Saturday, June 29, 2013

26/52

A portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013.

Soaked.

This picture turned out so hilariously perfect that I almost cried when I took it. Despite how it looks, he is actually loving this and asked Papa over and over again to fill up the bucket and dump it on his head.

Splash pads: brilliant!


As always, I'm inspired and motivated by other mamas snapping their kids. How great are these colors? And I really love the contrast of these two. These pictures seem so serious and I love them.


Joining Jodi.







Friday, June 28, 2013

Stay Cool, Part I

I posted a story yesterday that was on my mind and on my heart. I know that my story is not unique and that countless other families have felt the pain of loss. I am incredibly thankful for supportive friends and overwhelmed by kind words from strangers. My hope was not to change the minds of anyone but to offer a perspective that isn't always considered in political battles.

I'm generally not comfortable talking about politics; I think it draws unnecessary lines between people. I shared my story - one I've held onto for a long time and considered sharing - because it felt right.

Today, I'll get back to what I do know: pictures of my kid.


///



I've lived in Texas all of my life. I've endured every summer and every summer I say the same thing: I can't believe how hot it is.

I think I've found my solution to staying cool: have a kid.

This kid of mine won't stand for lying on the couch in front of a fan all day. I am forced to get outside and find a cool spot. Twist my arm.



Our spot on Monday was Casey's New Orleans Snowballs, Papa's request for his birthday dessert.

It was cold. It was fluffy. It was delicious.








A Boston Cream Pie snowball with house-made chocolate? Whodda thunk.

It's supposed to be 105° today so we're searching for a new spot. Any suggestions?


can you stand this kid's style? shirt available here and his oh so cool braided bracelets can be found at flourish leather.





Thursday, June 27, 2013

Why I Stand with Wendy



I try not to get very political on this blog but something incredible happened in Austin, Texas this week and it recharged a lot of old emotions in me.

Over 3 years ago, Tim and I went in for an ultrasound and at week 16, we were told that our baby had no heartbeat. After spending 45 silent minutes waiting for the doctor to come in and tell us more, staring at a frozen silhouette of the first baby we made on the state-of-the-art flat screen monitor, we were told that our baby's organs hadn't pulled inside its body at the right time. The doctor, of course, told us that it was nothing that could have been prevented and that these things just seem to happen at random. He encouraged us that we could have a healthy pregnancy in the future. And he told us that our baby was a girl.

We drove home and had to achingly tell our family and friends that plans for the future were over. At 16 weeks, nearly everyone in our lives knew.

The doctor that performed our ultrasound would normally have been the one to perform the necessary D&C (dilation and curettage in doctor-speak; abortion in plain-speak) but he was leaving town the next day. He recommended another doctor that he trusted. This was a Thursday and the recommended doctor made an appointment for us on Saturday.

I lived for 2 days knowing that a dead baby was inside of me and I wanted nothing more than for it to be out. I wanted the mourning to begin so that we could move forward.

The night before our appointment, the doctor called to explain to me what my morning would look like and what I could expect. He explained the procedure in simple terms with a heavy Polish accent and asked me if I had any questions. He told me that family members and friends were welcome to come and support us. And at the end he told me that his office was an abortion clinic so I could expect protesters outside. He told me to let someone else drive so that I could recline my seat and not look at them. He told me to keep driving and don't worry. He told me they had no idea why I was there and their opinions didn't matter.

I got off the phone with him and in telling my mom and Tim this, I collapsed in tears for the millionth time in 24 hours. Now after all of this I have to drive by protesters? Unbelievable.

The next morning, we arrived in a fog, I followed the doctor's instructions for driving up, and we were greeted by friends and family, including my dad who had flown in from California. We filled out paperwork and the doctor came out to speak with my family and answer any questions. When I was ready, he led me back to the room where he would take my baby out of me.

He was kind, gentle, comforting, and reassuring. He told me that I should be encouraged that my body knows how to hold and grow a baby and that he was certain I would be a great mom someday. He grabbed a warm blanket and as the anesthesia started to take effect, he told me that when I woke up, I would be in little or no pain.

He was right. The physical pain was minimal if anything. The grief and heartache would take years to dull.




As Wendy Davis stood in our state Capitol attempting a filibuster to stop strict abortion legislation, I thought about our ultrasound at 16 weeks. What if our baby had held on until week 20 - the last time we had an ultrasound with Eddy - and the doctor had seen the abnormality then? What if, after seeing our baby's organs on the outside, he had told us that our baby had no chance of survival? What if we were faced with the choice to schedule an abortion while our baby's feeble heart was still beating? As awful as our situation was, I know it is much worse for other parents.

We met up with old friends a few years ago and, staring at my giant Eddy-belly, they told us that they had been expecting a baby not long before and after routine blood work, they were told that their baby had a chromosomal abnormality and had no chance of survival in or out of the womb. They were faced with that choice: Do I hold on to this baby and let my body decide when it's time or do I start the grieving process now?

I had no words for them except to say I was sorry. What else can you say? It's a situation I wouldn't wish on anyone.




Had this legislation passed, that doctor's office would certainly have to close. Months after our encounter with him - after some of the sludge had drained from my brain - I sent him a thank you note. Something I never in my life thought I'd do: send a thank you note to an abortion doctor. I told him that, although I hope we never crossed paths under the same circumstances again, that I was thankful that he was in my life for that day and that I appreciated the thankless work he does.

I am so tired of the terminology pro-life and pro-choice. Shouldn't we all be pro-choice, meaning we all have the right to choose? To say that you are pro-life implies that people that disagree with you are anti-life and I am certainly not. I have treasured every one of Eddy's heartbeats and would never compromise that. But I do think that, in their most tender and vulnerable time, a mother should be given the choice. I cannot, and do not want to, imagine the mental health implications of knowing your baby won't survive and being left with limited options. As terrible as those days were for me, and as much as I never want to relive them, I am thankful that I had a safe place to be where me and my family were cared for.

Our state Capitol was filled with men and women supporting Wendy Davis and her efforts on Tuesday. I don't think a single one of them was a baby-killer. I believe that they were parents that would drive hundreds of miles and fly thousands to support their children, friends that would clear your house of all evidence of a pregnancy while you are at an abortion clinic, co-workers that silently hugged and cried, husbands that have shared their darkest hour with their wife but know that their pain is but a fraction, women that have spent years praying for a healthy heartbeat to grow inside of them, women that go through all of this alone, people that have talked to God everyday and asked Why? and are still waiting for an answer.





Can you disagree with me? Absolutely. Shouldn't every issue have two sides? But for goodness sake, please be respectful and please think a bit outside of yourself for a moment.



Photo courtesy of Jesus Moreno







Monday, June 24, 2013

Happy Birthday, Papa!

Happy birthday, Papa TT! We love ya so much.



33 years ago you came into this world and I'm so very glad you did.

Now let's go stuff our faces with delicious food.







Wednesday, June 19, 2013

24/52 and 25/52

A portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013.


The Stop takin' my pitcha picture. It's bound to happen at least once a week.

 

And there isn't much that is arty about this photograph but to me it's beautiful. These are Eddy's great grandparents who have been married for 74 years in a few weeks. They are so incredible to be around that our hearts are full every time we leave their house.



Monday, June 17, 2013

The Helpful Husband

Someone asked me recently if Tim was a helpful husband. Without hesitation, I said yes.

A few hours later, I thought more about the question and decided that my answer was no.



To say that Tim is a helpful husband implies that I steer the parenting ship and when I ask for help he is willing. It implies that I carry the load and he pitches it. That doesn't even come close to describing Tim.

Tim is my parenting partner. He is Eddy's dad. There is no pitching in because it just happens. Yes, sometimes I ask for help but not because he is cluelessly watching but because his help makes things easier.

I didn't marry Tim because I knew he'd be a good father; I married him because we work. And because we work, we also work as parents.

I've talked about how much Tim's brain has adapted to parenting and how he has learned at lightening speed. In nearly no time, he became such a natural that you would think I had planned it.

But I can't take credit for that one. My secret to parenting is not that I have a helpful husband in my back pocket. It's that I found a partner 8 years ago that would always be willing to work with me. I have shown him a few tricks, he has shown me patience. And it works.

Besides, who else can I count on to cool our kid down with a cold beer on a hot day?


Happy Father's Day, Papa. I can't imagine this gig without you.





Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sleep like a baby?

The day Eddy was born, Tim and I made a spontaneous and mutual decision to have a family bed. We knew that he would sleep in bed with us when he was brand new but we registered for a crib, Tim painstakingly painted it yellow, and my mom made beautiful custom bedding. We realized pretty quickly that it would become just a home for stuffed animals and a holding place for clothes that Ed had outgrown.

If I listed 100 things about bed sharing, 99 of those things would be positive. Maybe 98. We totally scored having a snuggly sleeper and the family bed has allowed us to keep most of our sleep as it's easy to knock him back out when he stirs. Plus, it's just really sweet to stay in bed together in the morning to wake up slowly.




So think of your number one favorite food. Stay with me. The food that you can never resist no matter how full you are or how you're feeling. For me it's French fries. Hand-cut, preferably. I never share my fries so don't ask. And when I make them at home, too many is never enough. Okay, have you picked your food? Now imagine that your favorite person in the whole world climbs into bed beside you, a fresh plate of fries (or what have you), you get a whiff, and think, "You know what? That does sound delicious right now..." Every night. This happens every night. You'd get pretty used to it, right?

I've derailed.

My point is Eddy has never slept through the night. He generally has at least a six hour stretch and has had a handful of 8 hour ones but not once has he made it from 8 to 8. After we put him down, Tim and I have some "us" time and then join him in bed a few hours later. If he stirs more than a little from that point on he gets a whiff of his favorite food. Served by, of course, his favorite person.

On Saturday night, my back was killing me. I couldn't sleep - killing me. I had tried to yoga it out before going to bed but it was still completely pinched. When we lied down in bed I made a split decision to withhold milk. Any position that I nurse him in while in bed requires me to corkscrew my back, even if just slightly, and I just couldn't really muster that on this particular night. When he stirred, I picked him up and attempted to rock him to sleep. It seemed like he was out until I hit the bed and he started crying again. My next trick was the ol' Happiest Baby on the Block shushing method. That worked for about 6 seconds. I got desperate and decided to sing his current favorite song - the one that calms him down while I brush his teeth - the ABCs. After the 28th drowsy rendition, all 3 of us were nearly out.

And then he stirred again.

After 58 sleepless, hopeless minutes, I gave in. I gave him what he wanted. His favorite meal served in his favorite dish. He was out in 4 minutes which means we were out in about 6.

He apologized later that morning by letting us sleep in until 9:30.

On the whole spectrum of sleeping woes, this one is pretty paltry. About once a week we talk about what it might look like to move him into his own bed. At the end of all the talk, we both just sucker out and snug closer. I've read all about what it looks like to night-ween a co-sleeper and it's bound to be possible.

Right?


Will we do things differently with kid 2? Maybe. But I'm not sure how. I know we will still co-sleep but I'm not sure if our routine will look different.

After being a die-hard queen bed supporter I now see the benefits of a king. Cozy is an understatement.

Oh did I mention that Lucy sleeps with us too? She probably has a few complaints herself.


Any co-sleepers out there? How do you move beyond snuggling? I'd love to hear!





Saturday, June 8, 2013

23/52

A portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013.



Popsicle carnage.

This was night two of a sweet treat right before bath. This was also night two of  trying to put a tornado to bed. Lesson learned, folks.


It is summer. It is hot. We are happy.

Last week, I loved these colors and this capture of bubbles is perfection.

Joining Jodi.





Thursday, June 6, 2013

What?!?


Have you seen this girl win a million dollars on Wheel of Fortune?

We watched the recap on World News with Diane Sawyer. So basically a series of things have to fall in place for this to work PLUS she solved a really trick puzzle in, like, no time. As soon as she solves the puzzle, Vanna White throws her arms up in the air and Pat Sajak exclaims, "What?!?"


We were in my parents living room watching this as Eddy was in my lap nursing. Right after hearing Pat Sajak's response, Eddy stopped nursing and, with perfect emphasis and pronunciation, repeats Sajak.


The video doesn't even do it justice. He has gotten really good at it in the last few days.

It is now our favorite thing. And he has figured out how to say it unprompted and at appropriate times. In fact, instead of falling asleep tonight, he just lie next to me saying, "WHAT?! what? WHAT?! what?"

Well played, Little Dude.