Saturday, December 29, 2012

Books? Where we're going, we don't need books...

I never thought I'd say this as a teacher- but I'm putting away the books, for GOOD.  Not all of the books, mind you (in fact, I'm reading To Kill a Mockingbird with Beck as we type). Nope, just the ones that are marketed toward parents.  You know, the Spock-ish, "what to expect" kinds.  Why?  Because I don't need them.  I've got something that no book, blog, website, or magazine can publish- common sense.  Mom-stincts.  Whatever you want to call it, it's already proven to be far more accurate, not to mention less fear inducing, than those parenting books.  (That, and I have my own Mom and the doc on speed dial.  We've got this covered.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Remember the Victims

Up until now, I couldn't even think about, much less talk about, this tragedy.  I kept picturing my classrooms over the years, and the little faces I've seen, and I couldn't imagine something like that happening to such wonderful people.  Or I'd look at Beck and Ashley, and think of the devastation I'd feel as a parent.  I couldn't even comprehend it all.  But now that time has passed, I think that it is so incredibly important to focus on honoring those whose lives were lost last Friday. There's so much more to be said about things like mental health care, gun safety, and the like, but the fact remains that the world lost 27 beautiful spirits last week. 
Sandy Hook Elementary victims

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Another Ashley first! (No food pictures though...we were too busy eating it!)

It's that time of year- the Christmas music comes out!

Hope Floats

Ashley is just a baby. (I'm aware that you already knew that.) While she is in this helpless stage, my main job- besides loving her to pieces- is to protect her and make sure that she thrives.  I think I'm doing okay in that area.  But every now and then, my mind wanders into thoughts about her future.  As she grows and becomes more and more independent, my job shifts and grows as well.  I will become less and less the protector, and more and more the guide.  I'm okay with this role (for now... I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that she already tops 2 feet tall, much less the thought of her being on her own).  Then a question popped up- how will I handle her being hurt?  Not the bruisy, oops-I-fell-and-skinned-my-knee variety, but the I-wanna-curl-into-a-ball-and-disappear kind of hurt.  The kind that makes you feel like you'll never be happy or confident again.

I actually hope she experiences pain.  Not all of the time, mind you!  Not even some of the time, really.  But just enough so that the triumphs seem that much more sweet.  I'm consistently taken aback by the entitlement attitude of some folks.  As if the world owes them a constant stream of successes and gratification.  What they are unaware of is the deep down, through-to-your-bones, soul lifting elation that is only possible when a person rises out of some kind of tribulation.  I want my daughters to experience true, earned success, and I can't wait to celebrate those successes with them!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Andy and Kellie's Wedding

November 17, 2012 - Fern Forest Nature Center

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thankful, Grateful, Grazie

No matter how you say it, gratitude is a chosen attitude.  This month on Facebook, I've chosen to participate in the "Thirty Days of Thankfulness" challenge, and I have to say that it's made me appreciate things that I may have otherwise overlooked.  So the challenge is to continue that mindset well beyond this month...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This too shall pass

(I posted this on my online birth board.  Wanted to put it here so I could refer back to it whenever I needed a reminder...)

Babies don't keep. They will only be infants for so long, and that time will fly by. Remembering this can help you in positive or negative situations.

If your baby is colicky, this too shall pass (repeat a thousand times, then a thousand more...). If you're wondering if you're holding your baby too much, before you know it, they will be too big to hold. They won't become a menace to society because you decided to babywear (or not). They're infants. They want to be loved, cuddled, cared for, calmed. They want YOU.

In the blink of an eye, they'll be begging you to drop them off at the end of the street, or to walk ten feet behind them at the mall. They'll move out, move on, start families of their own. While this precious time is here, right in front of you, seize it. Do your best to see the big picture, even in the most trying moments.

For me, I LOVE cuddling my baby girl. I know that she will soon be wriggling out of my lap to run off and play, so I choose to take advantage of these next few months while they last. I'm not "creating a monster," I'm helping my daughter to feel secure, cared for, and safe. She needs me. I'm happy to oblige.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bedner's Pumpkin Patch

Sleeping through it all!

If you make Becca turn around for a picture, this is the face you'll get...

Awake for a little bit

Grandpa's Jumbo Pumpkin!

Becca's regular-sized pumpkin :)

Pumpkin in the "pumpkin seat"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A P.S. and a P.S.A.

(P.S. Our "cancer" is averted!  At least for now... let's hope that holds true for Janice's sister Amy as she battles breast cancer.  Her chances for a positive prognosis are good, but fingers, toes, and all other crossable body parts are currently crossed... and prayers and thoughts are definitely flowing her way.)

"Why can't you just [insert random errand/night out/event here]?"

There's a reason why I never asked this of parent friends of mine, back in the P.B. (pre-baby) days.  It seemed to me that it didn't take a brain surgeon or rocket scientist- or, in homage to Sheldon Cooper, a theoretical physicist- to understand that when you have a child, all concept of unadulterated freedom goes out the changing table window.

Yet I still manage to get some version of this question on a pretty regular basis.  Usually, people are astute enough to know that Paul and I can't go to a concert or a club at a moment's notice.  But why not the grocery store?  Or the mall? To pick up someone? Go out to eat?

Here's the PSA, for the simultaneously clueless and childless* people out there:
My schedule, and therefore my household's schedule, is dictated by feedings, sleepiness, fussiness, diaper changes, and/or naps.  I am at the mercy of a 12-pound, 22-inch tyrant known as our beautiful baby girl.  I couldn't be happier about this; I'm sorry if that messes with your idea of what I should be able to do. 

Now mind you, Ashley is a fairly easy-going baby.  We are able to take her to a restaurant or the mall if we want to meet up with friends or family.  It's the "at a moment's notice" stuff that is currently out the window.

So if, in the past three months, you've ever asked me the above-mentioned question and you didn't understand my look of combined exasperation and amusement... well, the more you know. 

*I say clueless and childless because there are plenty of childless people out there who are not at all clueless...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cancer Awareness

I've been debating back and forth as to whether or not I was going to give this one particular person any attention on any kind of a public forum.  I didn't feel that it was worth the time and energy, and while so central to our lives currently, this person is also someone that we'd very much like to be able put in the past.  Then September turned to October, and I realized that I could talk (and therefore vent) about this in the context of (breast) cancer, being that October is breast cancer awareness month.

No one wants a cancer in their life-  be it a literal form of cancer, or a cancer in the form of a toxic job/boss, toxic lifestyle, or in our case, a toxic person.  But like any cancer, it doesn't care whether or not you want it in your life.  It simply shows up, sets up camp, and slowly (or aggressively, in some cases) begins to take over.

At that point, you can pretend to ignore the cancer (which may bring you short-term blissful unawareness) but there will come a point where you will have no choice but to face it.  We are at that boiling point right now.  As any cancer patient will tell you, there are two basic ways to approach the disease:  head-on or not at all.  So here we are, facing this head-on, and I can tell you that it is about time.

Even though the cancer led the way initially, I can't shake the feeling that we are in the driver's seat from here on out.  We have to be, because our strength and our sanity as a family is at stake.  I talked about stress and action plans in an earlier post.  Our action plan is in place; now we get to test its strength!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What Goes Around... (Part 2)

Amazing.  Not only is Nick no longer the little baby that I once held in my arms...
...but he is now the uncle who is holding my baby in his arms! When folks say that time flies, listen to them.  They are more right than you could ever imagine.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wardrobe Malfunction

The picture says it all. Well, almost. Yes, I accidentally wore a red polo shirt to Target.  You know, the kind all of their employees wear... I was so excited to shop ALL BY MYSELF that in my excitement, I didn't pay attention to this small but important detail.  But as it turned out, I didn't have that bad of a time. It started like this:

"Ma'am, I'm sorry- I have no idea where you can find a strainer spoon."

"I didn't forget my name tag, sir. I actually don't work here."

After about a half hour, I gave in to all of the requests.  I surprised myself with my depth of knowledge when it came to the location of various Target items (even things I never shop for). At one point, I walked halfway across the store to help a sweet little old lady find bread.  I think Target owes me a half a day's pay...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Under Pressure

A recent conversation (and spit up) has me thinking about stress...

Ashley had a major spit-up episode.  We're talking out the mouth and nose.  Scared the ever-loving crap out of me, and freaked poor little one out something fierce.  Neither one of us saw it coming, and it affected us both.

And since all of my mental analogies are baby-related these days, it got me thinking about stress. (Once Ash was calmed down, of course.  During and immediately post-spit-up we were both hot messes.)

I don't think any of us really realize how stress is affecting us or others until the shit (or spit-up) hits the fan.  And by then, we wished we would've seen the storm coming sooner.  We say things like, "I had no idea I was such a bitch/ass/royal douchebag," or "How did I let it get this out of hand?"

Truthfully, we knew on some level what was happening, but we either felt powerless to change our circumstances, or we'd shoved our circumstances firmly under the rug.  We become so successful at thinking we're managing our stress, that we don't realize (until it's too late) that our stress is managing us. 

I feel like I'm rambling here, so I'll finish with this: get out of your own head for a minute or so, take inventory of how fulfilled you really feel, and if things could be better, create an action plan (written or otherwise) to do something about it.  Keep in mind that it's not just your happiness at stake, but also the happiness of those who care about you.  And for god's sake, Ash...go easy on the milk!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Shameless Plug

I'm so impressed with this adorable block set that I wanted to promote the heck out of the Etsy shop where I bought it... Simple Block Sayings

What Goes Around...

I just read the most wonderful message from my Mom, which got me thinking...


I know there are some people who would put that statement in all caps because it is the most god-awful thought ever conceived. (My 16-year-old self would be one of those people.)

I was delighted.  I couldn't imagine a better, more positive, more caring role model for me, and now she will be that for Beck and Ashley.

How did I come to this realization?  Over three button snaps.  Or more precisely, over a major diaper blow-out.  You see, as my Mom was helping to clean up one of the most epic poopy messes of all time, she counted the snaps on Ash's clean onesie as she closed them.  And in between helping to clean up the mess and throwing away the wipes, I paused just long enough to realize that in recent days, I'd been doing that too.  I saw my Mom mirror so many other things I'd already been doing- the running commentary ("Now I'm filling the bottle, now I'm closing the bottle..."), the bouncing- sure, there are many other mothers out there who do the same, but the way she did it; I can't explain how it just was the same.

 Maybe I don't necessarily laugh the same way as she does, or have the exact same sense of humor, or whatever else makes us (duh!) different human beings.  But the fact that I mother like my mother makes me proud and humbled all at the same time.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ashley Rose (my blood pressure)

I did it.  I lost my patience this morning.  I had a fussy baby, made even more fussy by my lack of Mommy Zen.  I shed some tears, then I vowed to never do that again.  Just to be sure that in those moments of weakness, I always remember what a sweet girl she is, I'm going to post some of my favorite Ashley moments here...
Welcome to the world!

Dad is RAD indeed!

The goofy face that melts our hearts

That's how to relax...

Please, guys, no more pictures!