Sunday, June 29, 2014

2014 First Six Months Recap

"So Brian," I said the other night. "Can you believe this year is almost halfway over? And so far it's definitely not as eventful as last year was."

"Well, we had a new kid," he said pointedly.

Well, of course. I sort of fumbled in my response. The truth is, it feels like Barrett has always been here. He is, I continue to say, the world's easiest and happiest baby. Perhaps the easiest and happiest baby that ever existed. He may change tomorrow, but he sure deserves to be bragged on.

Each Christmas I buy a new ornament for each member of our family, something to symbolize the year. Without a doubt, mine will be something that stands for Barrett.

What else happened this year?

In January, I was huge and pregnant. That's about all I can remember, because I rarely left the house. For months, thanks to our new, slick, smooth metal roof, we had literally five feet or more of snow piled on our deck. It made for a nice view until the end of March. Snow kept sliding off the roof and making the pile grow and I felt like we lived in the Arctic. I remember saying to Brian, "It's always going to be winter and I'm always going to be pregnant." At the end of the month, I met Kathleen, Becca, and my mom to do some shopping... and that night, Kathleen found her wedding dress!

It was a LONG, HARD winter! I shouldn't say I rarely left the house. I dragged William and myself out of the house each week for a midwife appointment, church, and grocery shopping. Those three social events were IT for us. I didn't have the energy for more! Thankfully, at 20 months, he was fine with that. Thanks to the LONG, HARD winter, Brian got several snow days (unheard of).

In February, the bridesmaids for Kathleen's wedding went with my mom to the Bridal Expo at the Palace. Wow. A couple thoughts: YUM, cake samples. NO, I am not, at eight months pregnant, the bride, thank you. And major wedding overload - could there really have been a hundred DJ booths? Brian's nightmare. Still, fun for us.

When I was about 38 weeks pregnant, William threw up for the first time ever - all over me, of course. It was an abominable mixture of everything we had stuffed into his mouth for breakfast. Apparently he had a mild case of the flu, and thankfully that was the last time he threw up. How do I know it was the flu? Because I got it two and a half days later and lost about ten pounds over the course of one night. Nothing can bring out your inner dead person like the flu, but by the time evening came I was perking up. Everyone in our family got it that month, but Will and I recovered the fastest, probably because we'd gotten our flu shots. (I'm throwing that in there for you, Kim!) :)

Nine days later, we bought our new family vehicle. One day after that, I went into labor! Barrett was born! I am SO GLAD to have a second BOY! The time in the hospital was so short and sweet, but I was so anxious to go home and have our family be all together again.

The next month was a blur of settling into life with two. The newborn phase is sleepless, sticky (constantly covered in breastmilk and spitup), sweaty (progesterone levels normalizing = holy cow), and SWEET. There is nothing like a newborn. Nothing. Barrett was floppy, cuddly, soft, and tiny. He is a perfect child. And can I tell you how much I was... and AM... LOVING not being pregnant?!?

On March 18, I started my six-month DietBet. As of this blog post, it's halfway over and so far it's going well. I had pressure to lose the baby weight by June 6 (Kathleen's wedding) because my gorgeous bridesmaid dress did not zip up, five weeks postpartum. How's that for a carrot on a stick?

By the end of March, we still had tons of snow on the deck, but Brian was busy doing yard work. The winter ice storm had left tons of trees and branches that needed to be chopped. He estimates that he chopped and stacked TEN CORD of wood. TEN! And for the first time in our marriage, I was not able to help him much with this project. That was a little sad to me - I've always helped him with the wood pile. There's something rewarding about moving an entire tree, piece by piece, in manageable amounts, storing it for the future and then slowly making it disappear into flames. I was able to help him stack a tiny bit, but he did most of it. We are set for a while with firewood, that's for sure.

He was busy cleaning up the yard and I was busy cooking and prepping because we were having a bridal shower at our house on May 3! Simultaneously, my parents were preparing to sell their house. OUR house. The house we moved into when I was in fifth grade... where I painted my own bedroom and swam in the pool and rocked on the porch swing... where I put on my wedding dress and walked down the stairs and took photos with my parents and bridesmaids... where Brian and William and I lived for ten months when we moved home to Michigan... the house where my water broke with Barrett. They had been talking about moving for a while, and God finally opened the doors for them to begin the process.

Every Sunday we were having Wedding Planning meetings, either at my parents' house or at ours. These usually involved Kathleen and my mom planning, Becca (Maid of Honor) somewhat helping, me being absorbed with the kids, and Hannah and Erin goofing off (more like working on school work). Ha! So much fun.

One Saturday toward the end of March, when the kids had just gone down for a nap and I had just completed a thorough spring cleaning of the fireplace (translated: the house was clean and I was filthy), a car pulled into the driveway. "That looks like your dad's car," I said to Brian, curious. "Nooooo...." he said playfully. "They wouldn't be coming today...." Well... they had! They had driven four hours downstate and surprised me with a last minute visit to meet Barrett fir the first time, in cahoots with Brian, and brought food and gifts. A couple of modern-day Magi, I guess. We had such a sweet, short time with them! They stayed Saturday night, when we made popcorn and watched Life of Pi (Will loved it!) and left around noon on Sunday. Nana (I guess we all call her that now!) left us with tons of food, fun toys, and rest.

The first Monday in April, I had my postpartum follow-up with the midwife. That night, my left boob started hurting (nothing to do with the follow-up appointment, but oh! such poor timing). I chalked it up to being engorged. I should have known that engorgement didn't feel like that. I took some ibuprofen and went to bed that night. Without doing ANYTHING. Major mistake! Suffice it to say, I got full-blown mastitis and I have never been so sick in my life. I did everything wrong. I couldn't bring myself to touch it - it was all I could do to have Barrett nurse on it. I didn't have energy to try any of the remedies my mom was telling me to try. I laid in bed with a heating pad on it and tried to sleep. Mistake! That stupid clog did not come unclogged, of COURSE. The midwife called in an antibiotic for me and I started taking it Tuesday night. Wednesday evening my fever was still crazy high, at 105, but thankfully, that was the dark before the dawn as it broke later that night. I can't believe I took care of two kids while that was happening. I remember having the flu when I was pregnant with Will and wondering how in the world I would ever be able to manage being sick and taking care of kids. Well, I did it. I should have made Brian stay home, but I didn't, and I managed. On Wednesday morning I remember laying in bed and crying, knowing William was going to be waking up soon. I didn't know how I was going to drag myself up the stairs, let alone pick him up out of his crib or carry him down or feed him or take care of him. Well, I did it. You don't know what you're capable of until you're forced to do it.

Still, to the limits of my power and ability, I will NEVER EVER get mastitis again!

The mastitis cleared up JUST in time for me to leave on a much-anticipated trip to NY for a double baby shower - both my cousins having babies within a month of each other! Both had also purchased houses with their husbands in the months before. I was SO excited to see them both, to see their bellies and their houses, to spend time with them and the rest of the family, to spend time with my mom and sister, to have a bit of alone time with Barrett (Will was going to stay home with Brian), and to just get away! On Wednesday night I was in tears, practically deciding I couldn't go. On Thursday night I was excitedly packing! God was so good and so merciful!

And it was a lovely time. Really, really lovely. I'm so glad I was able to go. Elisabeth's shower was Saturday, thrown by her mother-in-law. I loved the food, fresh and delicious and simple, and I loved the games, but mostly I loved being able to spend time talking to people I hadn't seen in a long time. (Laurel! Melissa! Steph!) That night the whole family got together for pizza and I talked to my cousin John for a long time. The following day, after Elisabeth and I met Laurel in Pittsford for coffee, we picked up some things for Katie's shower and headed over there. The ladies had gone to TOWN to town baking and cooking. I don't think I stopped stuffing my face for a moment. Both parties were beautiful, Barrett was such a peach, and the weekend was over too soon. It was a joy to be able to spend the time in the car with my mom and sister, too. I think we could talk nonstop the entire way there and back if we were able, but Erin had some paper-writing to do for finals (and I therefore had some editing to do on said papers), so we restrained ourselves ....barely.

The rest of April is a bit blurry. I'm pretty sure I was just getting ready for the shower. Kathleen came over one day and spent the afternoon with us, and we both took a long walk with the kids strapped to our bodies in various carriers.

May 2 - the Friday before the shower - arrived before I knew it. Our Plan A - setting up tables and chairs in the courtyard and deck - had to be scrapped; the forecast was not even 60 degrees the next day. We knew it would be tight, but inside the party would be. Becca, Hannah, Erin, Kathleen, Michelle, and my mom all stayed the night after spending Friday decorating and cooking. Brian took William down to stay overnight with my dad - a manly man's weekend, if you will. We had a BLAST! We listened to music, ate banana bread, and decorated, and by the end of the evening, the house was transformed. The shower the next day went so smoothly (although we JUST had enough food, which was too close for comfort to me!). Kathleen looked gorgeous, just the perfect bride. It was quite tight with 50 people - ten more would have been too much. But it worked, and everyone seemed to have a good time. When everyone left that night, and the house was put back in order... I have to admit, I was a little wistful. Something about events like these.

A week and a half later, I drove down to the Detroit airport on Thursday night to pick up my sister-in-law Kelly and our niece Lake! The two of them were able to stay the night for the first time EVER and meet Barrett. Lake (three and a half) was so cute with him. Papa (Brian's dad) came to pick them up at ten on Friday, so we were able to see him, too. Will was beside himself with joy.

The next day was May 17 - Kathleen's bachelorette party day! Becca (with the help of Hannah and Erin) had planned a really sweet day. We started with a scavenger hunt for Kathleen, with clues that led her (and us) all over town, to lunch at Chipotle, to my parents' soon-to-be-sold house, to our church, and to more places that held memories for Kathleen. We then headed to Embassy Suites where we swam in the pool, ate Arabic food, played Dance Dance Revolution, opened gifts, and stayed up LATE. Again, Barrett was my tagalong and again, he was a total peach. It was fun to have a naked fat guy at Kathleen's bachelorette. Ha!

The following Friday was William's second birthday! I mini-celebrated with him that morning, lighting candles on his banana bread so he could blow them out.... over and over and over. I wrapped a few small art supplies and we spent the morning drawing on the windows and watching Youtube videos of Adam Ben Ezra. (He calls him "the orange bass" - don't ask me.) Pretty much doing his favorite things. When Brian got home from work we headed up to Charlevoix for the weekend! Nana threw William a beautiful family party, and the presents he received were ungodly generous. He is finally old enough to enjoy playing with his older cousins, Lake and Lucas, and his inner showoff came right the heck OUT. I was wondering, who is this child, practically begging to get in trouble? Thankfully, nothing was broken. We had a blast visiting Castle Rock Farms, playing in the sand, and watching TV with Papa and Daddy.

When we got home, it was rubber-meets-road time. Will's "down-state" party was the following Sunday and it was going to be way bigger than I'd first expected. To skip a long story, I'd unthinkingly combined a family party with a "little kid" party and we were looking at thirty-plus people coming after church on Sunday, from my grandparents to friends of William's in his Sunday toddler group. I spent the week cooking. I made loaves of fresh bread for BLTs, cooked up (easily) fifteen pounds of bacon, made spinach artichoke dip and baked macaroni and cheese for an enormous crowd, bought probably two dozen avocados for guacamole, made homemade funfetti cookies and triple chocolate mousse cake from scratch, and pretty much did NOTHING else all week but cook and get ready. Saturday afternoon I made a leak proof water blob, throwing in hundreds of pieces of foam confetti. We filled it outside with the hose that afternoon. Even Brian thought it was cool. That night I made a last-minute trip to Meijer to buy horseshoes and s'mores ingredients for Sunday night's bonfire.

(For the record, I'm not trying to come off like I'm all super-mom over here. I'm merely trying to convey that the only thing I did all week was get ready for this party while at the same time bumming out Brian who was all: "Why do we need a second party for Will? Why are we spending so much money?")

Anyway, Sunday morning, I woke up feeling pretty crummy. Oh well. The show must go on. I decorated the living room and dining room with balloons. Then William, my poor birthday boy, woke up with a high fever and major phlegm.

And just like that, the party was canceled. As I was holding William, sick and clingy, and deciding we'd be staying home from church, I heard a whooshing noise outside the opened front window. Both Brian and I ran to investigate the sound. It was the water blob. Gravity had won its long, overnight battle, and the blob had rolled off its gentle incline onto the steep hill in front of our house, tumbling down, down, down, and bursting all over the grass. Confetti was everywhere. The blob was destroyed.

I cried. It's funny now, but it wasn't at the moment.

A handful of people who were not afraid to get sick still showed up. My parents and grandparents. My brother and girlfriend and some friends of theirs. My wonderful sister. We had a small but nice party, gave away lots of food, and sat outside and talked in the cool air. William loved it. And Brian started his low-carb diet that week, courtesy of all that leftover bacon.

The following weekend was... THE WEDDING! It was a week of festivities and unfortunately, William and I were still sick. Will was SUPER sick. One night he sat in my arms, sobbing. What the heck?! This had never happened before. I was worried about his Friday performance as ring bearer, that's for darn sure. Thursday night was the rehearsal dinner, and he seemed a tiny bit better. Friday was the big day, and the first sound I heard at 4 AM was my poor Barrett hacking and sniffling - he had gotten it too. We were all a miserable troop! I couldn't stop sneezing. Will was still runny-nosed. But nothing could be done... it was my best friend's wedding day, and I was her Matron of Honor! We all got medicined up, and the day began!

How can I describe the day in one paragraph? Well one thing is for sure - the moments I remember don't include feeling sick. That took a back seat. The kids ended up being fine. William was AMAZING as ring bearer, walking down the aisle with my friend Ashleigh's daughter, Grace. When the two of them came through the doors and William saw the crowd of expectant faces, he began to giggle. The crowd chuckled and that made him giggle some more. He laughed the whole way down the aisle, giving us all a good grin and a laugh... which came just in time for the doors to open and Kathleen, in her glory, to walk down slowly. I craned my neck to see her and I sobbed. My best friend's wedding day. It's something you think about and talk about for years, first as little girls, then as teenagers with crushes, then as young adults... wondering when it will happen and how it will be. And then... it's here. And that's how my best friend looks as a bride. And that's her groom, and that's her dress, and that's her bouquet, and that's how she looks coming down the aisle. She looked perfect.

All four of us bridesmaids sang a song for communion. It didn't crash and burn... we made it through!

I had no choice but to leave the kiddos and spend the day with the wedding party, and surprise! they survived, and I had a great time. We all rode to Grosse Pointe to take pictures, singing karaoke in the limo/bus and laughing together. The reception was a blast. I made it through my speech and Becca made it through hers. The day was over before we knew it, and we all headed to my parents' to spend the night. Incidentally, they'd found a buyer for the house, and packing had begun. Being there with all the bridesmaids was sweet and memorable. We ate cake late into the night and talked about the wedding.

The past couple of weeks have been a simple time of winding down from all the activity. We've done park visits, library visits, and lots of laundry. The house is back in order and everyone is healthy again. Kathleen and Nick have left for their honeymoon, returned, packed up her house, spent time with all of us, and as of today have reached their new home after 28 hours in the U-Haul. This Fourth of July weekend we will be saying goodbye to my childhood home and helping my parents move into their new place - only fifteen minutes away from us. God is good.

After writing all this down, I can't believe I thought it's been an uneventful year so far. We've done a lot. Perhaps being rooted in our new home and in our church, it seems that change is happening around us rather than to us. I think that makes it less dramatic, though no less important. I can't wait to see what the next six months hold. Hopefully lots of silly songs, snuggles, books being read, time outside, time with each other, and love every day. If that's all we get - boy, are we blessed.


  1. I was only able to read half of your entry - but I'll read the other half later. I'm honored you mentioned me. LOL.

  2. I'm still reading - but Brian's reaction to Will's second party is hilarious! LOL. Normal MAN response I think. HAHA.

  3. Oh man - I wish i were there to see that blob! LOL

  4. Awww! You wrote about my wedding :) it brought tears to my eyes to recall the memories.