Monday, January 16, 2012

A Niece is Born

April 2011

Our friends, Monique and Dan come to our house for dinner.  I tell them I have "big news" and proceed to brag about the musty antique player piano that I proudly purchased from a local estate sale.  Monique is impressed.  Dan sits down at it and plays.  They ask lots of questions about how I heard about the sale, how old the piano is, and are quite impressed to see that the "player" component is still intact and playing ragtime just as it did in 1926.  They let me drone on and on about how awesome I think this piano is.  After about 20 minutes of this, Monique informs that she, too, has big news.  Hers is growing in her belly and set to debut in January 2012.

January 14, 2012

Monique is two days past her due date.  Every day for the last 14 days, she gives me a morning update about how she is still with child and still feeling good.  I applaud her but secretly believe she is either (A) lying or (B) superhuman.  She proves the latter later in the evening.

A text came over at at around 5 pm this evening that says, "Linds, she's coming!"  I go into anxious freak-out mode and practically forget I'm in the middle of preparing a meal for my mother-in-law and kids.  The next two hours are a blur as I serve dinner, eat poorly, and jump in the car.  I bring my Kindle and the intentions of camping out in the waiting room until baby cries for the first time.

I meet Monique, Dan and Helen Joy in the hospital waiting room.  Monique beams her best "I'm anxious and stoked" smile, Dan is completely "in the zone", patting her belly and half-watching the 49ers/Saints game on TV.  Helen Joy is a picture of pure peace and calm, smiling her warm HJ smile and clutching her camera bag in anticipation of photographing her friend's birth experience, start to finish.  While we wait, she snaps a photo or two.  Monique is still smiling and joking through her contractions.

A nurse fetches Monique, puts her in the hospital wheelchair, and gives her instruction while she wheels us down the hospital halls.  The three of them walk together in a row, pushing Monique and chatting and I bring up the rear, taking in the whole experience.  HJ and I stop at the maternity ward waiting room and watch a movie while the expectant parents get triaged and settled.  The movie is Mrs. Doubtfire.  HJ and I aren't really watching it, but rather talking about babies and sharing "war stories" about our two deliveries.  HJ and I have always been friends through Monique.  We hang out when Monique is involved.  We have a lot in common with each other, have two boys, almost identical in age, and find out through our waiting room chats that while our experiences are quite different, our family dynamics are quite similar.  I cherish the time we spent together, waiting to support our beautiful, mutual friend that we both love equally as much. 

After the 49ers take a surprising win against the Saints, some waiting, a brief visit with the laboring (but still smiling) Mama, and a nap, we are invited back into the room by Dan.  He asked if we'd like to come keep them company for a bit.  Little did we know that we wouldn't be leaving again.  It's about 11:30 at this point.

The next several hours are pretty much a blur.  Monique was dilated to a six or seven and still joking, cracking an occasional smile, and remarking how the contractions are beginning to hurt.  She stopped talking through them but still maintained 100% control over each and every one of them.  I was amazed to watch her go into meditation mode as each one came, like ocean waves, and consumed her whole body.  She would close her eyes, hold her enormous belly, and sway rhythmically in complete silence.  Like a tidal wave, she let the contraction lead her, and went exactly where it went.  She personified the term "go with the flow" and popped back into the moment at the exact instant the contraction relaxed.  It was brilliant.  I watched this for hours in complete amazement.

The room began getting tense as the contractions got stronger and closer together.  HJ captured lots of powerful shots, offered support, and took over the nurse role while I sat still.  It's not that I didn't have a strong urge to help somehow, but I had no idea how to offer comfort - I've never been in labor.  Not the serious "my body is snapping in two" stage of labor anyhow.  Completely unable to relate combined with being in complete awe of this woman kept me frozen.  Frozen, and feeling awkwardly in the way.  I think I stood in every corner and position of this particular birthing suite over the eightish hours I was in there.

I saw my best friend as the most beautiful woman in the world during this process.  She was stripped, raw, and completely real during these moments.  We've known each other for over half our lives and been through about everything friends can go through during that time, but I had never seen her the way I saw her tonight.  My friend is the quintessential Libra.  A balanced, controlled people-pleaser who is "on" all the time.  The kind of girl who is always ready for the camera, smiling when the shot catches everyone else by surprise.  The person everyone claims to be "best friends" with because she is just that relatable, no matter who her audience is.  I watched her transform into a creature who was 100% invested in herself in those moments and to say it was a religious experience for me is an understatement.

During my silent observance, I thought about all the things we'd been though together over the years.  We met in 7th grade gym class as two insecure, scrawny pre-teens that had our eccentricities as a common bond.  We were a bizarre duo - always picked last for the team due to our un-athletic natures.  Team captains would agree to take one of us if the opposite team would take the other.  Our revenge was always teaming up regardless and playing for the wrong team.  We brought barbies to school and played with them in class, from opposite ends of the room.  We passed notes, wore the same clothes, and spent weeks on end at each others' houses over the summer.  We cried on each others' shoulders when our boyfriends dumped us. She held my hand, figuratively and literally when my family moved, and continued spending summers and winters together, even though 800 miles separated us during the rest of the year.  I went to her piano recitals.  She came to my college graduation.  We got excited and squealed for each other the summer we both got engaged and did the same thing on the day of each others' weddings the same year, one year later.  Our experience was just a hair off from marrying twins and having a joint wedding the way we joked we would.  Born as South Florida girls, in hospitals just miles down the road from each other, we found ourselves living across the street from each other, in a tiny town hundreds of miles away.  A few years later she witnessed the birth of my second child through a plate-glass window.  She saw Beckett James before I did.  And also my spleen, uterus and God knows what other internal organs that were exposed during my c-section.  And here we are again.  Only the tables are now turned and I am witnessing her second daughter taking her very first breath, catching a glimpse of her ice-blue eyes, inherited from her Mama, before her Mama sees them.  It was breath-taking.  Aptly named, River Eisley is born, into a pool of water, with ice-blue eyes and a serenity and calmness about her that I have never seen in a newborn, ever.

I love my friend and will always cherish the moments she let me share with her on that January night.  I've always loved her and stuck her up on an imaginary pedestal, thinking she was the coolest, all the way back to our 7th grade gym days.  But today I love her just a little bit more and feel a renewed sense of sisterhood with her.  She is even more of a rockstar today than she was last week, or in 1995 and I am infinitely excited for she and her beautiful little family.  River Eisley is a sweet little burrito of joy in her hospital swaddle, and appears to already have the go-with-the-flow, fluid personality her Mama owns.  They couldn't have picked a more appropriate name and River could not have picked a better set of parents.  Congratulations, dear family.  I love you all.  Welcome to the world, Sweet River!

River Eisley 
January 15, 2012 - 4:33 am
8 lb, 11 oz
21 1/2 inches

Saturday, December 3, 2011


 He doesn't walk.  Those kids in the distance?  They walk.  One even took his sweet time doing it, but eventually, he became upright.  This one?  He doesn't play by the rules.  Sure, walking is easier.  Yes, it's more efficient.  It's definitely socially acceptable, but who cares about these things anyway?  Certainly not Beckett.

We're sneaking up on 15 months with this little rugrat.  He has succeeded in turning our world upside-down, inside-out and we wouldn't trade it for anything.  But lord knows this kid is contrary.  And daring.  Walking seems out of the question, but climbing, exploring and generally getting into trouble is his middle name.  We thought it was James, but it's not.  It's just not. 

We are getting to experience what having a young toddler (or stubborn crawler over the age of one) is all about.  Ben never trifled where he wasn't supposed to.  He was a quiet observer.  We didn't have to babyproof our house, really.  He knew of a little thing called boundaries and respected them at all times.  Beckett, not so much.  We are not the boss of him.  My new world consists of catching him as he's about to fall down mine shafts and grabbing power tools out of his hands just as he's ready to find the on switch.  He is very curious.  Also, I was kidding about the power tools.  

Coincidentally, we are also not the boss of this guy:
The terrible threes have nothing on the terrible twos.  I read something very accurate about three recently.  Three is two with intent.  Amen.  My sweet, special little blond man has turned into the king of NO.  He doesn't want to do anything we suggest.  Even if he agrees to it, the word that comes out of his mouth is NO.  He alternates this with "bye-bye" to add a touch of adorable to his insubordination.  

Us: "Ben, let's go to bed."

Ben: "NO BED!  Bye-bye, bed!"

Us: ...

Any suggestions?  Yelling at him is ineffective.  Asking him to comply over and over is pointless.  Bribing him does work sometimes, but I don't think this chapter is in any of the parenting books.  We do use brute force.  Going back to the bed example, if he doesn't feel like going, we put him in it ourselves.  Over and over again until he gets tired and falls asleep.  If he doesn't want to take a bath, it'll take two of us, but we make sure he gets clean one way or another.  After a battle, we remind him that we are bigger and smarter and we will always win, and to just throw the white flag now to save us a lot of energy in the future.  Surprising, I know, but he just won't listen.  I'm reading a book right now called 1-2-3-Magic and it will supposedly help with my parent-of-the-year techniques.  Wish me luck!

 But just as they are challenging, they are equally as adorable.  They are two peas in a pod.  Yin and Yang.  Peanut butter and jelly.  My guys look out for each other.  When I put them in time out in the dog cage, they cuddle.  Just kidding.  But they do hang out in the dog cage.  Voluntarily.  This is them shutting the door to keep Mommy (and the dog) out.

 You have to love these two.  Even when they are yelling NO and engaging in risky behavior.  It all comes with the boy territory.  And their age.  This too shall pass, right?  Right?!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

finding pecky

Weight loss.  A sore subject that's been a battle since motherhood.  I used to be a skinny kid.  I was also a skinny teenager. The girl you secretly hated because I ate ice cream for breakfast and still rocked a bikini.  I even maintained it through college, somehow, despite my predominantly fast food diet.  I owe this to scheduling my classes on opposite sides of campus almost every day.

Several years, many cheeseburgers and two kids later and I was not rocking that bikini.  I lost all of my pregnancy weight with both kids, but what was left over was a stretched out empty belly and redistributed fat, in all the wrong places.  I never bothered to lose weight while breastfeeding.  I knew I would just get frustrated.  A lot of people claim that breastfeeding helps them lose weight.  This may be true for me too, if I wasn't so hungry the whole time.  So when Beckett finally weaned himself, I ran out of excuses.

I am finally starting to recognize myself again.  I haven't hit my target weight yet, but am getting closer and closer every week.  The transformation-in-progress hadn't hit me until I saw pictures of me taken earlier this week.  I am 18 pounds down from my pre-pregnancy weight today.  And 50 pounds lighter than I was the day Beckett was born.  I'm happy to see my own face when I look in the mirror now, and not the bloated, overtired and sad version of myself.  Check this out:

 October 2010 (size 14):

October 2011 (size 6):

Friday, October 14, 2011

It is Fall

So I broke another blog-promise.  I think I'm back though, for real.  It's warmer inside and even the kids agree that playing toys indoors beats the cool fall wind in their face and having to wear long sleeves.  They HATE long sleeves.  Both of them.  They both pull on the bottom of the sleeve until their arm is free and get frustrated with the fact that their shirt is only half on, so the whole thing comes off.  I've discovered them shirtless after their "nap" several times this month.  And yeah, "nap" time is quickly becoming a memory... two boys in the same room when they should be resting?  Fail.  I'm listening to them right now.  Constant chatter and the occasional BOOM as a random toy hits the floor or wall.  If crying doesn't follow, I know it wasn't someone's head.
My favorite season is here.  And I haven't taken many pictures.  No good ones anyway.  Our annual trip to the apple orchard has been suspended because the last time we went, we came home with a puppy instead of a bushel of fruit.  Jacob was not pleased.  I keep telling him it is not my fault because I'm genetically predisposed to pick up any stray looking animal I come across.  It's a compulsion - saving one animal at a time.  He's ready to call the show Hoarders.  I am a solid contender. 

The newest Turner:

 Her name is Apple because she was discovered among the apples.  Creative, huh?  These pics were taken a week or two after she found us.  She is much bigger than this now.

Project Manager:

The boys are fantastic.  They had a ridiculously busy summer, traveling to the coast and back twice, up and down the mountain who knows how many times, and a couple trips to Atlanta and back.  Ben had an intense therapy regimen for a couple months, doing speech twice a week and occupational therapy once a week.  He made tremendous progress so we are rewarding him with a little break.  He is speaking in sentences now, and using words to communicate EVERYTHING he wants, needs and notices.  He is also Mr. Independent.  Ben initiates games, wants to get in his car seat by himself, and chooses what he will wear the next day.  He also believes he can be left alone on grocery store aisles, prefers NOT to hold hands when crossing a street and has determined that candy is a suitable breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Yay.  The toddler attitude is officially here.  His newest obsession is automatic doors.  He is amazed at the intuition of these clever doors, knowing the exact moment someone wants to enter a store, and also knowing to close behind them.  I basically have to drag him away from this fabulous invention EVERYWHERE we go.  And then run back and retrieve him when he gravitates back toward them.  I officially hate all Targets, Wal-Marts and every grocery store ever.  My former favorites, because the other thing these places have in common is shopping carts.  The perfect way to tote around two wiggly children.  Unless one of them is the boss of you and can do. it. himself.  Ben is almost three.  He will tell you this, but he will hold up two fingers.  Or four, depending.  He started school in September and doesn't turn around to say goodbye when I drop him off.  He's got a group of friends he sits with at a table in the back and wants to "go to school, have fun" every morning when he wakes up.  I am happy that he is happy.

First day of school:

 Making healthy choices with Jack at Publix:

Doing what he does best: following Jack

I promise he has more than one shirt:

Beckett is officially 12 months old.  Or one year old if you want to be a jerk about it, reminding me that over 365 days have passed since he joined the family.  It's gone by astronomically fast.  I'm pretty sure I was just carrying that little bowling ball around, on my cankles, and pulling up my elastic waist-banded pants every few steps.  Beckett is our comedian.  His favorite activity is smiling and laughing.  Anything that makes him do either or both is good with him.  He likes to make everyone around him smile, likes to flirt, mimic, crawl like an Olympian, and eat like Kobayashi.  He is not Irish, but his eyes smile.  He has disproportionately small, chunky Hobbit feet and wears clothes Ben wore last fall.  At the last weigh-in, he was a solid 24 pounds.  He is very close to walking and can take a few steps unassisted.  His favorite show is called Super Why.  If he hears the theme song play, he will emerge from whatever corner he crawled to and sit like a potted plant for exactly 30 minutes.  That's our biggest-little.  The other 50% of B squared.

The Comedian:

Baby's first spaghetti, an Italian milestone:

One year old and already partying hard:

 Making another mess:

I'm happy it's fall.  I like eating apples and smelling cinnamon.  I love pumpkins.  And corn mazes.  And my favorite part is that I am NOT pregnant for once.  Summer is over, the birthday season is upon us, and soon we'll be doing the holiday thing.  Stores already have Christmas trees set up and ready to go.  But... you'll hear from us before then.  For real this time.