December 4, 2015

My pledge for a better future.

Defeated. Un-inspired. Buried.

For months I have been struggling to free myself from the suffocation of world news. Tormenting myself with sucking all this evil into my soul. Allowing it to depress me and question everything that lights my bringing more children into this life.

I've found myself engulfed in Syrian refugee news, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, mindless US battlefields...and the despair and hopelessness that I allowed to filter through me has destroyed pieces of my happiness as I've struggled to stay in the light of this heaviness.
Fall day full of happy.

No more.

The best that I can do, that we can all do, is to love, cherish and protect these children so that they do not become the non-accepting, non-forgiving, wounded, and revenge-seeking destroyers.

To instill in them the values of human life and family.

To sculpt their minds and hearts towards kindness and generosity.

To say "I love you" a million times a day.

To ask for forgiveness and say "I'm sorry" when we need to accept our part in controversy.

To feel laughter and warmth.

To make them feel safe.

I pledge to do my best for every child I meet, in hopes that this is how I will make a difference in our future.

April 10, 2015

5 points on pregnancy weight loss (it blows.)

Let's get real...gaining 60 pregnancy pounds didn't happen from sticking to fruits and vegetables.

+60# on the morning of Mack, and I still love this pic.
Sure I ate a lot of those, I always do. I love making gourmet salads and dressings, then grilling some salmon or chicken to throw over it. But, I also love a good maple creamstick that I never let myself eat anymore...until I was pregnant.

My Amazing Dad would visit with a bag of 5 maple creamsticks from our hometown bakery and I'd be in heaven with the bag, a glass of milk and my feet propped up. To. Die. For. I'd eat one each day and if my husband was fast enough to snag one then he was lucky. (Not one every day of my pregnancy, just when they were available.)

One time, my parents came in on a party bus with friends to tailgate and go to the Browns game, so my husband and I parked at my office and walked down to meet them. (It was so very far for a 7-month prego chick, I'll tell you that.) Everyone held on to their beers, I held onto the donuts my Dad surprised me with. I walked 2 miles for some donuts. That was effing commitment.

Being a food and wine lover and having a body that has to depend on constant calorie counting and everyday workouts, pregnancy brought freedom.

And freedom was soooo tasty.

When you become a vessel that harbors a tiny human, you experience weakness, light-headedness, dizzy spells, and so much hunger. You constantly need water or some sort of nourishment. Usually it's whatever you can grab because you will die if you don't have it RIGHT THIS SECOND. Anyway, you get the picture. advice from my 15-month journey to lose those 60 pounds:
  1. Forget the first 3 months of working on this goal because you are so overwhelmed with overcoming childbirth (a cesarean for me), learning how to take care of a tiny, tiny person, exhaustion, how to manage housework, dinner and no social life.
  2. Then forget the next 3 months (6-month parental anniversary mark) because you have probably gone back to work and have a whole new set of problems -- like pumping and exhaustion, housework and dinner.  
  3. Now forget the next 3 months because you are SO involved with maintaining and preparing for this kid's daily schedule (thank the Lord, you have a schedule), and also trying to find time to see a few friends again. Yep, you probably have a 9-month old.
  4. Finally, you might make some natural progress and feel lighter in those post-prego pants and get your belts back out. This was about the time I began to feel encouraged and really got me to start to focus on myself a little bit again.
  5. No one is judging you, except you, so relax and find comfort in who you are now and your new life. For the last few months I am again counting everything I eat, doing daily legit pushups and sit ups, and playing sports when I can. I also don't care as much. I love being a Mom and gushing over my kid with my husband, and anyone who offers the conversation.
I still don't quite have a workout routine back like I used to (that would require a 3:30 am wake-up call and I would never be the THAT committed), but I'll take it. Of course, I never imagined the 2 years of pain and trauma that pregnancy and post-pregnancy would inflict on my body. But, down 49 and counting seems to call for reflection and taking inventory of my beautiful life. I choose to believe that this is a huge accomplishment -- despite those lucky and blessed ladies that people like me love to hate. Maybe I really can do it all (with my best partner), and that makes my heart smile.

 P.S. Next post is about my awesome shoe collection.

February 27, 2015

The stuff dreams are made of.

I tip-toe into my son's room every night and I lean on his crib, gently touch my hand to his back, and I listen. (Risky, I know.) I listen for his sweet, tiny, deep and dreamy breaths. I listen for his legs to wrestle around his soft blanket and the patter of the white-noise machine. I listen for my heartbeat to calm as I breathe him in and rest my chin on the crib. (It begins pounding when I stand outside his door and debate the worthiness of this risk.)

I stand there with the ache in my throat that only this overwhelming and immense love can bring. With my hand on his back I see the sparks of all my mommy magical powers for love and sleep flow into him. And I whisper my magic song, "Sweet baby, sleep so sweet."

How quickly it is that I realize I have no powers. I dive to the floor aiming for the gracefulness of a ninja, and stealthily army-crawl back to the door before he realizes it wasn't a dream. Then I watch the baby monitor and chuckle as he face-plants to the mattress and is again fast asleep.

I have come to realize how lucky we are that we have an amazing child who goes to sleep by 6:30 pm and rarely wakes until at least 6 am. And big star for us, I am so proud of the cues we learned to read in order to understand our kid. Protecting his sleep has given us the sweetest, most generous kisser, wink-er, giggle-er, tractor-loving little boy -- who also somehow still learned to scream with a pitch to hurt your insides and once in awhile throw tantrums like the "bad kid" while we hide laughs behind our hands.

I seriously did not realize how fun this stage of life would be. To see the recognition behind his eyes and his response to our conversation and requests (like giving kisses) is something that I never really thought about. And I know that I promised to devote more time to other things (ahem, writing and working out again) but I am so focused on taking in every moment of all this...and getting back some time to focus on my husband too. 

January 9, 2015

National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

Negative highlights spinning the world in cop-hate have left me sickened by the world's focus.  The hate is overwhelming. I said before that I struggle daily with staying out of it, but I feel the need to lend some air and support when it seems to be needed most.  I desperately want our defenders to know that there are people who understand and support them.

As a family of police officers, fire fighters and soldiers who have faced harsh realities, I can say that their reality means that sometimes evil has to be fought with evil.  When those we love become those who work in the dark to serve us and protect our innocence, they must lose themselves with each bit of hate that they have to smother in order to keep the darkness from reaching those they love, and even those that have no idea what is done every minute of every day to allow us to sleep in our beautiful dreams.

Pieces of their innocence trail in every city, every neighborhood, every street, on every corner and in every unmindful soul as they stand between us and what we are never meant to see.  They sacrifice their security, happiness, families, and sometimes even their humanity, to solve our problems and fight for us so that we do not have to make the same sacrifices. They take the brunt of the abused, the drugged up anger, the bullets, the punches, the ignorance, the "entitled," and they shelter us from that darkness.  They protect your rights, even as you turn your back on them.  And as some even falter in their steps, they still protect our dreams and our hopes.

It is funny though, my brother, the protector -- and one of the funniest humans I know.  After hearing so many tales of community members spitting on police officers, my rage sent me digging for more information.  I sent my brother a message telling him that NO ONE better be spitting on him. Statistics get my blood boiling about the ignorance of this mess, but I won't go there now.  But, in a split second I am ready to punish anyone to protect him.  Yet he offers this protection to everyone, those he loves and even to those who don't deserve his loyalty.  That IS something great. 

So when he says that he prefers that I stay oblivious, I know he means that he does not want me to know the obstacles he faces. If I did, it would break my heart over and over again and he does not want our pity or sorrow.  He loves that his job protects my innocence, and your innocence, and he will carry that darkness with pride despite his sacrifices.

Don't misunderstand me, I do not believe that every officer deserves my loyalty. But, I do believe that no matter what, they have done something to protect my innocence, my family, my security, my humanity, my beautiful dreams. 

Happy National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day to all those that I love, and those that I will never know.

January 1, 2015

Year-end 2014.

2014 came to a close faster than I could have ever imagined. Birthday parties, holiday shopping, prepping, planning, baking, cooking and wrapping...and it's been exhausting, hilarious and so much fun. I've had so much to say and no time to say it in the last two months, but thank you all for tuning in and I promise 2015 will be the year I get my act together! I'll leave you with some of my favorite pictures to end the year...

Some birthday party crafting.

I have a 1-year-old.

So in awe and loving the CLE Aquarium.
The center of our universe.
The O's and the K's and Rob ;)

G & G with the kiddos.

My sweet little family.

Momma and her angel-pie.