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Rex: Male Model

28 Feb

img_20170221_175556“Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?” – Derek Zoolander

Last Monday night I was getting ready for bed when my friend texted me about LalabuBaby wanting newborn models. Because I was a model for a midwifery magazine ad with my parents when I was three days old, I thought I’d give at least one of my sons the chance at the same type of stardom.

Newly joined to Instagram, I figured out how to DM them a super cute picture I had recently taken of Rex and some basic contact info. After a little back and forth, I agreed to bring my sons the next day, completely unsure of what this adventure would entail.

Tuesday after lunch and my six week postpartum appointment, I wasn’t sure why I had agreed to go do this. It was looking like rain, and we had just gotten back from Ohio, plus the baby had basically been crying since we got home. We figured he was either going through a growth spurt or thoroughly expressing himself after being in a car seat for four days straight. However, I had made a commitment, so I got the boys in the car yet again and trekked into town. We made it to their office in Old Fourth Ward only five minutes late.

When I approached the door a very nice woman came out and told me filming was running late. I could only go in if we would be absolutely silent. With a four year old and a new kiddo I knew that would be impossible, so we went back to the car to wait. Walter played on his Leap Pad, and I nursed baby Rex. Soon they were done, and we headed back in to wait some more. Turns out they just wanted newborns on call, to work as possible stunt doubles for the model and her newborn who were really doing all the shots. At this point I was genuinely wondering why I had bothered to leave my house, but I decided to wait it out so that I could get the free $75 baby-wearing shirt they had promised.

Two other new moms were there. One was a first time mom with a 5 week old boy. She and her husband own The Big Fake Wedding, which was really interesting to hear about, especially since I love all things wedding. The other mom had a 5 day old boy, one of a set of twins, the other still in NICU at North Fulton, even though he was ready to come home. I was super impressed that she was there. She had brought her husband as well, and they also had a two year old girl at home. It didn’t take long for all of us to start talking, and it was a great, albeit brief, new mommy support group. It made the whole trip worth it.

Right when we were about to leave to avoid rush hour traffic, they asked if anyone could spare their baby for a few. Rex was just finished nursing and happy. The other boys were either nursing or sleeping, so Rex went to makeup… just kidding. I put him in a white onesie, and he got to be the baby model in a video showing how to get a baby in and out of the shirt. When he started fussing after a couple of takes, it was time for us to go.

We were parked in the neighboring church parking lot. The car next to us had its windows open and the three occupants were in there drinking beer and smoking some wacky tobacky. I had to ask them to shut their windows before we got close to the car because the smoke was billowing out around my car, which they did of course. Walter didn’t mention it if he smelled anything funky!

Gotta love in-town Atlantans and random experiences.

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A Sweet Husband Story

21 Jan

It’s been a bleak day. The weather in Atlanta has been dreary. Many of the people I know are marching in protest of the President who was inaugurated yesterday. This, however, is a story about socks. Really great socks that make me happy every time I look at them.

When I was getting together my last minute things for the hospital while in labor, I picked out my favorite pair of socks to wear. I actually thought to myself, “Maybe they’ll be my lucky socks for labor.”

Once I was done with triage, the nurse had me put on super anti-slip, hospital-issued socks so that they wouldn’t get sued if I fell — I mean, so I wouldn’t fall. Because I was having contractions and my pelvis was still hurting from my huge belly (I hadn’t been able to comfortably put on a pair of socks or shoes for months), in an attempt to hurry I put the socks on over my lucky socks.

An hour later, while I was busy holding my newborn, the midwife or a nurse pulled off one soaked hospital sock in an effort to help me clean up. She didn’t realize that one half of my lucky sock pair was still inside said hospital sock. I had a brief thought that I could deal with that later, but alas, when I next thought about it, it was missing.

My husband, after our magic bonding hour with our new baby, spent a good 15 minutes donning gloves and digging through the biomedical waste baskets in an attempt to find my socks, which at this point had both gone missing. He found one, and I implored him to give up on the other, that it didn’t really matter.

Several days later, while at home, an Amazon box arrived at our door. It was a new box of Betsey Johnson socks (only the coolest socks ever), and the designs were even better than the socks I had had before. Some people might want diamonds for a push present, but this thoughtful gift from my husband means I now have seven lucky pairs of socks and a smile on my face whenever I look at my warm toes.

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Last bit of the year!

31 Dec

Many of my friends currently disparage 2016, but it’s been been a great year for me. I will admit, it wasn’t always easy. But, I think that about every year. My life, especially since 2008 (when I finally set myself free from depression), has always had an upward trajectory, no matter what the hardships or setbacks. I try to enjoy myself, because what else can you do unless you want to be miserable?

Here we are, almost a new year. I can’t believe it’s been 17 years since Y2K. The last bit of this year has flown by, as I knew it would, with all the holidays and hustle and bustle of life, making my anticipation of baby #2 an easy one. He is due right around the corner — any time in the next week or more.

However, I’ve had some anxiety about his upcoming birth. I’m not really sure why, but I think it’s because I had an unmedicated birth with Walter, so I set the bar high out of the starting gate. Poor #2 might not have his own nursery, but doesn’t he deserve the same entrance into the world? I believe in the natural birthing abilities of women like I do in homeschooling, but, I’ve still been scared. Scared since pretty much week 16 when I knew he’d come barreling out of me at some point, and I didn’t want to drug him and me doing it if I could help it.

So today was a good last day of the year in preparation for that. My awesome doula Alice came by to talk about birth #2 and soothe my fears. It helped more than all the great birth stories I’ve been reading to try to bolster my spirits (stories which actually were making me more nervous by talking about overcoming all the pain). We chatted for a couple hours, and I feel once again like I did with Walter, that I can do this.

Then I met a lovely friend for a latte and lunch at Bread and Butterfly, followed by a pampering mani-pedi at Serenity. My boys had flowers waiting for me when I got home, so it really was a perfect day despite the dreary weather outside. Sometimes that makes me feel extra cozy inside, especially when things go so right!

img_20161231_143223115I channeled my inner-Dave and ordered the burger, which was delicious.

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Cool blue for baby boy!

If I make it to midnight, we’ll be enjoying our annual 12 grapes of good luck. And tomorrow collards and black eyed peas will be simmering after breakfast. Looking forward to that and the new boy with many emotions swirling inside. When will he get here?

Pregnancy/Fertility Thoughts

28 Oct

29-weeksAlmost 7 months pregnant!

I have been growing this little one with so much joy inside my heart. It is different though, after secondary infertility and fertility treatments. I think that was why I was so anxious about the birth of this one even from the very beginning. For so many months my body had failed to give me what I wanted, and I don’t think I was truly trusting myself, even after my pregnancy continued to progress smoothly.

The first time I got pregnant, it happened after one cycle of trying. This time it took 2 years almost exactly from the date I wrote “We can start trying!!!” on our Google calendar to getting a positive pregnancy test. By the time it finally did happen, we were trying so many things at once, only God knows what did the trick. It takes three months for eggs to develop from follicles; the egg for baby boy #2 originated from the month we were doing our anti-inflammatory diet. I was going to acupuncture every two weeks. I had an endometrial biopsy the previous cycle. And, we did a Femara IUI cycle.

I think there honestly is a different feeling (for me) to getting pregnant in the quiet intimacy with my husband vs the public happenings at an RE’s office. I suppose some people can hide that aspect of their lives, but I needed the support of my friends and family throughout our years of trying. And by the time I was going to an RE’s office several times a week, it’s hard to hide from the “did you take a test today?” questions — not that I minded. I enjoyed sharing the journey.

The book on orgasmic birth really did help my anxiety. While there were things I didn’t like about that particular book (the author was a bit aggressive, for one), it helped me get in tune with the feeling that “all this is natural, just let your body do what comes naturally.” And that’s when I realized I had a block against those type of thoughts because of how this little one came to be. But the truth is, if God, or the universe, hadn’t wanted it to be, it wouldn’t have happened, no matter how many interventions. I know many people who try fertility treatments for years with no success. So I’m slowly getting back to that assurance I had with Walter that my body knows what it is doing and can handle a birth. Can more than just handle a birth.

My goal this time is to push the baby out with a smile on my face, instead of hyperventilating. My goal is to feel the joy coursing through me every moment of his birth, as I have for every moment of his pregnancy… well, since the unbearable nausea ended. It’s amazing to me how negatively I felt, after trying so hard, when I finally got my wish granted. I’m glad that has passed, and I’m only looking forward to the things to come, like holding this little one as close as possible for as long as possible, and sharing him with all those who love our little growing family.

One of Those Perfect Days

9 Oct

Friday was a really glorious and fun day. A friend turned me on to Goldstar, and it’s quite great to buy cheaper tickets to an event you want to go to. I saw the listing for Disney on Ice, and I thought that Walter and I would probably enjoy that. So I bought some seats.

I debated with myself if I wanted to drive down there and park at Philips Arena, but I truly despise navigating through downtown and trying to find (and then pay for) parking. Walter had never been on a train before, so I opted for us to ride MARTA as part of the all-day experience. I knew he’d enjoy the very long escalators at the stations too, and I wanted to stop at Dua Vietnamese for lunch on Broad Street after the show since we’d be in the area. It’s our #1 favorite restaurant; Dave and I used to eat there 3-4 times a week when we attended GaState.

img_20161007_101209He thought maybe the train was never going to leave the station.

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He drew a map of the tracks and Five Points station where we’d be transferring. He was also very interested in what MARTA does and does not allow to happen on the trains.

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I didn’t take any pictures while we were there, mainly cause it was so awesome I never pulled my phone out. I loved the show, and Walter never took his eyes off the rink (except to stare at the colorful whirly toys that kids around us had). I love when Walter enjoys himself like that.

Afterward we walked from Philips Arena to Dua, which was only about half a mile away. I love walking through Georgia State campus in the early fall because it reminds me of meeting and falling in love with David in the fall of 2008 and all the fun we had in college together. Dave met us at the restaurant, where the bun bo hue was fresh and as delicious as it’s ever been.

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We rode with Daddy back to his office, then continued on to our car, where Walter fell asleep on the way home. I was jealous. It was a great day for a great boy.

Apple Picking

2 Oct

October 1st in Atlanta and you can smell Fall in the air. You can also smell neighbors burning their yard refuse in Cobb County, as it’s the first day to legally do that since summer ended, and of course we joined in. But first we went apple picking.

Ellijay, GA is one of my favorite places in the world. We spend two of my favorite days every year there: birthday tubing in the summer and apple picking in the fall. And it’s just beautiful; mountains in the distance, trees, and lots of glorious sky. If we ever went really rural and didn’t move to the Canadian West, I think we’d choose Ellijay.

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It’s just so pretty.

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We stopped at the first tree in the orchard to eat a golden delicious.

dsc_0012Two years ago Walter was in an apple coma from eating so many apples. This picture represents the extent of Walter’s apple eating this time.

img_20161001_140332205_hdrWe found the Red Apple Barn the first year we went picking. Last year our choice was crowded and not very pretty, so we knew we’d head back here this year. I love this one because of the way it is laid out, they give you a wagon ride to and from the orchard, and the cold apple cider and an apple cider donut when you’re done. Yum.

img_20161001_135227174Just getting started.

img_20161001_140208279He was equally interested in picking flowers as he was apples.

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img_20161001_140823209Walter wanted to make sure his apple was in the picture too.

dsc_0018David promises he’s going to can most of these.

family-shot-editedThe three and a half of us had a really fun day in the country.

Marriages Aren’t Easy: The Fable of the Incense Burner

10 Sep

But if you’re lucky — and you work hard, yada yada yada — they’re good anyway.

The weekend of July 4th we got in a huge fight. It was one of the more difficult times in our marriage, with me being so sick and blaming David (I don’t get mad during labor, I get mad during first trimester!), David working all day and then going to work on the new house every night, us living with various parents and a 3 year old, all our stuff in boxes scattered around the house, and suddenly switching from battling 2-year infertility to dealing with medical bills and un-Godly nausea… Let’s just say it all came to a head that holiday weekend. Why is it that vacations are often good times to get sick or in a fight?

While we weren’t speaking to each other, and we had just moved back in to the house for the second time, I went to buy incense to try to get rid of the horrible, poisonous smell of the house that apparently no one else could smell (thank you first trimester). I came back home and mentioned to Dave that I didn’t have any way to burn it, and without comment he then went and made an incense burner for me.

This is how I know I married a good man.

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I had no idea what he was sawing in the basement — I rarely force myself to go down there because it is very messy and dirty — prepping that 1,700 sq ft space for habitation will certainly be another fun, multi-weekend project! The loud noise made me curious (obviously), but I was patient (which is unlike me). He then came upstairs with a piece of wood with a hole cut at just the right angle and a groove for all the ash. It was hard not to feel loved, even if the fight wasn’t resolved yet.

Walter loves burning incense too since that’s one of the many fun things he learned to do at his Nini’s house. He also made me a burner later with this play-doh-like toy he has. Like father, like son, and I’m glad about that!

9,000 and counting

9 Sep

 

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Our go-to brand

I am addicted to acquiring new puzzles. Mainly because they are awesome to do, and I love finding the ones that are challenging but also fun. The fun part is extra important so I don’t pull out my hair — or Dave’s — while putting pieces together.

For David’s birthday I bought him a 9,000 piece puzzle. It might have been a present for me too, but hey, whatever brings us closer together. There’s nothing I love more than sitting at our dining room table putting together a puzzle and talking, coaxing Walter to either help or quit touching the pieces, or listening to an audiobook.

I can’t wait. So far we’ve only done at most 3,000 pieces, and that puzzle was pretty easy. I’m looking forward to seeing what 9,000 is like and how long it takes us to do. I had to measure to make sure that even just half of it would fit on our dining room table. Just barely, according to my yard stick.

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This is happening.

Dave’s 35th Birthday (and a DIY fire pit)

7 Sep

I don’t let him rest, even on his birthday! I had a full weekend planned; by the end of it, we were exhausted, but it was fabulous.

Saturday we bought fire pit stones. No time like a party deadline to get a project done! We also went to the in-laws to play with W’s cousin, and then went home to nap so we’d all be in a good mood for dinner at Bone’s with my folks. It was a wonderful evening out, as always.

The next day, when I was pushing Walt on his swing, I said, “You’ll be going out to dinner tonight too with Nini and Grandpa to Italian,” and Walter’s response was, “But I like eating at Bone’s!” We may have set expectations too high too soon.

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Sunday, the actual birthday, we woke up fresh and ready to go, and of course the first thing we did was shower Daddy with presents. Then I got the picnic table painted while these two assembled the fire pit. First they measured, dug it out a few inches deep, then filled the space with sand to make the stones level and have a good base. After the first ring was in, they put river rocks on the bottom. It is a little less than three feet wide, as per our county ordinances.

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They also did a ring of river rocks around the outside and made sure to have some ventilation on the second row of stones. It worked out perfectly that we had leftover bricks with holes in them from the previous owner, so we used those in two spots. Of course we needed four more stones to finish the top (our calculations in-store were wrong; we used 12, not 10, stones per row), so we had to grab them before the party that night.

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What a beauty.

We quickly showered and met Dave’s family for lunch at Community Q BBQ. Yum. Best BBQ in the city. I may have ordered one or two more sides than I could eat.

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We then dropped Walter off at my mom’s so we could meet some friends at The Ultimate Escape Game. Dave had done one with the Marines at our last vacation with them in Nashville and thought it’d be a good way to celebrate. I had no real idea what to expect, but it was a blast. I’m totally ready to conquer another room after we successfully stole the recipe for the Coca Cola formula.

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Then our friends came over to our house to continue the fun. We cooked out, with everyone helping, and enjoyed some drinks and chatter and built the inaugural fire in the fire pit. Most everyone hadn’t seen the house in its near-finished glory, and it was fun to show it off. It was really great to spend extra time with our wonderful friends.

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There were several different groups singing Happy Birthday at one time.

Dave’s birthday continued the next day, since Walter was at my mom’s, by allowing us to sleep in and then watch a movie in bed. The chance to relax, especially after our busy busy weekend, was glorious. And as a parent, it’s always a blessing!

The Universe’s Perfect and Ironic Timing

28 Aug

I’ve always wanted more than one child, and for two years we waited and wondered and worked to “make” that happen. You never know when the right egg and sperm will meet at the right time and it’ll all work out. It’s so hard when you’re going through it because month after month you never know when the end of the pain will be (though at first it’s not so painful, it’s just exciting). We would say to ourselves, “If only we knew how much time we had to wait, then we could relax about it” and it’s true. The not knowing when or if it’ll ever happen is very difficult to wrap your head around.

In retrospect, I wouldn’t have wanted it to be any other way. With Walter, we wanted a baby, and *poof* I got pregnant. I never took anything for granted, but it’s not the same type of appreciation when you have to struggle for something. Not being able to get pregnant when I wanted not only made me more thankful for #2 but also for every moment with W.

I suffered so badly during first trimester that I’m not sure I would have survived if Walter was any younger. He had to play on his own during the days I couldn’t get out of bed except to feed him. And, because he is older, he really understands what is happening, and that just makes it that much more precious to me that he can share in this joy with us. He was worried about me when I was so sick and that was sweet too.

And just because the universe likes to make me laugh with its unique sense of humor, I got everything that I wanted all at once. That might sound like it’s perfect, and it is great, but there is that whole “be careful what you wish for” saying for a reason. We tried to sell our house for two years. While that process is a little more cut and dry than baby-making, trying to do so at the end of a recession and recoup your money can be a little on the tough side.

But this time, it worked, and we were able to buy the house we wanted in the right neighborhood for the right price. We moved in a week after I found out I was pregnant, and I was feeling great. Dave even moved all the heavy boxes for me. All our dreams were coming true!

Then, the sickness hit. I sat around in a brand new house (to us) feeling worse than I’ve ever felt in my life. I felt so bad that I wondered why in the heck I had ever wanted another baby. My brain started changing from “this is my dream house” to “this house and its smells and everything about it makes me sick”. After working very hard to sell our house and immediately buying and moving in to another one, it was unbelievably upsetting and worrisome to Dave to have his wife talking to the realtor about selling. Again.

It got so bad I made us stay with my mom for a few weeks, which of course was confusing to W, who had been such a trooper throughout our long move. When Dave would go work on the house, he would send me pictures, and looking at them made me nauseous. I didn’t want to talk about the house or even see highway signs that said “Marietta”. I reinstalled Zillow and was looking at Midtown condos for sale. Our doctor said it was the first time he had heard of this pregnancy side effect.

As a friend of mine told me while we were discussing this, I needed to give myself a break and wait it out. Basically in one tiny period of my life I had been dealing with selling, buying, and renovating a house, and infertility, fertility treatments, and first trimester. It was a lot to handle.

Thankfully, it passed. We’re on the side of hope and excitement, waiting for little boy to get here and enjoying every kick. We’re doing puzzles on our dining room table and loving our yard and the public library, and it’s all good. It’s still going to take time to adjust and figure out this new area of Atlanta, but hey, that’s what life is. The journey.

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A beautiful, full double rainbow we saw on W’s birthday weekend.