15 Years

IMG_0684Rounding the bend on my way to Clear Lake, I see him in that old Ford pickup truck, driving away – too fast. It’s like something out of a sappy country song.

It’s a memory.

And a wish.

It is fleeting and impossible all at once.

My friend, Buddy, died 15 years ago today. He took his own life. One of life’s great mysteries.

It is quite remarkable, that time has marched on.

Yet I still wouldn’t be surprised if he showed up on the lake one day. I honestly wouldn’t.

That feeling that he’s just around the corner? It’s made 15 years of one-sided friendship easier.

As a mother now to a son of my own, I’ve been really dwelling on this impending anniversary. It is terrifying and motivating all at once. Motivating in that I hope to raise my children to know that I will stand by them if the dark corners of their minds creep from the corners and into the midst of their lives. Terrifying knowing that the dark corners are like the depths of the ocean – unstudied realities.

Oh but what a gift it is, to be Elle and Jay’s Mom.

On this day each year, I make a point to reiterate that I miss Buddy far better than I ever loved him.

And I’m sorry for that.

August 24

I’m not even going to try to catch up. 

My New Year’s Resolution to “be a better blogger” is failing miserably. I should have resolved to lose weight – I’m actually doing that. 

After a random summer of Jon working out of town, having John Emerson “Jay” arrive in June, enjoying maternity leave over a summer that saw my parents buy a cabin at Clear Lake, I’ve got just two more weeks of maternity leave (ahh, the unpaid part finally begins). 

Today we just hung out around the house after a full day yesterday of running the Crim 5K and Elle running the Teddy Bear Trot. She ran THE WHOLE WAY! She was awesome. I did NOT run the entire 5K, but ran my fastest average pace since I started running just 3 weeks ago, so I feel pretty darn good about that. 

Elle is a wonderful big sister to “Jay Baaabbaaayyy” (what we call him) and hasn’t had too much in the way of adjustment issues. Some here and there, but nothing to write about per se. 

Jay is SUCH a good baby. I don’t know how we got two great babies in a row. I think Jay is even easier than Elle was, which is really saying something. So. Stinking. Cute. 

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With two weeks to go and a 34th birthday to celebrate in between, I’m just focusing on getting our lives organized before I hit the ground running going back to work. And I’m also excited to be signing up for a great bootcamp three nights a week. I feel like at the very least I’m making my own health a priority. While I was running the 5K yesterday, I just liked the fact that it felt good that my daughter was WATCHING me, ACTIVELY participating in something. It made pushing to go just a bit faster, just a bit easier. 

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Here is my brother Trevor, his girlfriend Ashley, me and Elle at the Crim yesterday! 

When we stopped to Jon’s parents yesterday, the first of what will be many identity swaps happened. You see, John Emerson – the baby Jay – was born this year. And my husband Jonathan – Jon/Jonny/Jonathan – is a J-O-N. And his Dad is JOHN Lee. So, yes, certainly room for confusion. It’s why our John E. has been Jay since day one. But somehow – and this has happened to my Jon for years – but Jay Baby got his first AARP solicitation letter. Seriously AARP, get it together. How do you even come up with this stuff?! 

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Just look at these kiddos – and Jay sitting up in his Bumbo at just 9 weeks old. What a big guy! 

 

Week by Week Pregnancy: In Case You Needed Proof

I have taken photos every week throughout this pregnancy – I didn’t even do that for Elle.

In case you needed proof, here you go…All 35+ weeks in all their glory.

 

 

Week 7

Week 7

 

Week 8

Week 8

Week 9

Week 9

 

Week 10

Week 10

 

Week 11

Week 11

 

Week 12

Week 12

 

Week 13

Week 13

 

Week 14

Week 14

 

Week 15

Week 15

 

Week 16

Week 16

 

Week 17

Week 17

 

Week 18

Week 18

 

Week 19

Week 19

 

Week 20

Week 20

 

Week 21

Week 21

 

Week 22

Week 22

 

Week 23

Week 23

 

Week 24

Week 24

 

Week 25

Week 25

 

Week 26

Week 26

 

Week 27

Week 27

 

Week 29

Week 29

 

Week 30

Week 30

 

Week 31

Week 31

 

Week 32

Week 32

 

Week 33

Week 33

 

Week 35

Week 35

Week 35, Day 6

Due Date: June 22, 2014 (but have lobbied to be induced earlier, which is reflected in the days to go!)

Baby Developments: Baby’s the size of a honeydew melon! Your due date is just four weeks away. Hasn’t time flown? Your once-poppy seed would probably be able to breathe on his own if he was born right now. (If not, he’d probably need some TLC, but he’d likely be okay.) Most of his systems are in working order at 36 weeks. Since baby really could decide to make his arrival any day now, try to put in a little prep work. For example, if you took a child birth class a few months ago, you might want to reread any materials you were given and practice some of the breathing techniques you learned with your partner. Go over your plan for getting to the hospital, and all the what-ifs (like, if you go into labor while you’re at work, will you go home first or straight there?). You might also want to remind your boss and colleagues of the status of all your work projects, so they know exactly where to take over if you’re suddenly out of the office. Week 36 is also a good time to enjoy a date with your partner. We’re guessing you won’t be up for dancing, but a nice dinner might be just what you two could use.

Weight Gain: Pretty much standard for my weight prior to getting pregnant. Somewhere in the 25-30 pound range, which I’m ok with. I have been S.I.C.K. sick for the last 2 1/2 weeks, so eating hasn’t been the first thing on my mind. Especially after waking up to Elle puking Tuesday morning and to myself puking this morning. Ugh.

Cravings: To stop feeling like general shit and to be able to feel like a human in good health. I just got worn out with a sinus infection gone wrong, and now this battle of the stomach flu. So, I CRAVE an ending to feeling like absolute crap.

Symptoms: Not sure what to note here…no swelling in feet or ankles, not much else to report. Feel like my boobs have gotten a lot bigger lately and that this baby has grown exponentially in the last two weeks. Which, of course, he is supposed to be doing.

I am loving: The days when I have felt well in the last few weeks, because I’ve been uber-productive at work and gotten just a ton of stuff done. It’s helping me feel a little bit more prepared to go out on maternity leave.

Sleep: I’m sleeping pretty well, not having to pee a lot yet, but it’s hard to get comfortable to GET to sleep.

I miss: My husband. About the time I started to get sick, he went back to work after having been laid off for several weeks. It was a good break for him, after he had worked crazy hours all winter. And then he goes back to work working 84 hours a week, plus 3 hours of drive time a day, just when I hit my weakest point health-wise. I feel like I see him and talk to him for all of 4 minutes each night, and that’s about it. He’s my best buddy, and I do miss talking to him and knowing what’s going on in each other’s lives. I feel like there is so much going on with both of us independently of one another right now, and I just miss him, quite honestly. (For the record, this is the first time I think I’ve ever done a weekly update in my life where drinking wasn’t the thing I missed0.

I am looking forward to: the growth ultrasound in a week and a half where we’ll get the 3D ultrasound pictures. I’m also looking forward to narrowing down the names for this poor child. We just haven’t been able to determine a name we really both like.

I am spazzing about: Feeling like complete junk. Today is the first day that I have NOT gone into the office at. all. since I started feeling like crap. I did switch MOD days with a co-worker last week, so I had Saturday off. That was after the ER visit on Friday, but I had still been in the office in the morning and filmed a TV segment before going to the ER. I feel like we’re pretty ready. I was worried about not having enough pajamas for this little guy when he arrives, but Carter’s baby sale this week helped that feeling subside. I went a bit overboard on jammies…

Best moment of the week: Last night, when Elle wrapped her arms around me, kissed me and I said “I love you SOOOO much”.

Milestones: The quilt has been delivered and the nursery is nearly complete. I’m very happy with how it’s all come together. I also think I’ve ‘dropped’ a bit. Or the baby has, whatever. They actually commented on it at work (people who I don’t mind commenting), and I had actually thought that myself in the morning. So, I think it’s true. Baby’s getting ready to join the world!

Movement: Lots. and lots. and lots more. I keep thinking with the way he’s moving he’s got to be ready to just come out already — but feeling as crappy as I have the last few weeks, I wouldn’t have wanted that to happen anyway.

It’s a….: Boy.

Exercise: Not much.

Diet: Fairly decent. Except that I can’t keep track of what I’m actually eating or how often. I just have felt so crappy. Thought I turned the corner Wednesday – only to be slapped with an unsettled stomach all day yesterday.

Goals for the upcoming week: Prep for maternity leave. Make a plan with daycare for Elle once the baby arrives. Buy Elle’s Big Sister present.

Letters to Elle: Two and a Third

Dear Elle,

You, my dear, sweet, funny, wonderful girl, are two and a third. Plus a little bit.

It’s amazing, after having been gone for two nights for work, to come home and see how you’ve changed, how your vocabulary has grown. You talk.

A lot.

I mean, a lot.

And most of the time, I understand everything you say. But then there are times you just devolve into a mumbling mess — those are the times when I feel like you are absolutely 800% my daughter.

I see me in you. In pictures, in behavior. And it’s incredible.

When I say “I love you” you say “I love you too”.

Or, sometimes, you’ll question “you love me?” or sometimes just state it. You’re getting better at your vocabulary though, so those are becoming fewer and farther between.

You LOVE Sherriff Callie’s Wild West, a show on Disney Junior. I stumbled upon a cowboy hat at a meeting I had at Cracker Barrel last week. Paired with your pink cowgirl boots from Aunt Jill and your lasso (mainly anything that you can fling – a pom pom, a Greektown Casino Players Club card with the springy attachment cord thing, a broken princess jeweled necklace from a dress up kit), you say that you are Sherriff Callie. Sometimes that you are Sherriff Elle.

You know your letters – most of the time. You learn so much at school. It’s truly incredible. You know A is for Apple, B is for…I’m not sure what the song is, C is for Cat, E is for Elbow, etc. You know the letters on sight. You can count consistently to 13, though not every single time. You can even go as high as 20 if you aren’t focusing on what you’re doing and just count. It’s repetition, I know, but it’s damn impressive to me.

The other night you tried to climb onto the back of the couch and your Dad said “No Elle” and you turned around, pointed at him, and said “No, Daddy, you don’t tell me!” to which I buried my head in the pillow in immense laughter, looked at your Dad’s face (priceless!) and composed myself before ultimately reinforcing that you shouldn’t climb on the back of the couch.

You are an INCREDIBLY terrible eater. I mean, really bad. We’re not good at family dinners, but you don’t really care to eat too much. You’re very much like your Dad that way. And I REFUSE to battle on food. I feel like we have this huge focus on finishing your plate, etc. and I just think that you know when you’re hungry and you eat when you’re hungry. And you’re not a person who eats just to eat. So, you eat a lot of fruit and yogurt and vegetables, cereal, some chicken fingers or nuggets, macaroni and cheese. But you like veggies and fruit. So I don’t worry too awfully much. I know we could do it differently, but this is the way we do it.

You are funny about your ‘brudder’. This afternoon you told me that you ‘hear him’ and sometimes you tell me that you need to tickle him, which requires lifting my shirt and tickling my belly. I’ve tried to get you to sit still and feel the kicks and punches he throws, but you’re not good at sitting still for that long unless it involves Octonauts or Sherriff Callie.

I mean, you still like Doc McStuffins (you give Dad and me check ups pretty often, including some pretty vicious ‘shots’) and Sofia the First. But, Octonauts are who you talk to when you pick up the phone and Sherriff Callie is your FAVE.

Speaking of the phone, evidently the few days I was out of town for work, you began picking up the phone in your play kitchen, walking around, calling Papa Scott, and telling him that your Dad is grumpy. Which both your Dad and I think is funny. And that I think is true. He is grumpy sometimes.

You always compliment me on my jewelry. You say “I wike you eawwings mumma” or “I wike ou neckace” and then you touch it. Today, I put the necklace I was wearing on you and you said it was your amulet (like Sofia’s).

You love spending time with your Grandma and Papa’s.

Last weekend you went skating on the ice at Great Grandma Rosemary’s for the first time with Amy while she was in town and Steven. You were very good and not scared at all.
We also welcomed your first-ever baby cousin — Max — too. He’s your second cousin, but you loved him. You held him and you kissed him and then you went on your way. Hopefully that’s what it’s like when your brudder comes.

YOu went through a tough phase where you refused to take baths because you were afraid your toys would go down the drain. So you took showers with me, which has led you to talk frequently about ‘you boobies’ (my boobies). We are past the fear of the bath, but you still like showers sometimes. So, it’s a nice change of pace either way.

Well, I know it’s been a long time since I wrote one of these, but seriously, I’m tired and it’s tough keeping up around the house when you destroy it all the time!!🙂

I continue to be amazed how smart you are, how much you seem to care about other people and how shy you can be though you don’t ever strike me as a shy person. You’re this perfect blend of personality, really. You’re just incredibly you – and because I see me in you, it makes me want to be better too. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you, my girl. I just love you so much, you just have filled me up.

Love,

Mom

Girls Weekend on the Horizon

Ahh, with one vacation springing up unexpectedly, it’s been nice to have been looking forward to getting away with my bestie Andrea.

I had purchased at an incredible price a two night stay at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa through a silent auction for an organization I work with – and for Christmas Andrea and I decided we’d plan a girls trip. We’ve both sort of struggled with whether it should be just us or we invite other people, but in the end we opted that just the two of us head to Traverse City. Having just had to go there for work, I scoped it out and am looking forward to the boutique browsing/shopping, meals out at some great places, maybe a pedicure or massage, maybe heading to the wineries (she’ll be able to imbibe while I’ll drive…but I like the shopping and I can always handle re-stocking the wine shelf!).

Anyway, even if all we do is linger over meals longer than normal, walk slowly and only worry about ourselves for a two night stay, I’m ok with it. The entire point is to get away without our kids.

We both love our kiddos immensely…but I’m very much looking forward, after this long winter, to just relaxing and seeing what happens. We’ll probably hit up the casino (I mean, why not?!) and do whatever tickles our fancy. Perhaps we’ll take our time getting to the resort and stop along the way, or just hop in the car and see where we go on Saturday for the day, or maybe take our time getting home. Who knows. Whatever we want to do, that’s what we’ll do. We won’t be changing diapers or worrying about all the ways we’re trying to wrangle our kids…we’ll just be us for a few hours of the day.

What a fan-freaking-tastic proposition!!!