Monday, September 19, 2016

Begin Again

*tap, tap*

Is this thing still on? If anyone still checks in on this place, I'm amazed and excited.

Hi! Hello. So... it's been over six months. I've missed this space. More so, I've missed the connection that comes with a blog. For four years, I was so accustomed to documenting life here. Along the way, others chimed in and friendships were built through e-mails, social media, texting, phone calls, Skype/FaceTime, and meeting in person. I want to print a hard copy of this blog for myself, because I love the memories that live here -- both the actual words on the page and the feelings that come with reading them.

After we moved to Nashville and I started my new job, I really needed to hunker down and focus on work, school, and family. I planned to take a few weeks off the blog, and then the return date just kept getting pushed out more and more. I've been hoping that the new blog design that was so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed back in April wouldn't lose its luster over time. Fortunately, I still think she's a looker! (I had the space revamped for a return, complete with new photo, and then what did I do? I chopped my hair off last month, so now the photo is outdated. You win some; you lose some.) The tagline couldn't have summed up the last six months any better: "When you keep a pretty blog, because real life feels like a hot mess."

Presley is a very different little human than the one pictured in the last blog post (titled "Sweet P: One Year Old!"). She not only walks but runs. She is expressive and has a really great sense of humor. She has a deeper sense of self and makes her wants known. She took swim lessons in the spring and seemed to like it but not for the full duration of the class. She is extremely kind, loving, and helpful. She wears pigtails, shakes her hips, and blows her nose into Kleenex. I haven't rocked her to sleep for about a month, because she willingly kisses me good night and signs "I love you" from her crib as I walk to the door, turn off the light, and sign it back to her with a smile. We still get googly eyes for our little girl almost every day, and we probably will continue to do so for the rest of our lives. A few weeks ago, we made eyes at each other as we watched her from across the room while she hummed the "ABCs" and pressed the buttons on her toy phone. I mouthed to him, "We made that!"

There have been many times this year that I've found myself trying to make sense of adult things like stock grants, credit scores, house hunting, and budgeting. The most notable adult matter was in July when we were faced with a very real and shocking situation that briefly haunted us with thoughts of our family of three becoming a family of two. Our world was flipped more than once, but we all made it off the roller coaster! We kept our sanity in tact through good ol' team work and with thanks to the small few who were in the know and supported us in the dearest of ways. (Also, an active, growing toddler is an excellent distraction.) All that matters is health and love, and we've got both, baby!

The truth is that I've needed this space--to share stories, to make sense of things, and to connect with those who have walked a mile in the same shoes (and maybe commiserate a little?). Some of my "blogger friends" no longer blog, but it's still a community I really love (and missed).

Happy to be back. Can't wait to chat with you.  :)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sweet P: One Year Old!

Well, she is one year and two weeks old as of today. Like last month, better late than never!

What a year! We hardly remember how small 6 lbs., 9 oz. felt in our arms, and it's been a bit surreal to see all of her monthly photos in one collage. Look at that precious little nugget at one month old!

Highlights from Presley's twelfth month of life:

  1. She officially started walking on 2/16. It was exciting to see her on a roll, and just two days later, she was steady and quick! We could tell she had been ready for weeks but wasn't sure of herself. Sometimes we tricked her into walking to us with the help of food and toys.  
  2. We moved to Nashville just after she turned 11 months old. She handled the move to Nashville like a champ. Well, not the actual move. I had to pull over twice on the drive from Memphis, but she settled in at the new house just fine. I spent too much time concerned about how the move, empty walls, differently configured furniture, and new surroundings would jack up her routine. She didn't give any of it a second thought. Babies are resilient like that.  
  3. She has mastered getting down from the couch and the stairs. 
  4. Her seventh tooth came in on 2/9. She had been chewing on her fingers and drooling a bit for about a week before, so we knew the next teeth would be coming in soon. Her eight tooth came in on two days later. 
  5. She is very good at communicating. I think it's a combination of us understanding her cues really well now and her consistency with signing. She shakes her head when she doesn't want something we offer. The tone of her babbles vary and mimic the sounds that we make.  
  6. She "sings" with us -- which means that I sing two notes, and she sings or hums them back. 
  7. She purposely forces laughter to carry on with us. She made a facial expression that had us cackling, and when the moment subsided, she pretend-laughed... which then made all three of us laugh. When I was pregnant, I remember joking to S, “Wouldn’t it be so terrible if she didn’t have a sense of humor? That would be terrible! All the fun in this house would be completely wasted.” Consider my fear eliminated. 
  8. New foods this month were olives, tomato, and sweet potato. It had been awhile since she had quinoa, so we tried that again too. She still likes it! 
  9. She flirted for the first time, and the twinkle in her eye was a sight to behold! She made friends with a certain waiter who then gave her attention every single time he walked by the table. She loved every minute of it. So much personality! (See next photo.) 
  10. She has started putting things away which was a nice surprise. Not only does she remove things from my bathroom drawers, but she puts them away too. Usually in the wrong drawer, but you know, I appreciate the effort.

Happy (belated) birthday, Pres! We love you so much!

All of her past monthly updates:
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11

Monday, February 22, 2016

Dear Presley: The Things You Taught Me in One Year

Dear Presley,

Happy 1st birthday! I've spent the last week watching you walk around the house and remembering the tiny infant that changed our world on this day last year at exactly 9:20 in the morning. As I had been warned ad nauseam throughout your first weeks, your first year nearly gave me whiplash. I had been "textbook ready" for parenthood after all the books and blogs I (prematurely) studied for years, but nothing could have prepared me emotionally for what it would mean to be your mother. There are a few things I would have done differently as I stumbled through being a mom, but I certainly cannot imagine that it's possible to love you more than I do. Lucky for me, you won't remember all the things that happened in your first year. Instead, I want to write down a few things you taught me.

Thank you for teaching me....

... to always acknowledge those who are helping me out, even when I thought I was on my own. (How many mamas can say that their little one literally twisted and pushed her way out during delivery?!)

... that tomorrow is a always new day.

... that it is more important to achieve milestones on our own time rather than someone else's.

... that love can be so overwhelming that it renders one speechless.

... that doing something you've always wanted to do can be hard, sometimes, and that is OK.

... that love is all that matters, not whether I am a full-time working mom or a stay-at-home mom.

... that parenting is equally magical, maddening, and funny.

... that, like you, I don't have this whole thing figured out, but we'll figure it out together -- and that is really special.

... that there will be days that you only want Daddy and that I'm really lucky to have this family.

... that you make me want to be better in a lot of ways. A better wife, mom, family member, friend, student, teacher, worker, jokester. Basically, anything that I could possibly do in this life, I want to be better.

Being your mom and your dad's wife are two of the most important things I'll ever do. I love our family. You have completed us. Happy birthday, my darling girl!


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

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