Life update about ALL THE THINGS

:microphone tap:

Hello? Anyone out there?

Sorry it’s been a minute, darling imaginary blog readers! Life has been moving at a rather hectic pace the last few months. It still is, for that matter, but so much has happened in our little family that my need to share my life on the internet has hit maximum capacity ;-). Settle in, I’ll try to keep this on the novella side of novel but I make no promises.

Firstly! In case you missed my exuberant facebook and instagram posts this week, or if you’ve been lucky enough to avoid my large and slightly obnoxious group texts, I have news for you!

pollywog birth announcement

We are expecting a Pollywog, due January 7! We’ll probably name the critter something more human-like when it’s born. I’m twelve weeks now and the worst of the morning sickness seems to be behind us (I type as I knock on all the wood surfaces nearby). We heard the heartbeat for the first time and it was a sweet, sweet sound. It was very fitting that we found out we are expecting on Mary’s birthday. She loves babies with great passion and will make an excellent big sister.

Which brings us to our second piece of news… somehow, my little baby turned two last month!

mary singing birthday song

Here she is directing her own happy birthday song at her party with her friends. Oh, cutie pie, you’re such a fierce bundle of energy and personality and sweetness. I love you so.

We were able to celebrate in Georgia with family first, then we had a low-key party at Mary’s favorite park with her Louisville buddies. Pro tip: if you send out evites to your friends inviting them to your child’s birthday party, quadruple check that you put the right date on the invites. Not that I would know or anything… Anyway, it was a lovely time and also served as a good thank you/ we love you/ goodbye party with our Louisville friends who have been so kind to us.

News item number three: we’re back in Michigan! After ten months on launch in Louisville, Matt’s assignment at the Louisville Assembly Plant wrapped up and we’re living in the Canton area again. Same apartment complex, actually. Two doors down from our last apartment. We like familiarity, ok? Louisville was very good to us but it’s great to have Matt’s work hours back to normal. We moved two weekends ago, so at this point we’re unpacked enough that things are functional but not pretty. We’ll get there.

Other things that have happened lately, condensed into bullet points for the sake of brevity:

  • Matt and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary on May 14th
  • Matt turned 26 right after we moved to Michigan (happy birthday, sweetie!). I managed to make Matt a cake for his birthday in my barely-unpacked kitchen, which made me very proud.
  • We took a couple of family trips in May.
    • We went to Georgia for the final days and funeral of Matt’s grandfather, which was a deeply sad but beautiful family time.
    • We went to Charleston for our official end-of-launch vacation and introduced Mary to the ocean. They are now fast friends.
    • At the end of the week we drove to South Bend for the wedding of close friends and a little Domer reunion.
    • Annnd tomorrow we’re driving from Michigan down to Georgia again for shutdown week, the mandatory vacation time Ford asks us to take every year.

So yep, that’s what’s going on with our family! I’ll leave you with a baby beach picture and vague promises to try to blog more often. Let’s try for sometime before baby #2 becomes an external baby, mkay?

beach kisses

 

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We’re in Louisville! AND we have internet!

Hi there world wide webbers. Websters? Webbies? Take your pick. Apologies for not sharing news of our first days in Louisville in a more timely fashion. The friendly internet man didn’t arrive to connect our apartment right away.

One last family picture in front of our first apartment. Sniff!

One last family picture in front of our first apartment. Sniff!

My little family rolled into Louisville late Saturday night, totaling five loaded cars, four fantastic grandparents, two extra worn out parents, and one sleeping baby. Mary and I were road-tripping partners on the drive down, and she was SO AWESOME. Seriously, I was super worried about how well she would do after a week of little sleep (moving is scary- more on that later) and no one in the back seat to entertain her. She was a champ though. Mary and I took a long break at the 3 hour mark of the drive at a Chickfila in Ohio. She wore herself out playing in the playground area and slept the rest of the way to Louisville. Mama shoots, she scores!

Mary thought the playplace was fun, but her favorite part was the other kids.

Mary thought the playplace was fun, but her favorite part was the other kids.

On Sunday morning, one set of grandparents had to head back to Georgia at first light, but my folks were able to stick around a little bit and go to brunch with us. We consulted the almighty Yelp and went to Wild Eggs. The food was fantastic and they seated us quickly despite our large party descending upon them on a Sunday morning.

Post- brunch happy faces

Post- brunch happy faces

My folks left for home after brunch. Matt and I worked on setting up our apartment for the rest of the day. We went to evening Mass at the cathedral downtown (I guess Sunday evening Masses aren’t a thing here? most churches don’t seem to have them) and straight to Mellow Mushroom for pizza afterwards. Matt’s love for Mellow Mushroom is boundless. The guy has a google map of all the Mellow Mushroom locations so he can keep track of which ones he has yet to visit. Needless to say, visiting our local Shroom was a vital step in settling in to our new town.

We spent most of the Eucharistic Prayer waving at Mary in the back of the church.

We spent most of the Eucharistic Prayer waving at Mary in the back of the church.

Mary approves of parmesan pretzels.

Mary approves of Shroom parmesan pretzels.

Anyway, long story short, we made it. We’re happy and excited. Louisville is fun to explore with all of its little neighborhoods. It reminds us of Atlanta in some ways- one bar-heavy hipster neighborhood is even called the Highlands.

Checking out Mark's Feed Store in the Highlands.

Checking out Mark’s Feed Store in the Highlands Monday night.

Life is good. Most of our stuff is in storage, but honestly it’s a relief to have less stuff. I think we’ll open our storage unit when we get back to Michigan next year and wonder why we ever thought we needed any of our old stuff. It helps that the corporate housing they put us in is really impressive. I’ll share some pics of our new home when we get the boxes unpacked. It’s not going to be hard to make this place feel like home. In fact, it already does.

Stop to smell the flowers. Or pluck their petals.

Stop to smell the flowers. Or pluck their petals.

T Minus Eleven Days

moving boxes meme

The countdown is on- eleven days until we leave our home of two years, hand over the keys and depart for Louisville. I’ve never lived this long in one dwelling except my childhood home, and packing has been (predictably) pretty miserable. We’ve accumulated SO much stuff. We are giving a lot away (especially clothes) but it still seems like our stuff doubles in size when we pack it into boxes (especially books).  Complicating everything is the fact that Matt’s company is putting us up in a furnished apartment, but they have not yet provided us with a LOCATION for our future residence… which is kind of a big deal when you’re moving a whole family.

The flip side of all the physical effort of moving is the mental process we’re going through. Saying goodbye to our first apartment as a married couple… where we brought our first child home from the hospital… where she learned to sleep through the night and sit up and crawl and walk… it’s not easy. We have a million photos of Mary in this place but she won’t remember it at all. We’ll come back to Michigan next year but we will live somewhere else. I’m really going to miss this apartment.

Mary wants to be sure we don't forget her as we pack for our big move --)

I’m anxious too about moving to a place where we don’t know anyone. We don’t have a TON of support up here in Michigan, but I can get childcare for Mary in a pinch and we have a few good friends nearby. My (admittedly somewhat creepy) temporary solution to this anxiety has been googling groups Mary and I might join in Louisville- moms’ groups, crafting groups, blogging groups, even a New to Louisville group. It’s kind of ridiculous, but I feel more secure about this move because of a few facebook posts from strangers welcoming us to town. It’s the little things, you know?

there and back again

My eyes are itching a bit and I think it’s the lingering effects of the onion I browned for dinner, served atop lentils and rice. When things are a little topsy turvy, when I feel a little unstuck and out of place, I make food that ties me down to my past. Tonight it was mujadarrah. The simmering cumin water pulled me back to quiet evenings in my tiny Greek flat. Lentils and rice might be the perfect dish for study abroad students with their empty pockets.

On the other hand, my eyes might still be recovering from driving all night to get back to Michigan. Mary slept most of the way, except for a crying stretch around 2am. I took the first shift of driving so I should have gotten the most sleep in the end, but I’m still battling the  leftover fatigue. The rain was hard and heavy on the windshield as I drove through the north Georgia and Tennessee night. I white knuckled the steering wheel until my nerves couldn’t take it any more.

We arrived safely in Michigan. We will arrive safely wherever we touch down next. We will feel moored again, and new foods will become our remember-when touchstones. I have faith in the cycle of our lives.

Linked up with Just Write.

Wedding Whirlwind (Alternate title: Congratulations Viv and Wade!!)

This past weekend found our little family in Providence, RI to celebrate with a fantastic couple that we love very much. Vivian is one of my dearest friends and we are thrilled to pieces that she and Wade found each other. I kid you not, these kids are PERFECT for each other. It was a lovely weekend of laughter, well wishes, parties, fancy duds, and good times. We are so glad we were able to be there with them.

Now, that being said: Friends, it was a whirlwind. We flew in Thursday night from Michigan and left Sunday evening, and in between we never. stopped. going. Holy cow, traveling with a one year old is exhausting. “Exhausting” doesn’t even cover it. Mary doesn’t really sleep when we travel, so Matt and I spent several naptimes hiding in the bathroom of our hotel room while Mary cried from her white metal cage-crib. Also, I have become one of THOSE moms who can’t party anymore because I live on my daughter’s schedule. I was spent at 11pm every night. Traveling with a small child who can crawl and cruise is just so many orders of magnitude more difficult than traveling alone. Phew. We are one tired family.

Here is the one photo we took all weekend to prove that we all got through the wedding ceremony without major incident:

IMG952013060895151342

Matt’s squinting in the sun, this is the only moment Mary wasn’t smiling at strangers all weekend and my smile muscles are clearly worn out. Yay for family photos!

By the way, Matt deserves HUGE kudos for wrangling the baby solo on the big day. Bridesmaid (bridesmatron? ugh) duties kept me busy on Saturday so Matt was responsible for getting himself and the baby all dressed up. He kept her amazingly quiet during the wedding too. What a pro.

In sum: we were so glad to be there, but can we please have a vacation to recover from our vacation? Thanks.

2 Years

I type my husband a message on google chat while the baby naps. He’s at work, but he responds right away.

Me: Where’s your brown coat? I’m sewing buttons back on your things for our cotton anniversary. :-*

Husband: Nice

It is a poly blend
But nice

I laugh out loud at this man and his funny way of viewing the world. It’s funny to me- to him, it’s normal, and I’m the funny one. He’s matter-of-fact, detail-oriented, literal. It’s hard to say whether he’s a good engineer because of how his mind works or his mind works this way because he’s an engineer. He’s a good match with my propensity to use made-up words, waving my hands around to convey my point. “You know, the thingamajig.” I’m grateful that after two years of marriage we are coming closer to the place where we are completely comfortable with each other. He can laugh at me and say he has no idea what I’m talking about. It’s okay. (I mean, usually. No one’s perfect.) We are alike in the important ways, sharing values and dreams and ideas about house floor plans, but the differences are often what make us a good couple. We balance each other, like twins on a see-saw.

Once upon a time, we marched around Bed, Bath and Beyond at 10pm shooting wedding registry items with our scanner gun. Soon we were in a huffy silence, tears threatening to spill down my face, because he loves down comforters and I think quilts are the coziest bedding choice. I remember wondering, with the desperation of someone about to say I do, how we would manage in life when our opinions were strong and opposite. Time has shown me that the answer is always balance. Give and take.

And sometimes, buy both the comforter and the quilt.

Happy second anniversary, honey.

An experiment in free writing, linked up with Just Write.

Mother’s Day

To all the moms who power through each day until bedtime, who shelter and nurture and pray and hope, who follow their guts and protect their babies, who persevere every day at the hardest and best job in the world:

Happy Mother’s Day. Rock on.

For those for whom today is a painful, difficult day- my thoughts and prayers are with you. Be gentle with yourself today, if you can. Life can be brutal but it has its beautiful moments. I hope the beauty finds you today somehow.

Love, Laura

Baby graces

Mary is happily pulling her board books off the second shelf and dumping them on the floor, so I grab my phone and check Instagram. I look up a moment later and find that she has crawled over to my chair. She’s pulled herself up so she can peek over the edge at me. She holds out a block with one hand, offering. Her eyes are big and round, her eyebrows raised. I take the block and smile, “Thank you!” She smiles back, proud to have caught my attention. I set my phone aside, out of her reach, and join her on the floor. We pass blocks back and forth. She piles them in my cupped hands until they overflow.

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Linked up with Just Write at the Extraordinary Ordinary. Click on over to read more moments, freely written.

How to take a Saturday off, by Laura and Matt

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The moral of the story: self care is important. So is good food.

Hint: If you are viewing this by email or RSS reader, you might need to click over to my site to see the slideshow 🙂

Becoming parents

Matt has read in his father guidebook that it’s a good idea for a dad to read stories to his fetus, so that when the baby is born, her dad’s voice already relaxes her. So we sit side by side on the couch and he opens Curious George. He kisses my belly. “Hi, Mary! I’m going to read you a story now!” The joy in his voice fills my heart to overflowing.

It’s all still so surreal for me, this whole parenting thing. Matt talks to Mary every day and tells her he loves her. He rubs my belly and gives her kisses. I’m much more likely to talk about Mary than to her. It feels silly to look at my belly and tell my child that I love her. I do, of course. But it’s sometimes hard to remember that the nudges and kicks inside my belly are coming from a real live person who will soon be making her grand entrance. I try to imagine her as a newborn, a toddler, a kindergartner, but all I can picture is her fuzzy silhouette from the ultrasound screen. I have no idea what’s coming. There is no way I can be ready.

He spots the worried lines in my forehead from across the room and comes to soothe them with a kiss.

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
– St. Julian of Norwich

 

Linked up with Heather of Extraordinary Ordinary for Just Write.