Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In Her Shoes

It's official - Ana has inherited my love of shoes. Clue #1: We can't be in the shoe section of a store without her instantly kicking off her own, pointing at new ones, and declaring "I try!" Clue #2: Her need to say "bye-bye" to all the shoes in our path whenever we're leaving the house.

Know what? I couldn't be happier :). In fact, I'm oddly proud of it. Superficial? Maybe. Meaningless? Not at all. Since Ana was born I have daydreamt and often wondered what we will be like together when she gets older. I prefer to skip past the pre-teen and teen years where she will likely despise and blame me for everything and look beyond that. I wonder what we will be like when she becomes a grown woman. Will we have anything in common? Will she call me everyday and come visit me several times a week? Will she like me??? It sounds so trivial, I know. But I can't help but wonder. I hope and pray that I do a good enough job at being her mother that any damage I do along the way is forgivable. I hope I'm living my life in a way that she will be able to look up to and admire in any sense. But do I know what we'll be like together that far into the future? Nope. I can't possibly. What I do know now though is that, despite her Daddy's best efforts, no matter what we go through in our time together, my little girl and I will at least have one thing in common - our love of shoes. And, for whatever reason, that makes me very comfortably happy.

*This post is entered in May's Write-Away Contest over at Scribbit.  Here's to hoping we just may win!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

In a dress and in the dirt. That's our girl :).

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Baby U Update

I went to the doctor for my 38 week checkup yesterday and I am now 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. The doctor says she thinks I'll have the baby this week. Exciting, right? Well, everyone I've told seems to think so, which leads me to believe that they've forgotten the little trick my body played on me last time. With Ana, I walked around for 3 weeks, 3 WEEKS, at 3cm and 75% effaced and I still had to be induced. So you'll have to excuse my reluctance to get too excited. I have to admit though that I did feel the need to take a belly pic just in case I don't get another chance to.

The funny thing is that, unlike with Ana, I'm in no hurry to get this pregnancy over with. I am just as excited to meet Baby U but, believe it or not, I'm quite enjoying having her or him all to myself for now. There are a few things that I think have made this journey a little tougher than the last (i.e. the incessant contractions, back pain, gas (gasp!)) but there are just as many things that have made it a little bit more enjoyable. There are, of course, the superficial aspects like the shape of my belly (much cuter this time I think) and my ability to keep my weight gain well under the 50+ lbs. I gained with Ana. But the most enjoyable part of it? Knowing what I'm in for. Knowing what I'm about to get. With Ana I knew I was getting a baby - our baby - and that we would love her but I had no idea how much she would bring with her into this world, how much she would bring to us. This time I know. I know that I'm already in love with this little being in my belly. I know what this baby is going to do to Anthony and I can't wait to see that look on his face when he or she is born. I know what it will feel like to have this baby lay on my chest and what it will do to my heart to watch Anthony fall in love again. And above all, I know that this baby will be completing our family and making it whole. THAT is what has made this an experience I will forever love.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Thank God

Thank God for everything He's blessed me with.

Every now and then I get a stroke of emotion and sensitivity. Not that I'm not usually emotional or sensitive (just ask my friends ;)), especially with Baby in tow, but once in a while it hits me just how lucky I am - how lucky Anthony and I both are.

We were talking about Ana the other day and we came up with the perfect description for her. We've realized that she is God's reward to us for having done something so very right in our lives. Yes she's a blessing, and yes she's a miracle as all babies are, but "reward", for some reason, seems to hit it right on the head. You know how it feels to work so hard at something and try with everything you have to achieve a goal and then, once you do, to be rewarded for it? There's nothing sweeter than that. There's nothing sweeter than that piece of dessert you give in to after losing those 10 lbs. There's nothing sweeter than those awesome pair of shoes you let yourself spurlge on after budgeting for months. And there's nothing sweeter than living your life honestly trying to be the best person you can be to others despite the endless obstacles you've had to overcome and being rewarded with a perfect little person you get to call your little girl.

So thank You, God. Thank You for seeing us for what we've always tried so hard to be and rewarding us with her.

Friday, May 4, 2007

As simple as ABC....well, kind of

She did it! Ana has finally started to say her ABC's!!! (I know, I'm saying 'finally' like she's 5 years old :) ).

I've figured out how to get her to say new words...and letters. Ana loves, loves, loves saying "hi!" and "bye!" to everything she sees and everyone she knows. So this morning I thought I'd try a little experiment. Over breakfast I was going through the ABC's as I usually do only to have her respond to my "A" with an "O" or and "I". Then the lightbulb went off. "Hi, A!" I said. "Hi, A!" she said. "Hi, B", "Hi, B". And on we went all the way to E! That's my girl!

I'm so proud of her but I have to admit I will miss her little interpretation of the letter B (bzzzzz!).

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Happy 18 months, Sweetpea!

*Yeah, yeah, so she's actually 19 months now but here is the letter I wrote to Ana when she turned 18 months. It's the last of the "merge".*

My sweet Ana, this letter is a long time coming but it’s finally here. You should know that I always have the best of intentions to sit and document everything about you and for you, but I have to admit I don’t exactly have the “follow-through” I should. Nevertheless, here it is - a small recap of my life since you.

Let me start by telling you that, with everything I am, I believe that the beginning of my life came when your daddy asked me to be his wife. In that moment, I saw our life together - complete with you. I was 25 when we stood in church in front of everyone we love most and said our vows. We made the decision early on that we were going to wait a few years before starting a family. Daddy had just started a new job and I wanted to finish up school (something I’ll always regret not doing earlier but I did finish, which is what matters). We swore we were going to travel but our busy lives never left much time for that. Then, with one semester left before I graduated, we got the news of our lives - we were expecting you. Now, don't think that you were a surprise because you weren't. AT. ALL. We planned for you like we had never planned for anything before. And then it was official - you were on your way. I waited a couple of days after taking the pregnancy test at home to tell your dad. I wanted to be certain. I wanted to hear it from the doctor. So the day I did, I told your daddy. I put together a little movie of pictures from our life since we had gotten married and, at the end, there were the words he had been waiting to hear – “We’re pregnant!” I have to tell you, in the 11 years I had known him until then, I had NEVER seen him so happy. We were stepping into the next chapter of our lives and we couldn’t wait.

I’m glad to say that there isn’t much to report on the months that came next. You blessed me with a very uneventful pregnancy and, as you will see, is the best kind of pregnancy you can have. But what I do remember most is feeling you move around 18 weeks and, through the rest of time you spent in my belly, it was my very favorite thing.

Fast-forward to September ’05 - two and a half weeks before you were due. I went to the doctor for a routine checkup. The doctor then said the words I had been hoping to hear - “you’re going to have this baby any day now”. After eight and a half months and an almost 50 lb. (yikes!) weight gain, I was ready to meet you. I was done being pregnant and was completely convinced that I was ready for the next part – having you here with us. So I quit work and sat at home waiting for you to arrive. Boy was I na├»ve! Days came and went, no you. Then days turned into weeks, no you. Then your actual due date, September 23rd, came and guess what, no you. I went to see my trusty ol’ doctor and he scheduled the day you would have to arrive if you didn’t arrive on your own. For the next week I made your daddy walk more than he’s ever walked before, I ate A LOT of spicy food, and even foolishly thought it a good idea to start step aerobics, all hoping it would give you the little nudge you needed to finally come out and meet us. And, though there were a couple of close calls (or so I thought), you must have just been way too comfy inside my belly because you had no interest in getting out of there. And to this day I am convinced that’s what it was. I had made such a wonderful home for you that you just didn’t want to leave it J.

So then came the day, September 30th. Daddy and I headed to the hospital first thing in the morning and, after 9 hours of labor, the doctor said you were ready to come and say hello. So here we go. It took almost an hour, about a dozen trips to the bathroom (for your daddy), and countless pushes, and suddenly it was time – we were seconds away. The doctor let me know that I had one final push and you would be here. It was at that moment that Daddy and I looked at each other and I fell apart. I had never felt so much love for him than I did at that moment. It was as if I could actually feel our hearts grow to make room for you, the epitome of the love your daddy and I had shared for all these years.

And then you were here. And you were a girl! Against your daddy’s wishes I opted not to find out if you were a boy or a girl while you were in my belly. And, though I was more curious than you can imagine, to hear “it’s a girl!” after 9 long months was just the cherry on the sundae. I had often wondered how I would feel at that moment that my very own baby was placed on my belly for the first time. I wondered if I would be numb or if I would cry or if I would get so caught up in the moment that I would forget everything. Well, I absolutely cried. I cried the happiest tears I had ever cried before. But I didn’t forget a second. There you were, so chubby-faced and perfect. All I could say was “she’s so pretty” because you were. You were so beautiful and you were ours. We were a family and the world was now as it should be.

The last 18 months with you, my love, have been so much more than I could ever have imagined. I feel comfortable enough to say now that I was really worried about how I was going to handle mommyhood. I was terrified at the thought of not doing everything right and worried, almost obsessively, that I wasn’t going to measure up. The first few weeks at home with you were filled with doubt, worry, fear, and a whole lot of love. I was expecting an instant bond with you. After all, we had shared the same body for over 9 months. But the truth is, we had to get to know each other. I came to learn that this was ok and finally let myself give into it. And then it started to happen. Suddenly I began to feel it. I was completely, undeniably falling in love my daughter. Auntie Vicky once asked me when that moment came that it hit me but there was never a moment. It was more like a series of moments – a series of moments that melted my heart a little bit more each time. I can’t say whether it was each time I watched you drift to sleep and listened to your cute little noises or whether it was each time I felt you cuddle with me and was convinced it was completely on purpose because you knew I was your mom that did it for me. Whatever it was, it happened, and has continued to happen since then.

You have been the greatest blessing God could have given us and watching you grow and learn over the last year and a half has been our greatest gift. You are the baby that makes other people want a baby (everyone else’s words, not mine – though I agree). Your tough little personality is comfortably cushioned by your incredibly sweet nature. People tell Daddy and I all the time how lucky we are to have been blessed with such a good baby. But the truth is I refuse to give luck all the credit. I strongly believe that you are who you are because of your daddy and me and we are the parents we are because of you. I believe that you are who you are because God chose to bless us with you and you with us. We are the perfect match. You make me a better person and that makes me a better mom. You make me look at the world in a different light and have taught me more in 18 months than the 28 years before you had ever taught me. You’ve taught me to slow down and take deep breaths. You’ve taught me to hug like I mean it and say “I love you” unconditionally and without hesitation. Through you I have learned how to live and love more completely and openly. Because of you I’ve realized the reason I was born. I was born to be your mom. I was born to love you and teach you and protect you. It’s you, sweetpea. You are my heart. And I have thanked God each and every day of the last 18 months for filling my life with the gift of you.

And because I know you’ll always wonder what you were like at this age, I’ll tell you. This is who you are…
You are so funny! You make Daddy and I laugh so hard and a lot of times it’s completely on purpose. You are feisty like me and laid-back like Daddy. You laugh with everything you’ve got and have a smile that goes on forever. When you get so excited with anticipation you clench your little fists, open your eyes wide, and smile so hard you make us smile. You want so badly to have conversations but don’t ever get frustrated that you haven’t quite yet figured out how to use all the words. You love to test me but I know it’s only because you feel so comfortable in how much I love you. You have my little feet and your daddy’s beautiful eyes (the biggest compliment you get). You love to cuddle but love just as much to assert your independence. You have always been such a good eater and, like the good girl you are, always eat your veggies. You prefer to identify animals by the noises they make rather than their names and you love, love, love to point things out and let us know what they are. At just 18 months you have the biggest personality made up of a perfect mix of so many things. You’re sweet and you’re tough. You’re funny and oddly sincere. You’re smart and sassy without being a brat. And you know how to let off steam and still be completely and utterly irresistible. You, my beautiful girl, are unbelievably perfect.

Happy 18 months, my sweet girl.

We love you so much!!!


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Wish, Whine, WhooHoo Wednesday

Wish: I wish I knew if this baby were a boy a girl....
Whine: I don't think my house will ever get clean...
Whoo Hoo: Ana's saying "please"!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

"You look like a mom"....WHAT?!?!!?

Last night my hubby was laying on the couch and invited me over by him. I sat on the floor as we talked for a few minutes about our Ana (the subject of most our conversations). A few minutes into our conversation he gave me a look that was all too familiar. A look that he saves for when I least expect it, which makes it mean that much more to me. A look that screams how much he loves me without him having to say a single word. A look that I live for. A look that I love. In the midst of this look he opened his mouth to say what I assumed would be something wonderful - something that would melt my heart and secure this moment in my fondest memories. I was not expecting what came next. Out of his mouth came these dreaded seven words - "you're starting to look like a mom."

WHAT?!?!?! Don't get me wrong. I love being a mom but I'm not sure I really want to look like one. I mean come on! What does he think a mom looks like anyway? Because in my experiences, being told that you "look like a mom" has never been a compliment. Instead, it has been a subtle, passive aggressive way of telling a woman she's let herself go. When you hear that a woman wears "mom jeans" you don't picture a pair of chic Diesel jeans with a bootcut leg. You picture the Lee Riders that sit comforably just under the breast bone and are tailored so tight at the ankle that they flawlessly blend into the canvas Keds sneakers that every mom wears, right? When you spot a "mom haircut" do you instantly think "ooh, that looks just like Jennifer Aniston's new 'do!" Nope, I didn't think so.

I guess what bothered me so much was the fact that, as he uttered those words, I felt his image of me change. In that instance I feared that he was no longer looking at me as his wife, as his girl, but instead he was beginning to look at me only as the mother of his kids. I've read an abundance of articles and plenty of books and magazines on parenting, all of which come equipped with their own tidbits of advice and "expert moments" on keeping your marriage alive after kids. It's common sense that nourishing my relationship with my husband and maintaining a strong bond outside of our kids is important and shouldn't always take a backseat to being a parent. Sure, it's common sense, but common sense is no stranger to the back seat in my life. I'm guilty of putting our relationship on the back burner more often than I care to admit. I have put being a mom in the forefront of my life and have neglected my marriage too many times to count. I think it was this very acknowledgement, not my husband's words, that became the basis of my upset.

But like I said, I know my husband. He used those words as a way of telling me he loves me. I am the mother of his children and the love of his life. After seeing that I was noticebly upset he began to "defend" what he had said. As I argued that his comment, in an instant, labeled me as a wholesome, less-than-sexy, maternal figure in his eyes he argued back that that couldn't be further from the truth. To the contrary, he said, the thought of me bearing his children and the way I take care of our family has made me even more beautiful and sexier than any high heels or little black dress I've ever worn. He says I'm still his girl, not just his kid's mommy, and I really have no choice but to trust that.

I know I should (and will) do my part to make our relationship the center of our life more often and that there are things I can do to avoid becoming "just the kids' mom". For starters, I figure if I stay away from the scrunchies and keep the Christmas sweaters out of our closet we might just be ok :).