Saturday, November 3, 2012

Standard is Not the Adventure for Me

As many of you know, I had my first show today since having Zoe. It was wonderful and I plan on writing all about it but I really must devote this post to the trip there.

Michele and I have two cars: my car, an automatic, in which Zoe's car seat resides; and Michele's car, a very cute, zippy orange standard transmission car. Well, to avoid moving Zoe's seat to Michele's car or forcing Zoe and Michele to drive with me to the show this morning, or leaving Michele without a Zoe-friendly car, I had the great idea that I would take Michele's car to the show. You may recall my post a few weeks ago about the things I cannot do. Drive stick is one of them.

So, I took the car out practicing yesterday. I actually did really well backing and driving and fairly well getting started from a stop. I very confidently believed I'd be fine today.

I was wrong. Very very wrong. I never want to even look at that car again. It was the most terrifying experience of my life!

The one thing missing from my practice run was hills. Hills. HILLS!!!!!! How one is expected to start from a stopped position on a hill is beyond me. At one point, I sat through four green lights trying to work up the courage to try to start driving on a hill. At the third time a cop was sitting at the red light on the cross street staring at me. That was actually nice. Took my mind off my imminent demise to hope that I'd be arrested and someone else would get Michele's car off that hill. Unfortunately, he just drove on. I guess it's not illegal to sit through green lights yelling crazy things at yourself.

I did finally risk it and actually made it off the hill and to the show and then I begged my friend Randy to park the car for me. And thankfully Michele and Zoe came to the show and we traded cars.

Had you been a fly on the dashboard you may have heard some interesting things like:
Holy crap! Why am I going backwards?!?

Dear God, I hope that's 4th gear!

Ok, Ok, that time it was the car's fault not mine. I'm sure there's something wrong with this car.

Hmm, it doesn't sound like that when Michele drives it.

Oh well, I'm just staying in 2nd.

Oh my God, oh my God please don't stop behind me on this hill.

Please arrest me. I'm a danger to society. Or at least get me off this hill!!

And my mantra at every stop sign and red light: Michele cannot come rescue me. I must clutch effectively.

At one point I begged God to just keep every light green - it didn't happen!

I know that with practice I could do this but I cannot imagine anything worse than getting in that car again. I don't even want to be a passenger. And something tells me that Michele will keep her keys out of my reach for quite a while. I don't imagine that I broke anything but I certainly gave that little beastie a workout!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gratitude and Successes

This week, I am grateful for:
  • Delicious brownies that were made today by the wonderful Michele and are already 3/4s gone.
  • A wonderful baby who is a joy every moment of every day.
  • Talented people who inspire me to try new things.
  • A partner who is brilliant at things I struggle with - we truly complete one another.

My successes this week include:
  • Following a crochet pattern to create an awesome whale for Zoe - I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to have hhis success as I have never before managed to follow a crochet pattern!
  • NOT attempting a third pan of brownies but instead bowing to Michele's greatness in that arena.
  • Crocheting a whale.
  • Did I mention that I crocheted a whale?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Brownies, and Other Things I'm Bad At

I decided to try again with the brownies today. Michele said they were a lot better than yesterday's, but still only partially edible. I tried to convince myself that they are very good by eating several and got a stomachache for my efforts. My dear friend Duchess has advised me that being bad at one thing will keep me humble and my adoring sister has commented that I am "annoyingly good at everything else." That got me thinking about the many other things that I'm not good at:
  • Driving stick shift cars- after 15 years with Michele, I am finally able to drive, only forward and only in first gear, and park.
  • Lawn care
  • Pumpkin pie - for some reason it always comes out tasting like sweet potato pie, which, since Michele loves pumpkin, is a problem.
  • Returning phone calls
  • Putting things "somewhere I'll remember"- I always forget. ALWAYS!
  • A host of other things I've put somewhere I'll remember (see above)
I think the thing is that most of the things I'm really bad at are really hard (stick shift) or really horrendous (cleaning bathrooms), so I don' t feel bad about being bad at them. Brownies are five or so simple ingredients mixed in a bowl and thrown in the oven. I'm not sure what could be easier, but I somehow render those simple ingredients completely inedible! I've decided to stop trying. Nineteen years of effort is enough. I'm going to focus on bettering myself in one of my other growth areas, like returning calls. I'll start by making a note of each caller and putting that reminder somewhere I'll remember.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Brownies - An Epic Failure

I can do a lot of things but one thing I have never been successful at is making brownies. They always come out a greasy gooey mess swimming in oil no matter what I do. I bake other things well so I'm not measuring deficient. I make great cornbread, which, like brownies, warns you not to over mix, so I'm not mixing deficient. I have no idea why I cannot make brownies. Not even from a mix! You know, one of those "just add eggs and oil" mixes. Epic failure every time!

I LOVE brownies so I'm grateful that Michele makes wonderful brownies. I just hate not succeeding at something so I keep trying. I don't even come close to something edible. Although Michele did attend to eat one of my brownies once...with a spoon!

I'm not asking to master them or be the best brownie maker in the block. I'm just trying for edible. Any ideas or suggestions will be gratefully accepted.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude

I have to just focus on gratitude this week and the focus of this focus is on family, family, family.

I love our family and am grateful for the wonderful visit we had this weekend from my dad and stepmom. I love watching Zoe interact with them. It's truly a special blessing!

From grampa to granddaughter, hand to hand. So sweet!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gratitude, Goals, and Successes

I realized last week that I forgot something important: my successes! It's just as important to look at what I did as what I'd like to do. So here goes:

This week, I'm grateful for Michele and Zoe and:
Good friends.
A clean and organized kitchen.
Clean laundry in my drawers and closets.
Mommy and me yoga.

This week I succeeded at:
Cleaning my kitchen.
Catching up on laundry.
Connecting with friends.
Connecting with my parents.
Clarifying my focus.

My goals for this coming week are to:
Continue clarifying my focus.
Invite God into every decision.
File or shred the papers in the office.
Research web design/development. (I want to create a website to showcase my artwork.)

What are you thinking about this week? How have you succeeded? What do you want to work on for next week?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

One Small Step for a Baby, a Giant Leap in a Lifetime

Zoe took her first steps today. It was amazing. And then she climbed up the step from the sunporch into the foyer so I let her get on the steps from the foyer to upstairs and she climbed all the way up and into the bedroom for her nap!

Here I've saved THYME in a bottle.
If only it were as easy to save TIME!
It just makes me think about how quickly life goes by. It feels like just yesterday when we brought her home. Just yesterday when the only way for her to get from point A to point B was in my arms. And now she's cruising around the living room and climbing up the stairs!

I actually think that's why we write blogs and keep diaries and update our Facebook status. It makes us pause for a moment and think about the moment, the day, or the week. It kinda stops time for a second and saves it for us.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Gratitude and Goals

Is it any wonder that she tops
my gratitude list?
I've decided to spends Sundays focusing on all my blessings (not that I don't think about them everyday, but I think it's good to set time aside for just that) and thinking about what I want to accomplish during the week to come. Sometimes I spend so much time focusing on what I haven't gotten done, that I don't think about what I want to do.

This week, I'm grateful for:
  • Zoe's smiles - What can I say? I'm head over heels in love with her and everytime she smiles my heart melts and I feel invincible.
  • Michele - I'm grateful for everything about Michele, but lately I am just so in love with her as an amazing mom to Zoe. She's so good at loving our little girl.
  • Lisa Gonzalez - Her blog, Happy Mama's Journal, inspires me everytime I read it. She is so full of goodness and light that I feel blessed for having known her.
  • Wegmans Food Mart - I'm grateful for Wegmans not just because they employ Michele and provide us with an income and health insurance, but because our Wegmans is full of wonderful people who know our names and always have a smile for us and a kind question about Zoe. Plus, I love the convenience of having access to good, healthy food just up the street.
  • Nancy Topolski and her knitting needles - I just got a pair of Nancy's fingerless gloves and for the first time in forever my hands aren't cold as I'm typing this.
  • Amazing crafters vending in the cold - I'm so grateful that my friends Kira, Karen, and Sabra went out in the cold today so that I could enjoy hanging out at a craft show.
  • Good friends and a wonderful family - we worked on Zoe's baby book today, on the section about who her family is, and I count us so lucky to have so many wonderful people written down on those pages. We are very well supported in life.
And my goals for this coming week are:
  • To spend more time in prayer - I don't talk to God nearly enough and I have so much to say "thank you" for.
  • To reach out to a friend with an email or phone call.
  • To keep up with my chores - I'm finally getting caught up and don't want to get behind again.
  • To work on Zoe's flannel quilt - I'd like to finish cutting the fabric.
  • To call my parents - since becoming a parent, I don't talk to them as much as I'd like to. I need to fix that.
With honest intentions, I'll strive to do my best this week and have the best attitude while doing so.

What are you grateful for this week? What would you like to accomplish?

Friday, September 28, 2012


In addition to the visits from the grandparents and the road trip to meet Uncle Joel, we enjoyed a visit from my sister, Kym, and niece and nephew, Isabelle and Alexander. Cousins are so special. We never lived close enough to really grow up with ours and Kym live in Pennsylvania, about 5 hours from us. Not far, but not around the corner either. Since having Zoe, the distance from family feels even greater. Especially from Kym, as it would be fun to be moms together and have our little ones grow up together. No matter, we may be apart, but visits like this summer's make all the difference!

Sharing is important, but when it comes to drool. . .

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Summer Fun

It's been a fun, but busy summer. Here's a pictorial review of what we've been up to over the past few months:

Enjoyed a visit from Nana - May
And from Grampa and GG - June

Went to the beach - June

Went to the Butterfly Conservatory - July
Planted a garden and built a fence around it - May

Feasted on cucumbers from that well-protected garden - July
And undoubtedly the best of all was our August road trip to meet Uncle Joel:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Arising from the Deep

Ahh, it feels like I'm finally coming up for air. It's so amazing being a mom! I truly love it! And I feel like I'm finally getting some semblance of balance among all the different hats I wear. Right now, I'm focusing on simplicity in most things so that I can spend as much time as possible on the things and people I love. It feels really good.

And blogging is something that I really want to get back to. It really feeds something to write and share my life with you all, so I'm definitely going to keep this in my priorities. It's been so long that I feel like a newbie at it again, though!

So, what's happening in my life now?

Zoe is nearly 10 months old - so crazy fast!! I feel like I was just pregnant yesterday!!

I've mourned and let go of Element K, the company that I used to work for that was purchased and closed during my 3rd trimester. I now work as Zoe's mom, run my shop, and do some contract work as an Instructional Designer.

I'm enjoying whipping my shop back into shape. I couldn't do much while on bedrest and didn't want to do much during Zoe's first months, so it needs quite a bit of work. It's been really fun though thinking about what direction I want to take my quilting work.

I spend as much time as possible loving Zoe and Michele and having fun together as a family. It's sheer bliss!! I love every minute of it!

I'm looking forward to reintroducing myself to whoever is out there reading and getting to know you all, too!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy Mommy's Day

Our first Mother's Day has been just awesome. Michele and I decided that we both deserve a special day, so the Saturday is Michele's day and the Sunday will be mine. Today we started the day with breakfast. I asked Michele what she wanted and she requested peanut butter toast and chocolate milk. I tried to talk her into something a little more elaborate but she insisted, so that's what I made her. Then I gave her the special gift I had made for her: a photo book telling the story of our journey to motherhood. She loved it. Then we spent the day at the Lilac Festival. It was Zoe's first festival and she did great. Michele carried her in the Ergo carrier so she had the perfect view of everything and everyone. A great day was had by all!
Zoe and Mommy on Mommy's Day!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Birthday Month

Ahh, it's finally May, my birthday month. Last May was a strange mix of pregnancy excitement and day-long morning sickness, which nearly ruined my favorite day of the year: my birthday. Now everyday feels like a favorite day since Zoe makes everyday very exciting. This birthday month, though, hosts our first mother's day and my first birthday as a mom. I can't wait to see what Michele picks out as my gift from Zoe. I have such fond memories of going shopping with one parent for the other parent's mother's/father's day or birthday present. And I have even fonder memories of being old enough to pick out or make presents for myself. My favorite was the undershirt I made my dad for father's day with a picture of a triple scoop ice cream cone on the front - not exactly military issue! And the macaroni jewelry for my mom. I can't wait to start my own collection of pasta and ice cream accessories! This year Zoe will get a little help from Michele, but it's still exciting! My birthday month feels so very extra special already!

The Everchanging Face of Zoe

What? I didn't do anything.
Now come on. You don't really believe I would
do that, do you? {batting eyes}
Ok, Ok. I did it and it was wonderful! Tee hee hee!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Easter Bunny sneak attack!

All tuckered out!
Zoe went to her first Easter egg hunt today. Actually, she started crying the minute we got there, so we rocked and watched the hunt from the upstairs window. It was a fun Easter hunt and brunch hosted by the wonderful Sue. Once Zoe fell asleep, I surrounded her with Easter eggs as though the Easter bunny had visited her in her slumber. Very fun for baby's first Easter! Happy Easter to all!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Four Months Feels Like Forever

Hello World! I'm four months old today!
It's amazing to me how quickly life changes. Zoe is four months old today. I know logically that four months isn't very long, but illogically, it feels like forever. It's so hard to remember a time before Zoe and it's hard to believe that she's only been a part of our lives for four months, and yet, I also can't believe that she's four months old already! At the same time it feels like just yesterday that I was pregnant and it feels like its been she's forever been with us!

She's such a little miracle, changing and growing daily and keeping Michele and I alive with all her energy and all our love for her. It truly has been the most amazing four months. I wake up everyday and cannot wait to see what is new with Zoe.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Little Bites

I love all the lessons I'm learning as a new mom. One of the most important things is to alter the expectations I have for myself. I used to spend hours on a task until it was complete, but now I need to work around Zoe's needs and there are definitely not hours in between those. So, I'm trying to take things in little bites, breaking my goals into tasks that are further broken down into tiny nibbles that are easily accomplished during naps. So, instead of "clean the dining room," my to-do list says:
  • Remove glasses from dining room table
  • Polish table
  • Polish sideboard
  • Vacuum
  • Water plants
It gives me more things to cross of the list everyday and definitely makes me feel more accomplished. I'd say this is one of my greatest challenges so far. I've always been so driven that not getting things done has been really hard for me. I like feeling these little successes everytime I cross something off the list.

A fun book I got a few weeks ago, The Rookie Mom's Handbook, advised new moms to create a "Done" list with things like "Changed 8 dirty diapers," "Dressed and re-dressed baby three times," and "Nursed baby four times for 30 minutes each." I haven't done that yet, but seeing it down in writing would definitely help me see how very much I DO in a day. It may not be the tasks and chores on my chore list, but taking care of Zoe is so much more fun and rewarding that cleaning the dining room is anyhow!   

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Big Purge

Michele and I had grand plans before Zoe was born. Plans to purge our home of all the excess. Unfortunately, we started to collect the excess and then I was put on bedrest and then Zoe came five weeks early and then and then and then. . . So the excess is half collected and is congregating throughout our home. I woke up the other morning and told Michele that I was suffocating. "Suffocating?" she asked. "Why?" "We have TOO much stuff!" And thus started the big purge.

Now Michele has always been a minimalist, so this purge should have been easy for her and difficult for me, the collector, but it's been really easy and fun for me. The more things I put in the "Thrift store" or "trash" piles, the easier it gets for me to breathe! I love it! It's actually great to send what used to be treasures to me to new homes where they will hopefully be treasures to someone else. The goal, however, is to resist filling up newly emptied spaces with cool new stuff for Zoe. Now that's a challenge!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Zoe's New Throne

Zoe has quickly overcome her premature status and grown very quickly into a sturdy little baby. She's outgrowing her infant carrier/carseat faster than expected. Michele and I weren't quite sure what to do since although in size she's ready for the next carseat, in muscle and head control, she still needs the support of an infant seat. After a lot of research, talking to my sister (big babies run in our family), and talking to Zoe's doctor, we decided on a convertible carseat that will work for Zoe now as a rear-facing seat and can be converted into a forward-facing seat later. More research found the Britax convertible carseats. Zoe's new throne arrived today. It's about the prettiest carseat I've ever seen! What a lucky little person! We'll head over to the fire department this week to get it installed properly and ready to roll!

Researching and finding the best of the best of what this little angel needs feels almost like a full-time job, but it's one that I really enjoy. I love learning all about anything having to do with Zoe!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy Quarter-Year Birthday, Baby Girl

Zoe is just the happiest, cuddliest baby. It took us a long time to decide to become moms - Michele and I have been talking about it for our entire relationship - 14 years! I'm sure every parent gets the exact right baby for them - I know Zoe is the exact right baby for us. She just seems like the perfectly shaped puzzle piece fitting right into our family. Or maybe it just feels like that because I can't remember how life felt before Zoe. I don't remember feeling like something was missing, but I now feel peacefully complete. These past three months have been full of change, full of happiness. I can't believe she's three months old already; and yet I can't believe I lived for 36 years without her either.

Monday, March 5, 2012


It's funny thinking back (and looking back through my blog posts) about all the dreams I had while pregnant. I really wanted a baby girl and I knew I'd be having a baby girl - I knew it in my bones - but most of my dreams were of a baby boy - and most people who wanted to guess guessed baby boy. Michele and I were excited thinking about our baby and would have loved having a boy, but something inside me just knew that we were going to have Zoe. After that last push and our little one was out, I actually forgot to ask the sex! Michele, though, didn't hesitate to proudly announce "She's a girl! Zoe's here!" What an amazing moment! The moment Zoe came out to play!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A New Beginning

Day 1
It's crazy to think that my last post was in October. Even crazier to know that I'm writing this post with a sleeping baby in my arms. Our daughter was born five weeks early on December 7th and my life has completely changed since that event. Zoe Lorraine burst into this world at 7 pounds 3 oz and 20 inches long just anxious to meet her moms and make us the happiest women in the world!

Month 1

It's amazing to me how in one minute with one event everything changes. Even things that still exist, like my relationship with Michele, my love of reading and sewing and chocolate, my wonderful family and friends, are different. Everything is filtered through Zoe: Michele and I aren't just a loving couple, we're parents; I ravenously consume books on child care and development and children's books, plan quilts for Zoe and other projects that will make my life as a mom easier, and limit my chocolate consumption because, as a breastfeeding mom, I want Zoe to get only the best from me; and our family relationships and friendships all seem to center around Zoe: "Oh won't it be fun taking Zoe to meet Casey," "Aunt Kym is coming to meet Zoe," and "Zoe do you hear Nana on the phone? Say 'hi!'"
Month 2

I absolutely love it all. Everything is new and exciting. Things that were routine and maybe a bit boring are new challenges with Zoe. A trip to the grocery store used to be "Let me stop at Wegman's real quick for cheese" and is now "Okay, I have my list; Zoe's fed, so she'll probably sleep; do I have her sling to tote her around the store?; I'd better get cheese, it's not on the list, but I won't be able to get back out here this week, so I'd better get some just in case; Oh, there's Rita, she'll want to see Zoe before we leave; Zoe slept through shopping, but is awake the minute we get to the register, maybe if I bounce up and down she'll be okay until we get to the car; ok, we made it out of the store, but I'd better climb in the backseat and nurse before heading home(although we live 5 minutes away) so that we can make it home peacefully and I'll be able to get the bags in the house and the perishibles put away. . ." Grocery shopping is now a weekly adventure that I enjoy each time!

I just had no idea how completely this little girl would change my life and my outlook on the world. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to be a mom to this special little person! Hopefully, I'll be posting here often to share my new adventures as a mom, partner, quilter, gardener, vegetarian, daughter, friend, sister, and whatever other title this new beginning bring me!


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