Uh Oh, It’s Almost Christmas

Where does the time go, seriously?

I don’t think I’ve posted a photo on here in AGES, so in reverse order…here is how trying to get Christmas photos for our Christmas card went:

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Jon looks like he’s skeptical at best, Elle has completely melted down and I’m trying to hold my chin up (to look my skinniest) without appearing to completely look down my nose. How’d I do?

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At this point, we were hoping one of THESE would turn out. These photos were taken AFTER we’d gone to the orchard and had family photos taken in October. That didn’t go how we’d planned.

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And then of course, just like the camera battery in the middle of the photo shoot, Elle needed a recharge. This was probably somewhere in the midst of Elle pulling the stockings off the mantel and the beautiful stocking holder onto her head, miraculously only skimming the edge of her noggin.

🙂

We also attempted family photos with a local photographer. I will say that the final edited photos came out better than I would have thought they could, but they weren’t what I had hoped. It really is hard to find great photographers, because so many people (hello, self) stumble into the photography market thinking they can be photographers. There’s way more to it than a digital SLR is all I can say…

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We also hosted Elle’s first birthday party back on October 13. Here’s what it looked like…

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Damn Pinterest – it always looks better in the pro shots, but this was definitely the over-the-top monstrosity I was going for. Minnie themed without being TOO Minnie Mouse-y.

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My Aunt-in-Law, Laura, did all the fabulous desserts, including Elle’s cake. She is a master in the kitchen and this all was just as easy as paying her — which is how I like to do parties these days!

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The Minnie cupcakes are amazing. Here’s an uber-close up.

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Elle may in fact have an Oleg Cassini cake server in her hands, happily stabbing her cake. She wasn’t THAT into the cake, I have to admit. I think us adults did more damage on her behalf than she actually did. Which is amazing, because I feel like she tears everything ELSE apart.

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We worked for weeks and weeks leading into her birthday for her to hold up one finger when you asked how old she was. And here she is, holding up one finger on both hands. She’s advanced and ready for ‘two’ I guess.

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The only picture of the three of us that day. Well, the only one where at least 2/3 of us are looking in the same direction. There was a lot to be distracted by.

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Elle’s Uncle Trevor got her her very first Tiffany’s, carrying on a family tradition that my Grandpa began. It was overwhelming to me – but Elle thought it was fantastic (so did I, but it made me tear up, I’ll admit).

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Did I fail to mention that I got Elle and I matching outfits? Except I didn’t wear red pants? Yup, totally matched. Sort of dweeby, but there’s only so long you can actually pull that off…so…I did it. It kind of made me want to puke, but I kind of secretly liked it, too.

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Did I mention the distractions…err…how I may have invited 80 people…

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…and then…

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This was Elle’s actual birth-day. What you can’t see by my selective posting of photos is that the outfit she’s in in this photo is the SAME ONE we put her to bed wearing the day before. You can obviously see the tired-ness in my face and general appearance here. It was a big night the night before.

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My Mom and Dad got Elle a baby jogging stroller and a baby, Abby. Elle can be seen here sitting on the box it all came in 🙂

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I took these the day before the big party and had them printed at Meijer as 5×7’s and used self-adhesive magnets that Jon’s Mom, Karen, gave me. It was PERFECT. I just stuck them around the house on different magnetic surfaces or on fridges and people could take any that they wanted. It was kind of a favor, but whatever…and the magnet was thin enough that you could still put the whole thing in a frame without ruining the picture itself.

Here are a few others I printed for that day:

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A few days later, we took engagement photos in the park here in town with Jon’s brother and his fiance, Jen. I thought I did an alright job!

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Not too shabby, right?

Anyway, that’s pretty much where we stand at the moment. Or at least the goings on in October.

And to think that I began this post to complain about how I have no Christmas shopping done. And then got distracted…which is why I have no Christmas shopping done.

Well, if you were planning on having a present from me and this blog is any indication, you can expect your gift sometime in February.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the pics and tonight’s catch up post.

 

Because I’m a Mother

I am among the most fortunate people in the world, I get to be a Mom to a girl I adore.

I say that, because I just finished a major crying bout.

Now, don’t say ‘ohhhh, why, Lindsay?’ or any of that sad stuff. Nothing to feel bad about or to be down about. Other than being a Mom, I suppose, and the perennial feelings of guilt that go with that.

As you may know, Elle has this hemangioma dwelling above her left eye. She was born with it. I’ve blogged about it. We’ve gone to the pediatrician and the dermatologist who have both said ‘do nothing – it WILL go away, sooner rather than later’. The dermatologist assured us (ok, me) that it’s probably breaking up already and that it’s really nothing to worry about. And that the medicine to treat it causes heart issues and the lasers to make it go away cause scarring.

Better to do nothing.

Thank you, experts. We will trust you (at least for now).

Tonight we went to a birthday dinner with Jon’s family. I love family – mine, his, ours (keep that in mind as you read) – and was glad that we were going. I like that we have a life that allows this type of celebration, sharing of time and space and experience. It’s important to me, to the life we are creating for Elle and ourselves.

Jon and I, among the many things we have in common, have the same number of aunts from our Mom’s. Yes, each of our mothers has four sisters.

Tonight, each of his aunt’s managed to ask before anything else ‘what does the doctor say about that thing above her eye’.

Not ‘How’s she sleeping?’ or ‘God, Lindsay, you look great 12 weeks post-delivery’ or ‘Jon seems like a good Dad, is he?’ or even ‘Is she sleeping through the night?’

Nope, none of that.

Instead,  I practiced my smile and my ‘rest assured I couldn’t possibly have heard what you just asked me’ look. I took it in stride. I knew, as Elle’s Mom, that I had sought out not just a pediatrician’s opinion, but also that of a specialist who came well-referred. I don’t see the damned thing above her eye when it’s just us, but when other people are involved, and I see them looking at the thing – well, then it’s in my mind.

And so is my self-doubt

And my racing mind was not put at ease by the remarks of:

“Ooooh, you went to that doctor? I’d for sure get a second opinion.”

I gave myself some time alone in the midst of the party. I was glad to have it. I tried to quiet my mind. I tried to forget about what these women were saying. I know that I’m an intelligent individual, that I have access to better health care than many – most. I am strong, independent and in control.

It’s who I am.

It’s what I do.

So why was I reduced to tears as I tried to get myself together after these comments?

My baby is PERFECT.

She’s wonderful, and happy. Among other things, she is well-loved and smiley and sleeps halfway decent and is growing like a weed and…I could go on and on.

So why am I hung up on what some women who I have known just three years have to say?

Because I’m a mother.

I drank too much wine at dinner because I couldn’t deal with it (yes, escapist, but whatever). The wine – and tomorrow’s hangover – will not have been that good or very worth it. But, I had to do something and causing a scene wasn’t in the cards (though I did try).

My baby was born and it turns out she has this strawberry mark – that she was born with, a la, a birthmark – above her left eye.

She’s happy and healthy and good-mannered and SO LOVABLE.

And yet.

And yet.

I cried driving home.

I cried, holding Elle and rocking her once we got home.For a long time, it felt like.

Not because I was sad that they had pointed out something ‘different’ about my baby – but because I was helpless to it.

It’s a fact that Elle has this mark above her eye.

It’s a fact that it will go away in its own time and that we DON’T KNOW that it will.

It’s a fact that the first thing people see about my baby – my wonderfully happy, healthy, smart, little girl – is the red mark above her eye.

No, AT&T repair man, I did NOT drop my baby.

No, teacher, it did NOT rupture and you do not have to treat her differently or care for her differently because of the red mark above her eye.

No, Aunt soandso, we don’t need it biopsied. It is not cancer. But thanks for your positive energy.

No, stranger at the grocery store, I did not do a thing wrong while pregnant to cause my baby to be born with a mark above her eye. Stop staring.

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Jon says ‘There’s a big red mark above her eye, people are going to look.” He’s so practical. But, our family aren’t ‘people’. I can handle ‘people’. But, our family aren’t just ‘people’ in my mind (though they’re quickly on that track to becoming just people). Family are the folks who hold you up when ‘people’ drag you down. But tonight, that’s not what it felt like. Not what it felt like at all.

 

And, this is just one mark above her eye. What about the mommies and daddies who have children who have something actually, seriously, wrong? I mean, I’m upset about a birth mark and the comments made?! It takes a strong person to be a parent, it turns out. And I’m so, so lucky. And trying to be stronger.

 

And here’s why I cried…

Because I can’t stop them staring. I can’t stop the comments, I can’t stop the questions. I can hope, only, that it goes away before she’s old enough to get the questions herself. Because the staring and the wondering isn’t something I can always protect her from. Because there are things beyond my control – especially other people – and I want SO BAD to protect my girl from that. Any of it. Ever. Whether it’s a mark above her eye or something else.

 

It’s that thing that men don’t understand.

“Why are you crying, there’s nothing you can do.”

“I’m crying because there ISN’T anything I can do.”

 

Tonight’s blog was supposed to be about the joy I got laying on the floor staring up at the ceiling fan with Elle.

About how laying on the floor and watching her tiny little hands stretch out in front of her, clasped, toward the ceiling makes me fill up. About how while she was watching the ceiling fan, I was watching her. About how the precious moments in which I get to stare at the ceiling, doing nothing but being present and soaking in the gift of my girl, center my world.

It was supposed to be about ceiling fans.

Instead, it’s about being a mother.

Elle’s mother.

I would not trade it for anything, ever, in my whole life, my whole world. But rest assured, for those of you who make the comments that compel me to tears, I’m done crying.

I’m in protect mode now.

Best of luck to you.

You have made me feel helpless and hapless – and I will not permit that feeling to be forced upon my daughter. I am strong – stronger than you – and I am standing up.

For me.
For my daughter.
I. Stand. Up.