else. Whether it's just him, or he has a little brother or sister. Whether we are rich, or broke. We will still have each other. Our family. Together, loving each other. I spent way too much time these last few days breaking my own heart over doing what's "right" for Landon. What's right for Landon is to be with his mommy and daddy. To love him. To smother him with kisses and attention. To right his wrongs. To be stern, but to have fun. To keep doing exactly what we're doing. Maybe continuing to do it here. Maybe continuing to do it somewhere else. Maybe giving him a little sibling now. Maybe giving him a little sibling in a little while.

The point is, my mind still isn't made up. Every time I think it is, I change it again. And don't let Jeremy fool you, he's playing the same game. But now, I'm not dreading the choice anymore. I'm embracing it. I'm knowing that no matter what choice we make, it will work for us. We will make it. That's just how we are. And we are so damn lucky.

So while I was getting angry because God wasn't coming to me in my dreams and saying "Here Kelly, this is the way, do this", I found his clarity in the words of my best friend, and in the eyes of my child. I was expecting to walk out of church yesterday with no weight on my shoulders, singing "Hallelujah!" and in the midst of an Ah-Ha moment. Didn't happen that way. Instead, it was in an afternoon of laughs, mindless TV watching, serious talks, snuggles and kisses.  Prayers are rarely answered the way we expect them to be, I need to remember that. I'm still learning. And I'm learning that God can be one sneaky dude.

There's no way to know what we'll end up doing, at least not yet. There are still are a lot of conversations ahead of us, a lot of soul searching, and, probably, a lot of second guessing. But I'm feeling more ready for it now than I was just this morning. So my faith is still strong that God will find another way to lead us down the right road. I'm just going to stop looking for it, and just let it happen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Resolution Status

So I've been trying to gauge, as the days go by, where I'm at with my resolutions.

Most days, I'm feeling like I'm failing. Other days, I feel like I'm rocking it.

But all days, I feel like I must be doing something right when I hear Landon say "Mommy" for the thousandth time, or when he stops playing, dead in his tracks, to come give me a hug. Those are the moments that make the rest worth it.

It feels like there are a million things going on, and yet I can't seem to figure out how to update on them all.

I have been an organizing / cleaning fool around here, for a number of reasons. But mostly, because it's making me feel like I'm actually doing something with myself. We are pretty much hiding out because every time I turn on the news there are horror stories of how horrible the flu is right now, and we get nightly phone calls from my mother in law asking us if we're still healthy, AND every time I log on Facebook, someone else seems to be sick. {I'm really, really trying my hardest to avoid facebook at all costs, simply because hearing about people puking gives me massive anxiety. Some days I am really successful. Other days ... not so much}. And by the way, yes, I know that the "Flu" is not the same as the puking bug. But I would like avoid BOTH, if we can.

So. That's where we're at. Huddled up inside. Cleaning. Organizing. Loving. Practicing patience when Landon tries to test it.

A success story of patience? When I fished poop out of the bathtub, had to drain the tub, clean it, and then restart the whole process. I started to lose it when, after the naked baby got hit with cold water he had a total meltdown and refused to get back into the tub,  but I pulled myself back together, and laughed at the situation. Growth.

A serious failure of patience? Wanting to cry while watching Landon dump out the ENTIRE bag of blocks for probably the 47th time today. In fact, I did tear up. BUT. I didn't scream, I didn't yell, I didn't get mad. But I did feel defeated. Majorly. The kisses I got afterwards made up for it. Totally.

The fact that we survived FOUR time outs today, and his actions deemed him worthy of probably about four more that I just didn't have the energy to dole out, but we're still standing = growth. Although, I am beyond excited for bed tonight, not going to tell a lie.

But for now, I have a toddler crawling on my lap, giving me repeated kisses, and a bowl full of ice cream waiting for me. That, my friends, is all I need.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Making 2013 the Best Yet

Happy New Year, friends!!!

As promised, I have been putting a ton (probably way too much) time into planning out my "resolutions" for the year.

I generally don't do the whole resolution thing, because I feel like it's just a list of things that people want, but will never actually accomplish past the first two weeks of January.

But, I'm a mother now. And I have a little man that deserves for me to continually keep trying to better myself. To keep making plans, and setting goals, and working my butt off to be the mom he deserves, or to be a mom worthy of him.

So, I've been thinking. I've been drafting. I want reasonable goals. Goals that will actually make a difference, not just silly goals. Goals that MEAN something.

Amidst my soul searching and drafting, I ran across a list on a blog I have been following, and it felt like I was reading exactly what I wanted to say myself. She gave me direct permission to copy and paste her list, but I want to give you the link, and hope that you'll go read, and you'll discover another corner of this huge internet where you feel like somebody else "gets it". Because every time I read her entries, I feel like she just "gets it". So, if you have a minute, hop over and read Jen's "Maintenance Plan" on A Daily Dose of Davis. And while you're there, look around a bit. I promise, mamas, you won't regret it. I feel like maybe my resolution should just be to be more like her altogether.

But I do want to emphasize the portions of her list that mean the most to me, the parts that I feel like I REALLY need to work on this year....and a few others things that she has probably already mastered, and I'm still working on.

Patience. Yeah, I need more of it. With my husband and my son. I'm a type A personality, no secret there and I feel like I'm OCD about some things. I need to learn to realize that Jeremy and Landon are NOT me. They don't always see things the way I do, they won't always do things the way I would, and that's OK. I find myself jumping down their throats way too often, either because they aren't moving fast enough for me, or because they just aren't doing it the way I want it done. It needs to change. I need to be the mom and the wife that allows them to be themselves, and loves the way they do things, even when it's different from me. I need to not rush Landon when he's taking 10 minutes to put away the blocks, because he IS putting away the blocks. I need to see it for what it's worth and be grateful. That's a five minute job that might take him 15, but it just saved ME those 5 minutes. Patience. I need some of that in 2013.

Which leads me to focus on Relaxing. Let's face it, I TOTALLY need to relax. I get way too uptight about way too much. What? You didn't think I knew that? No, no. I do. And I promise you I don't want to always HAVE to have a plan, or be such a clean freak or germaphobe. I really don't. And I really do NOT want to always feel so heartbroken and let down when things don't go exactly the way I had pictured them. I have a toddler, it's going to be rare that things go as planned. I need to step back, RELAX, and find the beauty in the journey that we DO take, instead of the one that I PLANNED on taking. Because at the end of the day, he is everything I have ever wanted, and then some. Enjoying every ounce of him should be all that matters. Even if it means the bathroom doesn't get cleaned that day.

Which pretty much just sums up that I need to Enjoy life more. I spent so much time over the holidays analyzing everyone we came in contact with, trying to figure out if they looked symptomatic of the stomach flu, that I lost a ton of time to just enjoy being with the ones I love the most. And at the end of the day, what is worrying about the stomach bug going to do for me? Nothing. If we're going to get it, we're still going to get it. I need to stop, enjoy what is happening around me, and know that if we DO get it, we'll get through it. Just like everybody else that gets it does. But it doesn't stop at freaking out about the stomach bug. I feel like there are Sundays (ok, MOST Sundays) that I don't allow myself to enjoy church, because I'm worried that Landon is making too much noise, or he's about to crawl under that pew, or pull that ladies hair. And the fact is, our church is the one place that I DON'T have to worry about him being too loud and people caring. Will I let him scream from start to finish? Um no. But if he claps enthusiastically and yells "YAY!!!" every time the congregation stops singing, I need to laugh, give him a kiss, and ENJOY how stinking cute he is. Not be mortified. I need to take the time to enjoy God's message for ALL of us, not just for those who don't have to worry about a squirmy toddler. At the end of the day, I just need to enjoy EVERYTHING a little bit more.

Including my husband. I have been blessed with a man who doesn't withhold "I love you"'s, and kisses and hugs are ever present in his world. And while I'd like to say I'm the same way, I hate to admit that most days, by the time he comes in the door, I am so overwhelmed with what the day has thrown at me that a kiss seems like silliness that I just don't have time for. And of course, I'm too consumed with myself and the toddler tornado that has been running through our house all day to ask him about his day. I need to improve. I need to be a better wife. I need to show him as much love as he shows me, as freely as he gives it. I need him to know that I care about HIS day too, and what happened while he was away from us. I need to be grateful that he leaves the house everyday to work his tail off so that I can stay here and stress out over cleaning and toys and lunches and diapers. I have a great life, and it's because of him. He needs to know that.

I need to do all of these things to add up to be a better mom. Because at the end of the day, that's what I'm here for. To be a mom. To the most handsome, funny, energetic, amazing little boy around. And he deserves the absolute best. So this year, I need to work on being that. I'll never be perfect, and I know that. But I can be perfect for him. That's all that matters.

I could list about 12,000 other things that I would love to say I will make happen in 2013, but these are the most important. If I can accomplish these, the rest will just be icing on the cake. And I'm going to try to approach it just like Jen does. It might not all be perfect by December 31st, but if I've made PROGRESS in each area, I'll call it a successful year. I can't believe I've never looked at my resolutions in that way before. I just always felt like if I wasn't entirely accomplished by the end of the year, it was a failure. So Jen, if you're reading this, thank you. For putting it into perspective. For making it feel more attainable. For being the person you are, that makes me feel like I'm not alone, and we could absolutely be friends if our worlds ever happened to collide.

I hope you all had a wonderful, safe New Years Eve, and that your New Years Day is spent with those you love, celebrating the start of another year. Let's make it the best yet!