Thursday, February 28, 2013

On Motherhood, Bad Habits, And A New Series

I think if you know me, you know that I take this motherhood thing pretty seriously.  It’s amazing how fast your whole world shifts and you start seeing everything in a new light.  Pretty quickly into my pregnancy (like, maybe day 1) I started staying up at night, thinking about life insurance, and wills, and college funds, and who will take care of this baby if something happens to us?! 

Suddenly I was analyzing everything and everyone around me.  What was my childhood like?  What do I want to do the same or different?  What influences do I want around my children?  I kind of became a walking, talking public service ad.  Stop swearing!  Don’t drink so much!  No texting and driving!!  But all of a sudden everything had a deeper meaning to me, and I only wanted the best of influences around my little babe.

As soon as I found out we were having a girl I took a good, hard look at the one in the mirror.  I realized then that I would be the number one influence on the tiny girl in my belly.  At least for a while.  I had to be better for her.  I needed to be someone I would be proud of my daughter for looking up to.  I wanted to be a good, strong role model so that one day when she was on her own she wouldn’t only be like me, she’d be better than me. 

Taking a good look at myself, it was easy to see some things I needed to change.  I didn’t want my daughter to pick up my bad habits.  Like picking my split ends.  Or sometimes having a little bit of a temper.  Or raising my voice maybe a little too quickly.  Or shopping too much.

But my number one concern was passing on the cancerous self esteem problems that plagued me, my sisters, my mom, my grandma, and generations of other girls.  My whole life I was so consumed by what was in the mirror.  And even though our mom was our biggest fan, and rained down compliments on us, my sisters and I were our own worst enemies.  Every day was like that scene in Mean Girls where they all look in the mirror and have to say something bad about themselves.  My hair, my nose, my hips, my lips, my butt, my legs…you name it.  If everything wasn’t perfect, nothing was perfect.

It took my pregnancy, and this sudden self-awareness, to see exactly how sad and gross the whole thing was.  And it devastated me to know that my beautiful family members ever had thoughts of themselves like this.  But it’s also so easy to understand, you know?  I mean we’re constantly surrounded by these perfect characters in movies or books, or beautiful, photoshopped images that we can’t ever compare to.  I know so many fewer women that think highly of themselves than the other way around.  And it’s sad.  And more than anything I don’t want that to be my daughter.  So I’ve made a concerted effort to STOP IT.   But it’s hard.  It’s so easy to find myself saying these mean things about people.  Flippant little things like “um, so and so looks a liiiittle plastic-y these days”, or “oh my gosh, she looks AWFUL!”  And while this is almost always about people that I don’t know, that are on TV or in magazines and will never hear my comment, it all feeds into it.  It’s a nasty little game of tearing down people to make yourself feel better, but it always (at least in my case) leads to feeling pretty bad about yourself too.  Because if you’re saying these mean things about others, what are others saying about you??

Anyways, I’ve been doing my very best at improving this area of my life, and while (I think) I’ve made leaps and bounds, I still have a way to go.

With all that being said, the point of this is to tell you about a new series I’m going to be starting on the blog.  I haven’t even named it yet, and I haven’t completely defined it.  I was hoping the rambling I just let myself do would assist with that, but it hasn’t really.  So, another work-in-progress in my life.  But, (probably despite what you think based on what you’ve just read), I don’t intend to make the series a big advocacy-y, “say no to bullying”, Dove soap-y kind of thing, but I just want to focus on being a good parent.  I’ll do some of the posts, but I hope to get friends and family involved, because I know a lot of amazing moms.  Hopefully they’ll do some guest posts, and hopefully it’ll just inspire us all to be a little better.  Because it couldn’t hurt, right? 

And these little people we’re raising?  They need us to be the very best we can be.

- K

Monday, February 25, 2013

8 Years

"if you're a bird, i'm a bird"

Eight years ago tonight I went on a first date with a big, cute, hilarious guy.  I stressed out about what to wear.  He showed up right on time.  We went to dinner in Old Town, Fort Collins, and he opened my doors all night. 

We hit it off.

Looking back to that date, and where we are now is pretty incredible.  I can say without hesitation that every year has been better than the last.  Hope you're ready for some amazing times, Ryan Chapman, because we've got a lot of great years ahead of us.  Love you a million!

- K

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cleaning and Scrubbing

My mom embroidered a version of this sign when she was pregnant with me, and I remember being a kid and looking at the picture of the mom rocking a baby and reading it to myself.  Never did it have the impact it does now.  I especially love this version, and plan to hang it in my own home. 

The last year has definitely taken a toll on the cleanliness of our house, and sometimes I start to feel guilty about slacking with the chores.  But when I read this I am comforted by the fact that I never turn down an opportunity to play, laugh, rock, or snuggle my baby.  I may not pass any white glove tests in the near future, but I can tell you that when Lyla graduates high school, or college, or even on her wedding day, I won't look back and remember messy floors.  What I will remember is the warmth and smell of that little baby in my arms, and I will be so glad I took advantage of every one of those moments.

- K

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

These Days

The last couple weeks have been a little overwhelming with Valentine's day, work, L and I getting sick, blah, blah.  Sometimes when life gets that way, drinking a glass of wine while catching up on The Bachelor completely outweighs catching up on the blog. 

Soo, here's a quick recap:

1) We're at a very messy stage with Lyla.  She is no longer tolerant of being fed with any utensil, she has to at least have her own to "help".  She's also very mobile, but still not 100% stable, so there's a lot of falling.  A lot of those falls seem to happen while holding food, so let's just say our carpet is...well, we might not get our deposit back when we move out. 

Anyways, sometimes I have these ideas that I momentarily think are brilliant and fun.  Like a living room picnic.  And then she sits ON THE PLATE.  And I'm left wondering why I thought doing this indoors was a good idea, especially on a carpeted area.  Why? 

2) We had a lovely little trip to Rochester, MN and the Mayo Clinic to check up on Lyla's hips.  She was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 6 weeks and put in a soft brace, which at the time was world-crushing to me.  Seeing my tiny baby in that contraption was so hard.  Right away she made huge improvements, and over the last year continues to have "normal" ultra sounds and x-rays, which is great news. 

Let me tell you, spend just an hour at the Mayo Clinic and you see how minor anything you're going through really is.

3) We had a great Valentine's Day!  I'd argue it was the best on record so far.  Lyla got the cutest little pair of espadrilles in the mail, and I got a very fancy new diaper bag.  We made a great dinner and just relaxed.  It was pretty perfect.

4) With all this walking Lyla's been doing I've been trying to be better about the whole shoe thing for her.  What is it about baby cankles that just do not keep shoes on?!  Luckily those little espadrilles and some pink sparkly Toms that she's had forever (and finally fit!) actually stay on pretty well.  They're darn cute, but something about seeing that girl in shoes automatically shifts her from baby to kid in my mind.  She just looks so dang old with those things on!  Come to think of it, maybe I'll just hold off on the shoe thing for a while.  Then she'll stay a baby forever.  Right?

- K

Monday, February 11, 2013

Snow Day

It seems like I haven't had much time with my babies lately.  Our big trip home for Lyla's first birthday was like most our trips home with a tightly packed agenda.  This weekend however, was the first low key weekend at home literally since November and the most fulfilling I can remember.

Kassi and I got to escape after baby bedtime on Friday night for a movie (Silver Linings Playbook is not nearly as terrible as it looks).  Saturday I shoveled my way out to the grill and we cooked up an awesome feast.  Steaks, bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers, and sweet potato tots.  Sunday, we hit Santorinis for brunch where Lyla ate almost every item in the entire buffet, or at least tasted it and then threw it on the floor.

Then we spent the afternoon playing in the snow... and it was the cutest shit ever.  I spent most of my childhood playing the snow and wasn't sure what a one year old would get out of the experience but she loved every minute of it.  She squealed when we pulled her around in her new sled and her snow suit came in handy as she crawled around.  I have been bemoaning the purchase price of said snow suit for weeks so glad to see it finally put to use... :) 

We even got an invite to the neighbors beer cheese soup cook-off and had a fabulous time eating and drinking (yes I did get type II diabetes thanks for asking) and showing off our little celebrity baby... and all in time for 7pm bed time.  Love my girls.

Here’s to another week... see you next weekend!

- R

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Weekly Pictures

OK, one last post about Lyla turning one...I promise. 

Before I had Lyla I always saw people posting pics of their babies every month, and I liked the idea of having those pictures of L to see how she grew from month to month.  But then she started changing so quickly right away, I thought I'd do weekly pics just for the first month.  And then it turned into weekly pics for the whole year. 

It started out pretty fun, but week by week she got more and more active, my sign got more and more destroyed, and the pics got more and more blurry.  Towards the end I swore I would never do this again for any other child, and the end of the weekly pics actually helped me look forward to the first year coming to an end.

We showed a slide show of all the pictures at her birthday party in Denver, and while I was preparing that I was amazed and so glad I had all those pics.  It's so fun to see the slight changes of each week, and huge changes from beginning to end.  Watching that slideshow for the first time I decided I had to do the same thing for each of my children.

Sometimes I can be such a glutton for punishment. 

Here's some of the pics, but I'll spare you from the entire 52 week collection.  ;)

- K

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

One Year

Today my baby girl turned one.  This year has been the most beautiful year of my entire life.  I've learned so much.  And given up so much.  And gotten so much more.  I've fallen in love...a whole new kind of love that is simply indescribable.  Only you other moms will ever know.  I've found my meaning.  Who I was always meant to be.  Her mama.

This girl is such a blessing.  She is a light in a world that doesn't seem to have much left at times.  She brightens people's days...even complete strangers.  She is a lover.  And the innocence in her eyes is so precious. 

I love her, I love her, I love her.  And even though I'm crying as I write this, looking back at the last 365 days and wishing they hadn't gone so fast, I wouldn't trade the girl I have right now, today, for any other version of herself. 

I love you more than words can say, Lyla Rose.  You have forever stolen my heart.  I thank God every hour of every day for blessing me with you.  I am so thankful to be your mama.  Watching you grow has brought me so much joy over the past year, and I can't wait to see what the next years have in store.

- K

walking at her birthday party tonight

and falling too :)

eating her very own slice of pizza

stealing icing from the cake

and more icing...

...and more icing

and a pony!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

L's Birthday Party!

Just got back from Denver, and man was it hard to leave that 60 degree weather for below freezing and snowy.  But for so many more reasons than just the weather.  Lyla's birthday party was so much fun, we had a huge turnout and it was so great to see everyone.

We know some amazing people, and miss you all so much more than I can express.

Here's some more pics from L's big day.  And a big thanks to all the aunties for helping with the setup!!  (And thanks to Jo for the fab pics!)


- K