Where I’ve been
Well, hello there. Yes, I know, it’s been a while. The timing of my hiatus might coincide with when my twice-a-week babysitter LEFT US. She up and graduated from college EARLY. It gets worse! She didn’t even leave us for a corporate job. No! She left us to travel to the other side of the world! Oh, OH! And, not just any other side of the world; she went to MY favorite part of the other side of the world, New Zealand. We tried to be graceful; however, it’s hard when you suddenly realize what 8 hours of babyless time does for your running errands and writing blog posts time. NADA. Yeah, I know some bloggers blog after bedtime or at 5a.m. before the kids get up. Sorry, I’m just not that committed. My brain turns to mush after 9 without some serious caffeine. That’s really not the greatest idea when you are pregnant again, but that’s another blog post. Anyway, my point is that I was too tired and the piles of dirty laundry were going to land me on Hoarders with me breaking down in tears as experts intervened to save me from myself. I need over 7 hours of consecutive sleep to be happy. Luckily, we found another wonderful sitter, thanks to my friend, Kallie. Actually, that’s how we found our first sitter. Kallie – I love you! So, after getting caught up on my house and personal life, I think I can safely resume a regular blogging schedule. I’m not committing to everyday, just most days when my house is clean (because I paid someone else to clean it) and my refrigerator is full (because my mom was here to help with Avery).
Facebook is Boring
I also decided to take a break from social media. Staying at home with your baby is wonderful. It’s a choice my husband and I made easily. However, it’s been anything but easy. Even though the demands are way more than I could have anticipated, I think that the change in my role was the most difficult part of the transition. Looking back, I realized I went through a little grieving process of the Aimee-Before-Motherhood. I had really just figured out who she was and was having a lot of fun being self-centered. I mean, you have to be ”selfless” in marriage; but, you have to be “SELFLESS” as a mom. It’s whole new level no one understands until they are in a position where they are caring for someone else who is 110% dependent on them. I’m sure people who have had to take care of loved ones who aren’t little children are at the “SELFLESS” level and are all, “Aimee, you have no idea.” True, I take my hat off to you! So, getting back on-track, I found myself looking at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with the outside world. One day, it was just too much. It wasn’t that I couldn’t take the I-love-my-life, self-promotions, humble-brags, we-don’t-really-look-this-good-in-real-life-photos, or whoa-is-me posts. I mean, we all participate in those roles to some extent. It just got….well, boring. It’s not that my Facebook friends are boring people. It’s more like, how much minutia do you really need or even want to know about someone else’s life on a daily basis? More importantly, I was sharing too much minutia. My sister and mom were probably the only ones enjoying the constant stream of Avery posts and photos. So, I deleted the Facebook app off of my phone and did my best to give it up for a few months all-together. I then tucked my Twitter app away in a folder marked Social Media on my phone. It was hard the first few days not to pass the minutes away in line at the check-out counter or when Avery was walking up and down the hallway for the 274th time to check-in with FB. However, then I kind of forgot about it entirely. I did, however, keep Instagram. I love photo and I follow and un-follow people without a second thought as to if I will hurt their feelings. It’s not like you can really tell and I just like to mix it up a bit. Are you checking to see if I unfollowed you right now? If we are friends in the sense that we spend time together at least once a month, no. If we aren’t “real-life” friends and you post photos of the lettuce you had for your “yummy” gluten-free lunch, yes.
Nevermind, Facebook is Fun (when you use it to be friends…like real friends)
It was on Instagram that I noticed someone with a pseudonym commenting on a mutual friend’s photos who I was pretty sure I knew from UCLA. I could only see photos of her daughter on her feed, so I texted my friend to ask who it was. Oh, yeah, Michelle, one of the nicest girls in my sorority! We’d lost touch after I dropped out when I returned from study-abroad. Turns out that she has a little one just a bit older than Avery and lives in San Diego. So, I broke my Facebook rule to friend her and we made plans for a mom date. Turns out we are both still normal, nice people (Uh, that was what I was verifying Michelle! :) and our girls are both pretty mellow. It makes for a great combo for play-dates! Michelle also loves photography, so we have shamelessly taken our girls around Encinitas photographing them at these great locations Michelle found. The result from our first expedition is what I have entitled:
Two Future Bruins on a Bench:
I was going to put in captions to tell a story; however, they just seemed redundant. Yes, Harper taught Avery how to wear “sunnies.” Although, Avery got a bit confused! She also taught Avery how to sign “more” for Puffs. Or, as Harper calls them, “Pups.” I think Harper was also a bit concerned over Avery’s lack of ringlets. Uh, this was me as a child, so I don’t know why my baby girl only has a handful of curls on the back of her head:
Seth thought I was wearing a wig when I showed him this photo.
Oh, yeah, she’s her father’s mini-me. That kid was probably bald until he was two!
I have a lot more to say about Facebook and Social Media that I will save for another post. However, I will end this post by saying that I am happy to be back blogging, reconnecting with friends on Facebook, and will forever shamelessly post a bazillion photos of my kids on Instagram.
I took one of Nicole’s Classes late last year. One of our assignments was a stylized shoot. So, you know, I thought of a great idea: Hey, I’ll take lots of backlit photos of my friend Ali and her family. I drove around the alleys of La Jolla during the golden hour with a sleeping Avery in the car. I knew taking backlit photos would be challenging, but I found the perfect place! Then, I inadvertently scheduled the photo shoot for the afternoon before trash day. Apparently, not everyone is like me and Seth when it comes to putting their cans out. You know, you rush out half-dressed as you hear the truck come down the street. So, I really have to get going on Photoshop before I post all of the photos. However, I’m going to post my favorites anyway. That’s how much I love them!
I mean, how great is it that Ali got her two girls dressed up in their monogrammed tutu dresses AND convinced her husband, Matt, to wear a pink shirt to match? ”I’ve just decided that pink and white are our family colors,” she declared. You know that brought a smile to my face! Talking of smiles, notice how the the 3-year-old, first-born girl is all smiles in the last two photos. Love it!
This is the third draft of your 1-year love letter. I’ve given a half-hearted attempt several times, but nothing really came to mind. I was so very excited when 1/13, our lucky number, came around. I pushed you in your BOB that morning with an extra bounce in my step. I wanted to go through the streets of La Jolla yelling out, “Yeah! We did it! One year and this kid is thriving and happy. Please get my certificate of completion in the mail: Congratulations to Aimee and Avery for making it through your first year as mother and dauther. You rock! Oh, don’t forget to add ‘With Honors,’ because my baby is super cute, too!” And then came all the,
“She’s SO BIG!”
“You know you have a TODDLER now, right?” ”
“Wait, what? Toddler? Shush up NOW! No, really, no one asked your opinion. You see this blue-eye girl? She’s my BAY-BEE.”
party first birthday and your mom will cry if she wants to was pretty much how I felt. In my heart, I already knew it was true. Every morning you wake up noticeably more mature, more talkative, and more inquisitive about your world. Well, actually, you wake up in tears every morning; but, you feel much better after petting the “daw! daw!” However, after you are happily petting Patch, you seem more mature, talkative, and inquisitive. I was just happy to let that all be part of the baby stage. Since we decided on just celebrating with a day at the zoo, it didn’t really seem official anyway. No balloons, no pinata, no cake. It was just a day with mommy, daddy, auntie mandie, grandma, and grandpa. Fun, but not official.
Well, you know what is official? Doctor visits, that’s what. They write information down on permanent records. Like, how much you weigh and whether or not you know enough words. Then they tell you all about the new things you should be doing and warn you about how kids your age are accident prone. You even get a brief packet about toddlers to take home with you. You know, after your
baby toddler stops crying from her vaccinations. Ugh, it was a tough day.
You’re sleeping now. You’ve graduated to your knees tucked under you with bottom up in the air pose. Meanwhile, I’ve been filtering through the hundreds of photos I still haven’t edited from your year as my baby girl. I better get on it, too; beacause, guess what? At two they are going to tell me you are a Pre-Schooler! So, sleep tight my toddler. We have a lot of adventures to get going on while you are still my little one.
I love you.
As we were falling asleep last night, I searched for your hand. I had to reach around Patchy who was back in his usual spot, a big ball of labrahound right in-between us. I used to joke that he was like a chastity belt; there was no way we were going to make babies with him claiming his territory right in the middle of the bed each night. Unfortunately for Patch, we thwarted his plan to have our entire world revolve around him and had our baby girl almost one year ago. As Patch feared, everything changed.
In many ways, I feel like it’s our first year of marriage all over again. Except, instead of having your best friend living in the spare bedroom – who slept in on weekends, always took my side in any kind of debate (You are a smart one, Bret!), and made sure our fridge was stocked with an endless supply of gourmet mustard - we have our new little roommate. Oh, how that little person has changed everything. We’ve had so much new joy…so much new everything…and so little sleep! Such little sleep, in-fact, that I would highly suggest any couples planning on getting married and having children add the following to the traditional wedding vows: in full-nights of sleep and in nights, days, months – gees, maybe years, of hardly any sleep at all. So, with fingers interlaced and Patch lightly snoring in-between us, I asked you what you thought of our third year of marriage.
“Wonderful,” you said.
I kind of laughed. “Well, don’t you think it’s been a little hard this past year?”
No, you didn’t think so at all. Of course, you - the man one who loves scary-as-heck, off-piste ski slopes - would say a challenging year has been wonderful. For you, the fun and reward comes from overcoming uncharted territory, preferably with adrenaline pumping drops. Me, on the other hand, well, I’d much prefer to stick to ski runs called “Success.” I like being able to see ahead and take it easy. Falling is a rarity and you don’t have to work much on proper form (Use your edges!). Of course, these types of runs come with relatively little reward. I was most happy skiing when I finally realized that you were right (don’t expect me to say that twice); it’s much more fun when you stop clinging to the mountain and go downhill on a real mountain run.
Having Avery has steered us clear off the green runs. All the challenges, the sleepless nights, and the new roles have made marriage harder; but, they have also made us love harder. I’ll fully admit, it’s made life a new kind of wonderful (Okay, I said you were right twice!). So, babe, here’s to having an off-piste marriage. I’m sure we will fall time and time again, however, it’s been more fun along the way and the reward has been that much greater.
I love you.
Photo credit: True Photography