Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Vacation: Accomplished

After toying around with the idea for what seemed like years (really, a couple months), I decided we needed a Fall Break getaway, and I literally threw a dart at a map and it landed on Nashville, Tennessee. OK...not really a dart...but we had never been, and we decided it sounded like a doable trip with our 7 month old nugget.

So, off we went on Saturday. Noelle did amazingly well the whole way there (5 hours!). She didn't cry. She slept most of the time or played with her toys. She ate in a high chair at Wendy's (because you aren't American if you haven't been in a high chair at a fast food joint before 1 year of age).

We arrived safely to our hotel...Aloft in Cool Springs, TN. It was a really cool, modern little hotel that had an elevator that was nearly all charcoal gray and had curtains hanging in it. The floor of the elevator had this blue gel stuff that turned white when you stood on it. Cool, huh? (or creepy when you are standing in it with strangers)

Our room was neat. It had a cow print painting above the bed. The bathroom was subway tiled (like the way my future kitchen back splash will be), and the free shampoo and soap? From Bliss spa. Don't tell Luke, but I paid $36 for body scrub from that brand once. Here they are, giving the crap away for free? Don't think I didn't throw the baby sized shampoos and soaps in my bag. I ride dirty like that.

Saturday night, we headed to Vanderbilt's campus and hung out at Centennial Park. They have a replica of the Parthenon there. I am still trying to figure out why a park in Tennessee has a replica of a structure that was built to honor the goddess Athena, but it was pretty cool to see and made for some cute pictures.

We ate at a great pizza place, thanks to Amanda Eichenberger's recommendation, and we headed back to the hotel to swim. Noelle was adorable in her little swimsuit and was splashing and playing like a little maniacal nugget. She squealed and laughed and hissed (the thing she does now when she smiles and blows air out of her crinkly sounds like she is hissing). Her diaper swelled up like some fast-rising bread dough, and I totally didn't care that the sign said "no diapers in the pool unless wearing rubber pants." My daughter does not wear rubber pants. Nor will she ever. Period.

Anyway, Sunday, we got up and went to breakfast at a place called J. Christopher's. It was yummy. I had pumpkin pancakes. Our waitress was from Noblesville! Crazy, right? We had a great chat with her and headed out to the zoo. The Nashville Zoo is soooo pretty. The habitats for the animals are just so well designed and really, really cool. The Indy Zoo probably has more animals, but the Nashville Zoo was prettier to look at. The only thing I missed was the aquarium/dolphin show. I wish it would have had one of those. Other than that, it was a totally great place, and Noelle had a great time!

After the zoo, we went downtown. We had no idea the Titans had a home game, so it was pretty busy. We were on a mission to find this place called the Cupcake Collection. It was a bakery I had heard about. I love cupcakes and decided that we had to find it. Finally, we found it, and Luke enjoyed a sweet potato cupcake while I had a wedding cake cupcake. Soooo good. I wish we could have bought some to take home, but it was pretty warm outside that day. Melted cupcakes don't taste as good.

We ate at a place down by the water and listened to the football game. I guess a difference I noticed was if we were in Indy on a Colts home game Sunday, the restaurants/streets would be crawling with people in Colts jerseys, just trying to be close to the game. There was really no one walking around in a Titans jersey (for obvious reasons... haha), and we got right in to a restaurant that was literally a stone's throw away from the stadium.

After lunch, we walked down the streets and marveled at all the cowboy boot stores. We also loved walking by each bar...which seemed to have a spot in the front with an aspiring music artist singing away. It was fun to walk past each doorway and hear something different each time. It definitely was everything we thought Nashville would be.

We did make the trek to the Opryland area, just wanting to see the Grand Ole Opry and the hotel from the outside. They were still working on repairing the flood damage, so we couldn't get in at all. After that, we went back to the hotel to swim once more and then get ready for dinner.

We found a restaurant called Saffire in Franklin, TN. We enjoyed a really great dinner there. I loved that none of the tables/chairs/center pieces matched in this restaurant. It was really funky and dark and cool in there. Noelle slept most of the time, so we were able to enjoy a nice, long dinner. It was a great ending to a fun trip.

The next day, we were up before the sun and ready to head out. Our trip home was uneventful, though about 30 minutes before we were home, Noelle decided she was done with the trip and wanted to be out of the car. She cried the rest of the way home, but I suppose it was a small price to pay for how well she did the rest of the time.

Now it is back to the daily grind. {enter long-winded sigh here}

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

sweet girl

you are my sunshine.

my only sunshine.

you make me happy

when skies are gray.

you'll never know, dear,

how much i love you.

please don't take

my sunshine


Saturday, October 16, 2010

She's 7 months old already!

This little nugget of love is 7 months old!
She clearly is much bigger than the bear, and she is sitting back to back with the bear because she quite an issue with attacking the bear as we tried to take her picture. She could not sit beside the bear without grabbing it or pushing it down. 


But of course we loved every minute of it.

Noelle is just shy of 20 lbs. Why I don't have amazing gun-show arms from carrying her around is beyond me. She is so adorable and squeezable and cuddly that I would carry her around if she was 50 lbs. OK...that might be a stretch. You get my point.

She is sitting completely on her own. She rolls across the room. She can no longer be trusted on beds or couches while we run to the next room to answer our phones. She loves bath time but is pretty much too big for her whale tub. I think the ducky tub will be inflated for the next bath. 

She eats baby food 3 times per day, usually a serving to a serving and a half. She loves EVERYTHING...I have yet to see a food that she didn't like or had a reaction to. 

She is starting to get curious about feeding herself. We give her puffs on her tray and she picks them up and "puts them in her mouth." I applauded her for doing such a good job, and then when I picked her up out of her chair, there were about 10 puffs under her butt. So...she misses her mouth every time, but she feels like big stuff so that's all that matters! She also loves the rice Mum Mum things (that turn to goo when she gums them down...or as Luke says..."boogers").

She is working on standing while holding onto something, and she really isn't figuring out crawling yet. While on her belly, she will see something she wants and realize that she needs to move to get it, but she starts pushing backwards instead of pulling forward. I am not worried...but of course Luke wants Noelle to be #1 in the class so we have to get working on this!

She makes all kinds of funny sounds and she giggles much more frequently. Her sense of humor is hilarious because you really never know when she is going to think something is funny.

She is just a doll who brings such joy to those around her-- and as her mother, I think that is when I am proudest of her. When she makes my parents smile from ear to ear...when she captivates my colleagues at school...when my students stare at her pictures and say "she's SO cute! I want to babysit!"...when a perfect stranger in a store makes a comment about how beautiful or happy or adorable she is...that is when my soul shines.

Happy 7 months, Baby Girl. Only 5 short months until you are 1 year old. Heaven help me...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 15th

October 15th is the national day to remember pregnancy losses of all kinds. Seeing as how it is just a couple of days away, I find myself with some thoughts and emotions.

With all of the joy surrounding Noelle and the fulfillment she has brought to our lives, I must admit that I don't think about the miscarriage much. I don't know if I have just gradually moved on or if I have just shoved it to the furthest depths of my mind, but either way, I don't wake up thinking about it nor cry myself to sleep the way I used to.

The thought that overwhelms me the most right now is if it ever happened again, I know it would be 10 times harder than before because I know firsthand what having a baby is like....and I would know the ultimate loss so much more than when I had never had children. I am trying not to dwell on the negative....but it darn near killed me the first time around...I can't do it again.

I guess the point is it darn near killed me. It didn't kill me. I am stronger because of it. Our lives are defined not by what happens to us, but how we handle what happens to us.

So-- October 15th...I will remember our first little one who we never got to meet. I will think about all the other couples who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy...which is a loss that is not easily understood by others, as I learned the hard way 2 years ago. Thankfully....we are moving on, together as a family of 3.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Christmas Crafting: It's a Process

I have decided that I am going to make my own Christmas ornaments this year.
I love crafting. I love Christmas. Why not marry the two? ((here's hoping this marriage doesn't end in a bitter divorce))

I have assembled a list of Christmas ornament crafts that I am going to attempt in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Do you know that Christmas is a mere 70 something days away? Which means that we can officially start decorating in like a month??? This is nuts to me, but I am so looking forward to our first Christmas with the little nugget. She is going to be so amazingly cute this winter. Furry boots, snow hats, crawling around, and most likely destroying any little Christmas craft I actually make.

Oh well. I like a challenge.

Here's my list:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

You crazy kids...

Today was Ball State's homecoming. I was in Muncie doing a couple of photo shoots, and I decided to head to the tailgate lot and see who I could see. The first thing I noticed was the massive amount of horrific outfits that the youngfolk were sporting. We're talking leggings & jeggings with short t-shirts, short shorts on girls and boys alike, hot pink suits, and cut up BSU t-shirts worn as bandeau tops. Yeeps. It was ugly. I only felt mildly old and out of place in my mom jeans and Irish sweatshirt. Thank goodness the people I was hanging with were all dressed like me (well, not just like me...that would have been weird and creepy and cultish).

I looked around...and everyone I saw was plastered. Hammered. Wasted. Shitfaced. A few short years ago, that was me. Acting a fool, jumping on people, cruising the aisles of the lot like I owned the place. Today, I felt like an outsider. Not the "I'm alone and have no friends" outsider. It was more like a person looking into a fishbowl going, "What's that little guy doin'?"...that kind of outsider.

So what was separating me from the majority of the crowd? Why was I feeling so out of place? I suppose it has something to do with the wedding ring on my finger and the baby that 7 months ago was still baking away inside of me. It's funny how kids can make you feel old. And it's even funnier that I could care less.

I was perfectly happy drinking my bottled water and watching the world around me. I looked at everyone not in a judgy way....just an observant way...enjoying their fun as they had it...remembering the times when I had that kind of fun, too. In a way, I missed it, but in many more ways, I was happy to be done with that phase of my life. I didn't have to worry about how I was getting home, and I had the best prize of all when I actually got sweet, smiling baby girl.

My old roommate and friend Lo was at homecoming, too, and she ran into a group of college girls at the tailgate. She struck up a convo about how they should live it up because it goes so fast. The proceeded to tell her she was pretty for her age. She's 25.

Another homecoming has now passed, putting me one year further from that awesome day in May 2007 when I walked across that stage and got my degree. I had 4 awesome years at BSU and don't regret a thing...but it seems to me that pulling into my driveway this afternoon was the best homecoming yet.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Up yours, bragging mommies

You know who I really don't like?
People who act like they really aren't bragging, but really they are.
Especially when it comes to their babies.
I just read an article from a "celebrity" saying that her 4 month old is already scooting and she rolled over really early, and "that really frightened me!" Yeah right. You probably get your jollies from telling a parenting website that your 4 month old is scooting, knowing good and well that the majority of people reading it have kids that are almost 7 months and showing no real motivation to crawl (example? me). All of us "normals" are giving you the finger right now.

Look...unless I ask...I don't want to know that your kid started walking at 9 months or sprouted teeth at one week post-womb. I don't want to know that he can say your name and count to ten prior to graduating to size 3 diapers, and I most certainly do not want to hear about how your baby is just a tiny little thing whereas my precious baby girl gets the "she's a big girl!" comment every time we go out.

Yes, I am sensitive...but I am also protective of my daughter's feelings...even at (gasp) 7 months (on Monday)! I don't call her big. I don't call her fat. I don't even really like the word chunky. I love her leg rolls...and I don't care that she isn't crawling yet.

(ok...maybe I care just a little...but she's perfect just the way she is).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Family Pictures!

 that I get to actually be in with my family! :-) Always behind the lens, I find myself missing out on those beautiful moments with Noelle and Luke. Amanda of Amanda Nicole photography did a great job. I can't wait to get the pictures up on our walls. Remarkably, with the thousands of pictures I have taken of Noelle, we have ONE up on the wall. ONE! What a crime!!!

Negative Nancy needs to go on a vacation.

If it's one thing America loves, it's a good comeback.
(and no, not the "yo mama" comeback you might be thinking...)

Recently, I have been thinking about how many people I know who are on a comeback...maybe even their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th comeback, but a comeback nonetheless. They are leaving the past behind and moving forward. They are trying to do good for themselves and others around them. They desperately need the support of others to do this...and I have to say...I haven't been so willing in the past.

I have always been a "lifer." You are one way the rest of your life. Once a cheater, always a cheater. Once a drinker, always a drinker. Once a druggie, always a druggie. Once a failure, always a failure. If you're thinking of how horrid of a person I am...yeah, I guess you could go there. I don't know if I am that horrid, or if I am just that naive/negative to think that you can't change...but you can think what you want.

All I know is that I am obviously trying to be taught something by someone greater than me about the power of a comeback. About the power of positive thinking. About the power of unconditional support.

And I'm listening.