Pop songs can be powerful, and surprisingly so. There’s this song, “Unwritten,” by Natasha Beddingfield that will always remind me of the day Nora was born. I guess it was on the radio a lot that week, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. I heard it on the radio again this week, while driving Nora to daycare.

Live your life with arms wide open.
Today is where your book begins;
the rest is still unwritten.

Cheesy sentiments throughout the whole song, indeed, but it still touched a nerve with me way back when I was holding this tiny froggy newborn. I can’t help but be excited to watch her story unfold, and be a part of it. It also occurred to me that I don’t actually write anything down. But, are undocumented moments any less important to us? I like to think that we’ll still remember the stories I don’t write down, and the moments not caught on camera. I’m too busy taking it all in to let a camera get in the way.

That said, I still have this blog. I intend to use it more.

Major skill update: My two-year-old can count to ten! (Except the number 4, it always gets left out. Who needs 4, anyway?)

Updates to recent past posts:

  1. I got sick with strep throat at Disneyworld. I spent most of my time in our hotel room, and honestly it’s still all a blur. We had good times the first couple days, then I came down with a fever. It’s pretty upsetting for me, still, to talk about. I’m planning a do-over trip for next year. Details to come.
  2. We have a swing set! Hurrah for Walmart!

Other news:

  1. Oh dear, the weather here has been dreadfully rainy and gloomy.
  2. Nora turned 2 in August, cause you know, that’s when her birthday is. We had a party in the back yard, with other toddlers and grown-ups, and cake and everything!
  3. I’m working full time, and recently acquired part-time work on top of it all. It’s an adventure so far. I may yet manage to juggle it all. I’m just so thankful for the extra income. (See above about planning a do-over Disney trip as early as next year.)

And I have no conclusion. So… FIN.

Tigger and Me

Tigger and Me, originally uploaded by MississippiAnna.

Me, June 1986. I have been to Disney 3 times since then, and always get another picture with Tigger. In 10 days, I’ll be back! We’re heading down to Disneyworld with my mom and Nora in tow this time. For a whole week! I’m SO looking forward to this vacation.

Happy October!

So, let’s see. One month later. What happened in September? Not a whole heck of a lot, honestly.

Nora is still not walking on her own. And, I’m OK with that.

Number of football games attended: zero.

Presidential debates: one. Errol was an IT volunteer for the debate commission the week of the debate. He was in their offices Monday through Thursday, then was sick and stayed home on Friday. He missed the big action, but still got a glimpse of the governor, and a “hello” from Jim Lehrer. You can see his behind the scenes photos here.

Nora had her first school pictures last week! I can’t wait to see them. Here’s a peek at what she was wearing:

Upcoming plans:
>> Major swing set project in the works, stay tuned! Fall is my favorite time of year, and we still have a lot of mild days ahead of us. I have ambitions of spending those days in the backyard.
>> Errol’s dad and stepmother will be here next weekend. They will be staying at a campground nearby, and we might try to camp out for a night with them.

Pretend this is Nora’s birthday

So, I realize I let a pretty monumental day go by with out talking about it. I’m sorry. I’m no good at this blogging on a regular basis thing. Also, I have been stressed out about going back to working 8-5, but I have survived week one!

I am so much a different person now than I was a year ago. I know a lot of people say having a baby changes you, but no seriously, it changes you. I expected this, but not in the ways it’s really changed me. There’s a new-found kind of humility here, and maybe not a little break in my confidence. I’m not so certain I have the answers to everything anymore, and I waver a whole lot more than I used to. I cannot express how fully I believe that nothing, NO THING, can prepare you for parenthood. Even the most put-together looking mom out there has to be barely holding on by a thread inside.

It’s hard to express this, but I feel like God gave me this gift of seeing how futile my rigidity can be, when at the end of the day and at the end of this life, He is in control. I had all these birth plans, and I knew in every fiber of my being that nursing a baby had to be as natural as breathing if I was just prepared and believed I could do it hard enough. Then, this body of mine turned out to not work the way in needed to for me to follow through with my plans.

I could be disappointed. I could be really disappointed, but then at the end of all my broken plans: there’s Nora. She is the embodiment of JOY to me. I can’t have a bad day when I think of her. She inspires a new kind of wide-eyed optimism in me.

My gosh, I get speechless when I try to express how special and amazing she is. From the day she was born, she was an easy baby. Just, easy. She sleeps when she’s supposed to, most of the time. We’ve found very few things she won’t eat or at least try. She’s curious and interested in the world, loves to dance to pretty much anything (but mostly 60’s rockin soul music). I can’t tell you how many people tell me how precious she is. Always ready with a smile, just amazing. I’m gushing, but if you could meet her, you would understand.

OK, so here’s the first birthday roundup.

Favorite foods: cheese, sweet potatoes, YoBaby yogurt, lasagna
Favorite toys: baby doll, lions (any of her 3), pink giraffe lovey, polar bear, Sully
Naps: every afternoon for at least an hour, two naps on the weekend
Diapers: Size 3
Clothes: still wearing 9 month
Bedtime: 6-7 p.m.
Wake-up: 6:30-7 a.m.
Walking? Not yet. Crawling like a champ, and pulling up, but no independent steps yet.
Loves bath-time.
Totally prefers daddy.

Nora's Birthday

Happy Birthday, baby girl. Love, Mama

Some summary recaps and such

June was a busy month.

Nora got tubes on the 18th, and it went really well. She was already happy, and if you can believe it, she’s even happier. Her progress in learning to crawl picked up almost immediately, and now she gets around so fast it’s scary. So, childproofing: high on the to-do list. Although, we generally plan to take the approach of having her learn what’s ok and not ok to touch instead of removing all objects from everywhere and padding all walls and corners.

On the 23rd we headed to Georgia for what was supposed to be three nights of camping at Stone Mountain, and two nights near Chattanooga, TN. Plans changed. Nora did not handle the heat and change of environment well at all. We spent one night at the campground and one night at a nearby hotel, then we headed home… after a stop at IKEA in Atlanta. It had to be done. How often am I ever so close? Oddly, Nora seemed to enjoy the hotel and the shopping. Hmm…

We will try camping again. Perhaps not in such a hot time of year next time. Also, next time we plan to travel, I will have to put her down to sleep in a travel crib for a few nights before we leave. More than anything, not being in her crib seemed to throw her off. This baby is useless without naps and a good night of sleep.

The theme of the past couple of months, for me, has been the struggle to balance work-life and mom-life. I’m still working half days, and it’s clear that, financially, I can’t do this long term. We plan for me to return to full time after the Labor Day holiday. On the one hand, it’s the safe and practical decision, but on the other… I am so dreading it.

On a bright and happy note, our nieces are coming to visit next weekend! They are Errol’s step-brother’s two girls, ages 13 and 8. I think it’s something they’ve wanted to do for a long time. I have no idea why. Maybe they thing we’re cool or something? I don’t see it. Errol’s parents are bringing them and leaving them with us for the weekend. I’m pretty excited about planning girly-fun things to do, although with these two we’re probably just going to play a lot of Guitar Hero.

Favorite things!

I have been meaning to blog about this for a while, but I finally am because now I have two exciting things to talk about.

First, let me tell you how much I adore my razor. I’m not kidding. The Schick Intuition is the best thing that has ever happened to my legs. I don’t have to use shaving cream or anything anymore. I can actually just grab the razor and shave in the shower without fancy acrobatics. I was skeptical, but the bar of soap thing that surrounds the blade on this razor really, really works. Every mother should have one of these. Nay, every woman needs one. Why, oh why, did it take so long for someone to come up with this. People, I will be baring my legs this summer. This is a huge accomplishment.

Thing the second! Oh, let me tell you about the mascara I bought yesterday. I had my brows shaped up by the Brow Gal at Zoe, and as I was checking out I asked for a mascara recommendation. I bought the tube without thinking much about it, because I hate what I was using and trust these ladies. SO, this morning I grab the box, which is interesting I suppose, and expecting a plain old tube of mascara inside. Now, pretend you are me in this moment, and click here.

Oh my gosh! It’s encased in purple crocodile! Eeee! I am a sucker for packaging, and Tarte has won my heart. The mascara is awesome, too, btw.

Also, my eyebrows look amazing.

P.S. West Virginia is rescheduled for the last weekend in May. I am sooo relieved to be going to see my friend. I’m sure she’s pretty excited, too.

I’m going to West Virginia next week

My best friend just had a baby. I used to be jealous of her midwife, and her plans for a home birth. But, I can’t do that to her. I can’t be jealous. She had a very traumatic experience: 4 days of labor, and a 10 pound baby boy who wanted to come out elbows first. Now that I have had my own baby, I don’t believe anyone can have the perfect birth. There’s no way your expectations can match what it’s really like to have a baby. I want to be there to give her the support I had, and to be for her the help I wanted.

Her experience brings back so many memories and raw emotions from after Nora was born. We had a really good talk, and a really good cry together last night. It was so good to have her on the phone.

What can I gain from going for a visit? What can she gain, if I can only be there a couple of days? I want to give her confidence. One thing I can say about my doula, our pediatrician and the lactation consultant: I can look back on their words as encouraging and strengthening. Our pediatrician once said, when I was in the middle of heartbreaking breast feeding problems, was “You need to enjoy your baby.” And, I wasn’t. I want to help my friend have time to enjoy your baby. I know she is where I once was, and just maybe I can help her draw that map to joy.