Lucia

Sweet Pea

wow! i think i have finally awoken from my fog. the fog you are in when a new baby is brought into your life. yeah, THAT kind of fog. our sweet L is now closing in on seven months old. seven months! what just happened? i would have to say the first four months were just spent in shock and trying to figure out what to do, when to get sleep, when to get laundry done, yadda yadda. so yeah, not much blogging from me. not to mention our sweetie seemed to be a bit colicky, so half of each day was spent bouncing, rocking, swaying, and trying to figure out how to console her. just as suddenly, it seemed the crying and fussing pretty much stopped somewhere around four months. then we just had to figure out WHAT to do with our new baby, how to know what she needed, how to keep her entertained, etc.

we’ve been in ECFE classes, which are awesome! i quit my job, did i mention that? hehe. and then there has been the two of us spending as much time with L as possible and watching her grow. wow, does that go fast! she started as a cute little blob that quietly moved at a snail’s pace, and is now a bouncing, squealing, babbling little girl. her feet are her best friends. she’s rolling in both directions, and loves to stand most of all. (!!!) she just figured out jumping, both in her jumperoo and on my lap! she chats and babbles a ton, and talks to herself after she wakes up until we come in and get her. she’s so.dang.cute. and we are so in love! we lovelovelove her so much! we truly feel so lucky. she is our little miracle baby.

and i just want to shout it out here: i am so happy with my life! i can honestly say i don’t think it’s ever been more awesome than it is right now. i am truly grateful for my bountiful, joyous life! i LOVE that i get to spend each day, all day, at home with my hubby and our sweet little baby (and our adorable little kitties too!) mike works at home and has a really flexible easy-going schedule, sometimes having work to do, and other times not, so we both get to spend a lot of time together with our little sweetie, or plan outings together or with friends, etc. i just feel so lucky, like all my dreams have converged into this point in time where they are all happening at once!

don’t get me wrong, we still have other dreams we wish for some day. one long-term goal is to be able to travel to and live about three months each year in a different location (preferably over winter, although we’ll have to see if that’s possible with L’s schoolwork). or even if we can just all travel together, there are many other places we would love to see, and love for L to see as well. egypt and morocco come to mind. or another trip to australia. or argentina. well, there really is a neverending list there, hm?

and then there’s my career dream. yes, i know i left my long-time job and can honestly say i hope to never have a full-time desk job again for as long as i live. i realized the other day that i am at exactly the half-way point in my career (we have been planning and banking on retiring early.) so yeah, the entire first half of my career was spent in ONE place. w o w. so i hope i am done with that kind of thing, and want to move on to something new. especially when little miss L finally gets into school, i realize that i will need something more. so my big new goal is to be a professional photographer! i am so excited it makes me giddy. i went to college for photography, and have been doing it in some fashion since middle school. but i never really thought i could “make it” as a career, so went into design instead. now i realize i can totally make it as a photographer, so now is the time to go for it! i have been spending tons of time reading and brushing up, buying and playing with new equipment, experimenting and shooting, etc. our good friend ken (long-time photo pro) happily joined me as my mentor. things are moving and changing as fast as i can make them (which isn’t saying much when i have a seven month old to care for all day.) but i’m loving it and that’s all that matters!

so yay! i am so grateful for the way my life has unfolded. it’s definitely had its bumps along the way. but i have learned and grown so much, and for that, and for everything I have, i am truly thankful.

i still can’t believe it. i quit my job. the first and only job i’ve had since i graduated from college. 16+ years, and i just quit. wow!

why did i quit? i had to. i had no other choice. there was no way in the universe i could leave lucia every day while i was somewhere else for 8+ hours. i tried to imagine it, but my brain wouldn’t even let me go there. i read and heard numerous stories from other mothers who did that same thing, and they talked about how miserable and devastated they were, how they cried all the time, etc. i can’t even imagine doing that! no amount of money would be worth it for me. after all we’ve been through to get her here, after hearing about her wanting us to bring her in since the year 2000, knowing she’s been there waiting for us all this time, how could i leave her behind?

so here i am. a stay-at-home mom. i never imagined wanting to do this with my life, but now that i am here, i know every second that i made the right decision. i can’t believe how fast she is growing and changing. lucia was 2 months old the day i quit. she’s spending a lot more time awake every day. she’s smiling at us and copying our facial gestures. she holds her head up like a pro. she’s already even rolled over once! and i know by the time i blink she will be in school. so i am looking forward to watching her every day and being there for her as she grows.

so i quit!

31 weeksi am sitting in the hospital, after almost 4 weeks of bed rest and frequent monitoring. the time each day went pretty fast, but overall, the 4 weeks went very slow. at times, it was pretty painful sitting here while the world went on without me.

today is the last day before my c-section. there are so many emotions flowing through me i don’t know where to start. there is such a huge amount of relief that we have (almost) made it through this entire journey. there is also fear of the c-section. and then the fact that our new little baby will be here tomorrow – i don’t even know where to start with that one! anxious, nervous, excited, relieved, fearful, ecstatic, all rolled into one.

there is also the obvious fact that my life will never be the same again. the old life will be gone, replaced by the new one, both for better and for worse. i know it will all be worth it, but it’s hard to envision it all from this perspective.

it was such an unbelievably difficult journey to get here, full of soaring highs and dark lows. we have already grown and changed in so many ways and are not the same people now as when we started. so in that way, our lives already will never be the same. but now we have reached our goal, and can look back and see how far we have really come, and be amazed by it all.

see you on the flip side!

what does it mean to “be strong”?

what does it mean when someone says they think you are strong? is that a good thing? or does that mean that they feel sorry for you?

should i thank them? or should i question why they say that? should i feel proud? or embarrassed?

do i have a choice in the matter? am i like the hero who chooses to go out and slay a dragon? or am i more like the person who survives the holocaust? in other words, what choice did i have? if i don’t get out of bed every day, what else could i do? is there even a choice to be made?

then, it gets back to the question, am i really strong after all?

If you want others
to be happy, practice compassion. If you want
to be happy, practice compassion.

~ 14th Dalai Lama

the other day i ran into an occasional acquaintance of mine. as usual, i felt the same bristling feeling that i normally get whenever i see this person. the reason i feel so irritated is because this person wronged me before. not just once, but a few times, and in a purposeful way, so i know they did it because of some conflict they have with me which i am unaware of. it’s not someone i know very well and have nothing invested in the relationship, so i don’t plan on confronting the person about what they did, why they did it, etc.

when i noticed the bristling feeling rising up in me again, i sat and looked at it for a bit. i decided that i don’t like the feeling. i wished that the incidents had never happened in the first place. i wondered what i could do to stop feeling negative every time i saw this person again.

it was then that i started thinking about using compassion. i tried to turn my view of this person around by considering what they had gone through in their life to get them to this point. this person must have been hurt in some way to cause them to lash out at others, and probably wasn’t even aware that what they did was hostile.

i even started wondering what the dalai lama would think if the same incidents had happened to him. there was no doubt in my mind that he would look at this person with compassion – he would understand that pain is what led that person to this point, nothing else. he would not get angry, or offended, or wish revenge.

i think i may have finally understood, or at least had a glimpse of, the true meaning of compassion.

great river bluffs, minnesota, 2008

great river bluffs, minnesota, 2008

dreams are so funny. the way they give you no control over what comes out of your head. the way they show a quick little metaphoric rundown of what is going on in your life. the way they are just so ….¬†OBVIOUS …. in what they are trying to tell you.

last night, i was hiking on a path through the woods. it was a path i had traveled many times before, and was very familiar with. i was heading “back” (wherever “back” was.) i got to the point where a road crossed the path, and I discovered that a low fence had been put up over the path along the sides of the road. i wondered about it for a moment, then hopped over and kept going. when i got to the other side of the road, the fence that had been put up there was higher, so it was a bit harder to jump over than the first fence.

after clearing the second fence, i was going to continue on my way, but i discovered that the trail was now impassable, almost as though i had to climb up a cliff. somehow i knew that there was construction going on, but i also knew that if i left the trail and tried to find a different way “back,” i would get lost. i had to find another way to get onto to the trail.

(this point in the dream led me on a detour involving an alice in wonderland-style man/dog character as well as sliding down a cable into the center of a mountain.)

i eventually found my way back to the trail. the trail i remembered from the past had been a low boardwalk through the woods. now, it was an overgrown mine-field. the boards were ripped up and chaotic, rising and falling in a mountainous configuration. scrubby plants and vines grew through and over the boards. nails were sticking out here and there. mice and other critters were dodging in and out of the plants. oh, and i was barefoot!

none of this stopped me from gingerly picking my way over the boardwalk in search of my final destination, my way “back.”

badlands, south dakota, 2008

sometimes it just so happens that the universe converges and a number of major events happen at once. for example, there can’t just be one activity scheduled on a particular night, but you have to decide between two or even three.

just as wickedly, the universe can also make two bad situations happen at once. each one would be perfectly miserable just by itself, but the universe converges and gives you a two-for-one deal.

after spending the last few months in my own (matching!) pair of bad situations, i’ve found a positive side to all of it. when you have two stressful things happen at once, then you can only spend half of your time worrying/feeling sad/etc about each situation. therefore, you get to save your collective time, and yourself, from the ravages of sadness/stress/etc. somehow, this thought seems to make me feel just a tiny bit better about it all. strange but true.

Autumn

autumn

a quiet ending
you are leaving us for now
please come again soon

Cape Lookout

cape lookout

the fear of loss is a path to the dark side

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