Thursday, February 28, 2013

Songs That Take You Places: Scar Tissue

We had only been officially dating for about a week when Shawn proclaimed "Scar Tissue" 
by the Red Hot Chili Peppers "our song".  We were traveling all summer: Australia, 
Thailand, Dubai.  And everywhere we went, we heard Anthony Keidis' beautiful voice 
"Scar tissue that I wish you saw.
Sarcastic Mr. Know-It-All.
Close your eyes and I'll kiss you cause with the birds I'll share.
With the birds I'll share this lonely view"
It was our summer of love, those first few months of getting to know each other and
growing closer and letting down our walls.  We fell hard and deep for each other and he
knew how to love me just right.  A "Sarcastic Mr. Know-It-All" and a "Southern girl with
a Scarlett drawl": navigating through new waters and giving of ourselves so willingly.  We
had no scar tissue then, we were newly in love and our relationship was a clean slate.
That beautiful, melodious tune followed us through our early days and began the
soundtrack to our life together.  And every time we heard it, Shawn held out his hand
and pulled me into his arms and we danced.  
"Falling all,
Over myself to lick your heart and taste your health 'cause.
With the birds I'll share this lonely view"
From the day we decided to be together, we spent every waking moment in each other's
arms.  We walked hand in hand through Australia, exploring every inch of Perth
and Fremantle.  Shawn convinced my snobby Southern palette to try new foods and I
taught him how to two step across a dance floor.  He showed off at the skate park and
bought me a rose from the little old man on the corner and I smothered him in a million
kisses.  One night, we somehow found ourselves at a real live peep show, a place where
you drop quarters into a slot and watch exotic dancers behind a glass screen.  We hid our
eyes and giggled like two little kids before running for our lives. We walked through big,
open marketplaces in Thailand, felt the sand between our toes on Pattaya Beach.  We
shopped in big open marketplaces and watched Thai boxers fight in a beach side arena.  And
all that time, in all those places, "Scar Tissue" played in the background.  
I heard our song on the radio yesterday as I was driving home to my husband of 12 years
and our two little girls, our new baby snuggled warm in my belly.  We've been through so
much since those early days of running through life, the scar tissue that so often
accompanies real life experiences wrapped tightly around our hearts.  When the
honeymoon ended and the hard work that is required of a lasting relationship began,
we welcomed the scar tissue with open arms, knowing it would blossom into a love
even stronger and deeper than before.  We're still a "Sarcastic Mr. Know-It-All" and
a "Southern girl with a Scarlett drawl", we still dance every single time we hear that song.
Our first song.  The song that will always remind me of our summer of love, of new
and exciting places, of kissing for hours and feeling like I had finally found my soul
one.  Because I had.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

14 Weeks

I can hardly believe we are past the first trimester already: 14 weeks today.  This
pregnancy has been exhausting so far and I have felt sick and tired (literally) for the last
two months.  Who are we kidding with the title "morning sickness"?  It's all day, everyday,
for me and this little baby.  And the exhaustion: it's all I can do to keep my eyes open past
8 pm.  I feel like this pregnancy has hit me harder than the two before, the symptoms
much more severe and longer lasting.  Shawn swears this is because I am carrying a son
this time, a strong little boy who is taking up more energy already.  Wishful thinking for
that husband of mine.

All of this sickness has caused me to slack off in most areas of my life these days.  My 
usual abundance of energy is nonexistent and I find myself having to say No to things I 
usually volunteer for.  The house is not as clean and organized as I would like, we've 
had waffles for dinner more times than I care to admit, and I've become a virtual stranger 
at the gym.  But that's okay, things will pick back up and we'll fall back into our groove 
soon.  For now, I have to focus on taking care of the here and now, the rest can wait 
until tomorrow.
Nausea, vomiting, and generalized fatigue aside, this pregnancy has been a beautiful
journey so far.  I carry a deep sense of ease with each new day, understanding and trusting
in my body as it falls into the natural rhythm of growing a baby.  I find myself smiling
every time I catch a glimpse of my growing belly, imagining the baby growing right along
with me.  With two little ones underfoot, I don't have as much time to daydream and pine
away as I did for my first and even second pregnancy.  But, I've been trying to be
intentional about taking the time to reflect and process this experience regardless of how
busy life is right now.  Even though there are days when I wish we could speed this
whole process along and meet the baby right now, I am thankful that we have 9 whole
months to prepare ourselves in every way for this life changing event.  It is a time for
rest, growth, preparation, and, at least for now, more saltine crackers than I ever care to
eat again.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Yeah, Baby!

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for the amazing amount of love and support
you have given our family in the last few days!  We have been so excited to share the news
of our baby and to receive so many letters and comments and well wishes was
beyond inspiring.  
We found out about this sweet blessing quite some time ago.  I had a strong feeling
that something was going on with my body and decided to take a pregnancy test early
one morning.  It was quiet in the house, I was the only one up, and I felt the same
nervous energy in my tummy that I have the two previous times before.  PREGNANT.
The words stood out at me on the bathroom counter and I felt my heart catch in my
throat.  We have wanted this, dreamed of it, it was one of our hopes for this year.  But
after Shawn's accident, we knew that another baby might not be in the cards for us.
We accepted that fact, understood that certain plans on our long term list just might
not happen.  We let go of so many expectations, resolving ourselves to just accept what
was laid out before us.  Life takes on so much more meaning when you begin to live
with appreciation for what you have rather than looking forward and focusing on what
you want.
And then that cold winter morning came.  And despite telling myself not to get my hopes
up, not to anticipate something that might never come our way, the words danced out at
me with joy and triumph: PREGNANT!  I ran into our bedroom and woke Shawn
up, whispering the good news to him as he wiped sleep from his eyes.  He wrapped his
arms around me and held me close, the two of us hiding away in the early morning light of
our room, news so incredibly big that we just wanted to hold it close for awhile.  And we
did.  We kept this little one all to ourselves for quite some time, telling only our girls,
allowing the news of this baby to take shape in the safety of our family before we
allowed anyone else in.  This news was so precious to us that we wanted to celebrate on
our own for a bit, we wanted to have time to process this amazing moment for our family.
And so the last few months have gone.  It took some time to get used to the idea: this is real,
it's happening, I'm going to be a mama again.  Isabelle is ecstatic, her nurturing
personality going into overdrive as she insists that I drink more water, get some rest, I'll
do that for you, Mommy.  Brees has no clue what is going on but I look forward to
watching her grow right along with the baby, figuring out this process as my belly grows
and moves. 
And Shawn, there just aren't enough words.  This baby has revitalized him in ways that
no medicine or surgery or form of treatment as been able to.  This baby has awakened his
soul and made him believe in the gift of possibility again.  I have seen my husband grow
in ways I never even dreamed of these last few months, the sight of my changing body
healing his broken heart.  Love is a strong and powerful natural remedy and it has been hard
at work in this house, with this family.  This little baby, he or she was destined to be here, to
be with us.  And we are so ready.

Monday, February 18, 2013

We've Been Keeping A Little Secret

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And the blessings just keep on coming...
We are so excited to finally share our big news: we are expecting our third baby!  In August,
we will become a family of five!  Our year of rebuilding has started on such an amazing 
note with the news of this much hoped for baby.  We are beyond thrilled to welcome this 
new little love into the world.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Be Mine

Our Valentine's Day was simple and sweet this year.  Because it was during the same week 
as Mardi Gras, Valentine's Day really snuck up on us.  I found myself running through 
town like a mad woman on Wednesday gathering cards and teddy bears and baking 
ingredients to get prepared.  But we kept it real: store bought cards with matching pencils 
for Isabelle and Brees to hand out to their friends and classmates.  We sat around the 
kitchen table after dinner and put them together, trying our hardest to keep Brees 
from scribbling AKA coloring on every single card.  They were very pleased with their 
work.  On Thursday, I sent the girls off to school and daycare with their special treats, 
all decked out in pink, and promised them good things when we all got home that night.  
My patients all loaded me down with love: I received homegrown oranges, handmade 
cards, and glow in the dark rings for the girls.  Working on a holiday as a nurse is 
incredibly rewarding as patients shower you with love and appreciation.  Each and 
every house I went to that day reminded me of how thankful they were for my service.  It 
was incredibly enlightening.  When I got home from work, I was bombarded with hugs 
and kisses and cards dripping in glitter.  Shawn and I sent the girls outside to play so that 
we could set the kitchen table with all their special treats: cotton candy, little boxes 
of chocolate, singing cards (they are OBSESSED with singing cards) and lots of stickers.  
When they came inside, their little shrieking voices said it all: Thank you, Mommy 
and Daddy!!  I was the happiest Valentine of all when my sweet husband surprised me with 
the most amazing waffle iron, something I've wanted for a long time.  He even bought 
an array of toppings so that we could have a waffle supper extravaganza.  We made a ton 
of waffles with strawberries and bananas and ate until we were ready to pop.  Then we 
made brownies and had ice cream, too.  It was Valentine's Day, after all.  Bed time was a 
breeze that night as the girls were in a complete sugar coma.  And I fell asleep on the chest 
of the man I love, in a home filled with peace.  It was a really wonderful day.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Day In The Life

5:30 am Alarm goes off, I begrudgingly climb out of bed.  I wake up earlier than everyone
else in the house so that I can get a few things done in peace and quiet.  I put on a kettle of
tea, check my email, publish a blog post, check the girls’ bags to make sure they
have everything they need for the day, lay out their clothes, and eat a quick breakfast.
I unload the dishwasher that I ran the night before.  This saves me time later as the
dishwasher is empty and ready to go when dinner time arrives. I start a load of laundry.  Yes,
I do laundry before the sun comes up.  Why? Because I maintain our household laundry
by doing one load a day, preventing myself from ever getting too far behind.  By throwing it
in before I leave the house in the morning, all that’s left to do when I get home in the evening
is to fold it and put it away.  Working Mom time saver trick.
6:00 am I wake Isabelle up. She and I both get dressed and ready for the day. I offer
her breakfast, she almost always refuses. I sneak a granola bar into her backpack.
6:40 am I drive Isabelle to the end of the driveway and wait for the school bus with
her because it’s cold out. We read through her study guides, call out spelling words, talk
about whatever’s going on in her wild imagination.  The bus pulls up and she makes me kiss
her really quickly so that no one can see.  We’re in THAT phase right now.
6:55 am I pack my lunch for the day and load up my car.  I run inside and wake Brees up,
get her dressed, vitamins and shoes and a jacket.  Shawn is up now and we kiss him
goodbye and head out.
7:00 am I drop Brees off at the babysitter’s house.  Our babysitter feeds the kids
breakfast every morning and for that I am so grateful, this saves me so much time!  I kiss
my little one goodbye and she usually cries a little and protests as I walk out.  This is one of
the worst parts of my day.
7:20 am I stop by my office to drop off paperwork, finalize my schedule for the day, give
a report on my patients to my case manager, and stock up on any supplies I might need for
the day.  Our new office is small: there are only 6 nurses there total and we are a tight
knit group, a family.  Someone almost always has breakfast prepared for us before we hit
the road.  It is wonderful.
8:00 am I start seeing my patients for the day.  My job as a home health nurse involves
me seeing patients in their homes, educating them on their disease process and
its management, performing wound care, drawing lab work, monitoring their
medications, communicating with doctors, and providing support to their caregivers.
I typically see between 5-8 patients a day, depending on what the patients’ needs are.  I
love the autonomy and freedom my job allows.  I also love the relationships I build
between my patients and their families.
2:00-3:00 pm I am typically done with my workday sometime between 2 or 3.  Three days
a week, I head to the gym after work for an hour of stress relief and body slamming.  The
other two days a week, I run errands after work.  I meal plan and go to the grocery store once
a week to get everything we need for our meals.  Shawn does most of the day to day
errands like post office runs and trips to the bank.  He tries to pick up most of those
little things so that I don’t have to worry about them.  What a prize.  I keep a list in my car at
all times of phone calls I need to make, appointments to schedule, odds and ends that need
to be picked up.  I try to squeeze those in either between patients or after work.  By keeping
a running list with me, I stay on top of the madness, most of the time.
3:30 pm I scoop up Brees from the babysitter and get home just as Belle is getting off
the school bus.  Here’s where it gets crazy.
3:40-4:30 pm This is my least favorite time of the day as everyone is a bit frazzled.  This is
the time known as “the witching hour”.  We get home and try to get settled with as little
drama as possible.  Brees is in “I want my Mommy” overdrive, wanting to be held
constantly for the first hour I am home.  Belle is a blur of “Sign this!  Fill out this paper!  I
need help with Math!”.  Step one to maintaining sanity: FEED THEM!  I fix them a quick
snack with Brees glued securely to my hip.  Step two: double team them.  Shawn sits down
to help Belle with her homework while I keep Brees busy with crayons or a puzzle.  Then
we switch. 
4:35 pm Once everyone has had a snack, homework is started, clothes are changed, babies
are rocked, and I’ve had a split second to kiss my husband, I start dinner.  Meal planning is
a life saver: I keep a calendar posted in the kitchen with each night’s dinner penciled in.
Next to the calendar is my grocery list for the week, available for anyone in the household
to add to as they see fit.  I try to cook things on the weekends that freeze well so that we have
a night or two a week where all we have to do is reheat.  We keep the girls’ play kitchen right
in the middle of our kitchen so that they can play and “help” Mommy while I cook.  Isabelle
is in charge of setting the table every night.  Once dinner is going and homework is done, we 
go outside to burn off some energy: ride bikes, swing, get dirty.  Some nights we have 
dance class, tutoring, or some other function our busy 8 year old must attend.  Shawn and 
I have a good carpool system down and keep all of those activities on the calendar as well.
5:30 pm We sit down together to eat.  Finally, we can all take a few moments to talk and
catch up on our day.  I spend most of the meal refilling drinks and serving seconds, but I
love this part of the night so much.  My family is very gracious to me and they
always compliment my cooking, probably because they are scared that one day I will just
feel defeated and serve cereal for dinner to save time.
6:00 pm Shawn oversees bath time while I clean the kitchen.  I fold the load of laundry
from this morning and put it away.
6:30 pm Family time in the living room.  We may watch something on TV, dance,
read, whatever.  They are full and bathed and in good moods at this point.  This is one of
my favorite times of the day.
7:30 pm We head upstairs for bed time ritual.  The girls are finally on the same schedule
for bedtime and it is great.  We brush our teeth, comb our hair, get some water, etc.  We
gather in Brees’ room first for story time.  I still rock her to sleep every night: it’s our
special time together.  She can now sing “Twinkle Twinkle” all by herself and it is
adorable.  Next, we head to Belle’s room to say our prayers.  The girls are right across the
hall from each other and can often be heard giggling and hollering back and forth for
quite some time after lights out.
8:00 pm Aaaaaahhh, do you hear that?  It’s finally quiet.  Shawn and I go off and take care 
of business at this time.  We agree to meet back up at 9 for US time.  I do some charting on
my work computer, write a blog post, return phone calls.  Shawn does much of the same.  I
do a clean sweep of the house, picking up the various debris left behind by the
tornado children: shoes, barrettes, Barbie doll clothes.  I take a hot shower and put on my
PJs, the moment I’ve been longing for since I first got out of bed this morning.
9:00 pm  I meet up with my man.  Sometimes we watch something on TV, sometimes
we lounge in bed and read books, sometimes we sit in the kitchen and sneak root beer
floats.  We always feel naughty eating junk food after the kids have gone to bed for
some reason.  We talk without being interrupted 25 times, his arms wrapped casually
around my waist.  It’s the little things.
10:00 pm  I force myself to go to bed by 10.  So boring, I know, but a girl needs her rest.  As
I lay in bed, Shawn already snoring before his head hits the pillow, my mind starts churning
as I think of all the things I need to do tomorrow.  Picture day at Belle’s school, bring
diapers to daycare for Brees, dance class at 5, complete continuing education courses
for work….Goodnight moon, goodnight stars.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Sweet Friday

Hello, Friday!  You are my favorite day of the week, except for maybe Saturday.  I always
pop out of bed with a little more spunk on Fridays, knowing it's my last day of work for
the week.  I have more energy, a more positive spirit, knowing that whatever bullshit
comes my way, who cares?  The weekend is almost here!  Sometimes, we make big plans
and look forward to them all week.  Other times, we just coast into the weekend with
the excitement of the unknown looming over us.  Let's sleep in, eat breakfast for dinner, go on
a date!  It's how I get through my work week: the stress and exhaustion and missing my
family.  I work for the weekend.
This week:
1.  I went to my first dance class in, well, I'm embarrassed to admit how long it's been.  It was
a jazz/hip hop class and I actually kept up without completely humiliating myself. My
dance teacher later told me that she couldn't tell if I was enjoying myself or not because I
was wearing my "poker face".  Oh no, I was having fun.  I was just wearing my poker face
to disguise the fact that I was completely out of breathe and every muscle in my body
was screaming "What the heck are you doing?!!".  It was exhilarating  though, to move
my body to the beat again.  I'll be back next week, poker face and all.
2.  Shawn cooked breakfast for the whole family, all by himself.  He surprised me one
morning with eggs, bacon, and biscuits and the biggest smile on his face.  Before the
accident, this was a regular occurrence in our household as my husband is a very talented
cook and loves to be in the kitchen.  This was the first time he's braved a meal all by
himself, finding new ways to make things work when his left hand doesn't give him all that
he needs.  We gave him a million kisses and words of encouragement and ate every single
bite.  Another milestone.
3.  Our satellite TV took a nose dive this week and completely shut down on us.  A brand
new modem was installed and Shawn had everything up and running in no time.  But, he
had bad news for me: when our old unit broke, so did the DVR.  Meaning every single thing
I had stored on the DVR was deleted.  Forever.  Is it sad to admit that I wanted to cry?  I had
so many VERY important programs to watch on that damn DVR, gripping tales such
as  "Project Runway All Stars", "The Bachelor" and "Grey's Anatomy".  I had to get over
it, though, and move on like a big girl.  I consoled myself by spending the next half
hour programming our brand spanking new DVR, filling it with lots of new trashy
favs.  Technology can by a biotch sometimes.
Here are a few photos of the girls looking adorable.  Happy weekend friends!!
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