Sample Post — “Functional Geekiness”

Geeks come in all kinds of varieties.  That’s my favorite part of geekdom — how very inclusive it can be, since you can geek out over just about anything.

When I’m looking for geek crafts that are ‘gotta have it’ status, my first qualifier is, “Well, is this geekily functional?”  Oh, and yes, I did just use  the word ‘geek’ as an adverb.  Why not?

Take a look at this adorable baby blanket.  First off — super functional.  Every geek parent will tell you that you will always need a blanket around once you have a kid.  It’s just a thing.  Kids need blankets, lose blankets, spit-up on blankets.

 

So, functional.  Check.

But, it’s also super geeky.  Seriously.  A handmade Spider-Man inspired blanket made in the perfect colors and expertly crocheted to resemble a spider web?  Sold!  You add another layer of awesome to this blanket when you find out it’s machine washable.

Maygin sells this blanket and much, much more epic geekiness over at her Etsy store.  And don’t worry.  I bet she’ll make one in adult sizes if you don’t have a baby geek to spoil.

Kindermusik and Community

Yesterday was Ellie’s first day of Kindermusik, a wonderful weekly class we heard about through Austinmamas and Google. We really want to help Ellie adjust to a more structured, classroom environment, while still ensuring she’s enjoying every darn second of class. When we heard about Kindermusik, it seemed like an obvious choice. Even my Aunt Sue suggested it for Ellie Belly. See, folks who know Ellie understand just how much she loves music. Even the most basic beat tapped on the edge of a table and Ellie is tapping, singing and dancing along.

When we got to class, we were a tad early, so we could chat with the teacher, Ms. Alissa. Of course, the first thing she says is that everyone needs to take off their shoes and put them on the bench by the door. For Ellie, this is awesome, since she isn’t a fan of trapping her feet. For me, it reminded me that I really should’ve gone for that pedicure with my sister while she was here. Live and learn.

Back to the class — Ms. Alissa was very warm and inviting. We weren’t sure what to expect, honestly. Classes like these can seem…well, like lots of things: elitist, sterile, too clinical, clique-ish. Or maybe that’s just our experience with the Austinmamas Yahoo group? But, Ms. Alissa was everything you’d hope for from a modern day Mary Poppins with an awesome academic pedigree… She answered any question we were going to ask (and a few we didn’t even think to ask) right away, while we were still the only parent/baby combo in the dance room/classroom. She also let Ellie play with an entire drawer of scarves, which made for a very happy toddler. Especially when she was asked to help put away said scarves. Ellie loves playing clean up. She thinks of it as a game. We don’t mind this one bit. 

Before we knew it, babies starting arriving attached to very cool mamas. And class started. Kindermusik has numerous classes based on age range. Ellie is in the Village class, which is for newborn to 18 month old babies. The whole point of the class is to bond with your baby while stimulating their physical and cognitive development through music. But, really, it’s much more than that. It’s an amazing avenue to work with your little one on boundaries, social interaction, self soothing and decompression.

Ellie was the oldest little one there, so she did a lot of showing off. And, of course, she amused the adults with her very special brand of Ellie humor.

The best part, for me, was watching her smile and watching her eyes light up whenever we were singing songs and dancing. Many times, she went to the middle of the circle of parents and kids and danced and sang and laughed. She’d run to the other babies, as if she was asking them to join her in the fun she was having.

Another highlight was during the relaxation part of the class where the lights are turned off and we are all quiet while listening to relaxing music. Think of the end of a yoga class. Ellie decided she wanted to explore the room while we were all resting on the floor. And another baby decided to go and explore with her. They talked for most of the relaxation exercise. Ellie kept trying to get that baby to chase after her, but that other baby wasn’t having ANY of it. But…to the highlight. At the end of relaxation time, Ellie ran over to me and snuggled up next to me. She relaxed. It showed how much she is progressing.

We played one game where we all bounce and bounce and dance and…stop! Ellie was the only baby who did not want to sit on a lap for this exercise. She wanted to run. When Ms. Alissa would sing, Ellie would run back over to the circle, stand next to her and dance and sing, too. And when Ms. Alissa said ‘Stop!”, Ellie would stop and look at her with that coy smile that we all know and love. And she did that over and over again. It amazed me that she understood what she was supposed to do without ever experiencing this song or exercise before. It also introduced the room to her cheeky sense of humor, because she found the whole thing hilarious!

Ellie was able to show off her ball rolling and throwing during a jingle ball portion of the class, but really, it showcased her love of sharing. She really enjoys sharing her toys with other people. And we love watching her continue to develop and cultivate that love of sharing.

The last activity involved musical instruments, which had Ellie over the moon. She played with the egg maracas, just like the ones she has at home from Uncle Roon. She played with regular maracas. And tambourines, too. And at the end, she was a great helper when it came to putting the musical instruments away. When the crate of egg maracas was put on top of the drawer of regular maracas and Ellie noticed a regular maraca that was out of place, she lifted the egg maraca crate out of the draw to put the misplaced maracas back where it belonged. That surprised me — she is very particular about her organization!

After that wonderful class, she signed up for Kindermusik right away. Ellie had such a wonderful time and we know it will be a great environment for her to continue to develop and experiment with boundaries and social interactions.

She hugged and kissed everyone there and waved hello and goodbye. And she did so with such an understanding of what she was doing. It was just so lovely to see.

Community is so important. When I had Ellie, I knew that there were people in our lives that wouldn’t be a good influence for her. People that I wanted to limit her interaction with, as best as I could. But, it was hard to cut those people out, for lots of reasons. As those friendships came to an end and a sense of relief washed over my husband, Ryan, and I, we knew it was the right thing to do because we truly believe in the ‘It takes a village’ mentality. That being said, it can work against you, too. It’s important to understand that everyone who is interacting with your kid(s) will have an impact, in some way. And it’s your job, as a parent, to make sure the right people are interacting with your child, especially during these formative years. When we joined Austinmamas and started going to playdates, we quickly learned that most of the parents we interacted with were not the kind of people we wanted around Ellie.  (This is likely influenced by the fact that the playdates seemed more about the mom and less about the baby, along with the fact that most of their events are not dad friendly.) Not to say we’re sheltering her, but why purposely have her interact with people that we feel do not add to her development? After one 45 minute class at Kindermusik, we knew we found a group of parents who have similar mentalities to us.  And they welcomed Ryan with open arms, which is very important to us, since he is so actively involved in Ellie’s life. We experienced a sense of community that we couldn’t deny Ellie.

We hope our next class is even better than the first!

Aunt Sarah and Uncle Matt Visit Ellie

Recently, my siblings visited us.  Ellie was excited to spend more time with family since that doubled the amount of attention she could capitalize on.  :D

My siblings arrived late Thursday night after a flight that didn’t seem to want to arrive in Austin.  (Seriously, Ryan and I kept watching the flight arrival time as it updated later and later and later and…)  We stopped and picked up some Mexican take out and headed home for a quick dinner and bed.  Ellie was beyond sleepy and my siblings weren’t much better off.

Friday was a work day for me, so my siblings helped us tremendously throughout the day.  Sarah helped me for a few hours and Matt entertained his niece, including chauffeuring her around in one of her favorite toys.  By now, Ellie has a very skewed perspective as to what ‘driving’ is all about.  She hops in her car and yells at us to push her around.  It’s seriously…Driving Miss Ellie.  We can’t wait until her little legs are long enough to Flintstone herself around.

 

NOTE TO SELF: Ellie and Uncle Matt have questionable fashion sense.  :D  While Matt was playing with Ellie, she decided to put on a second onesie and a flower lei.  Also, she had a crazy mohawk caused by taking a nap when her hair was still a little wet.  All in all, she was a hot mess!

 

Saturday and Sunday were spent at Sherwood Forest Faire.  This was more for my sister than my poor brother who seemed to be in culture shock heaven (or hell).   Sarah dressed up in some of my casual ren garb and helped us sell at the shoppe.  Matt spent most of his time with Miss Ellie, the Ren Faerie.  She really enjoyed running around the faire.  She also seemed to deal with the terrain better than most of the adults I watched tripping and stumbling over the large pieces of tree that the faire decided would be a good mulch-substitute.  Oh, our poor ankles.

On Sunday morning, we went to Ellie’s Easter photo shoot at a farm in the Middle of Nowhere, TX.  Seriously, by the time we got there, I felt like we were in another state.  But, as usual, Abby Glenn is a genius when it comes to picking locations.  Ellie had a complete and utter blast.  She got to play with chicks (and try to eat one — the owner of the farm said, “We’ve got a squeezer!”), a rabbit and ducks.  She was not a fan of the ducks.  At all.  Abby told us Ellie was the best baby of the entire shoot.  She loves having her photo taken!

Monday was an ‘All About Uncle Matt’ day. He wanted to go shooting and he wanted to eat BBQ.  Those were pretty simple things to accomplish.  We went to the shooting range and Ryan, Matt and Sarah all rented guns.  Sarah got a basic 9MM.  Matt rented a Ruger that looked like it was straight out of a WWII movie.  And Ryan?  He rented an AK-47.  When Ryan was done with his AK, he decided to shoot his own gun, as well.  Ellie and I waited and took pictures of the three of them shooting next to one another in the pistol lane section when all of a sudden…the lights went out and turned back on.  It seemed like a drill almost.  Everyone in the gun range got very quiet and very still.  The staff seemed very cautious, but not panicked.  And then the lights went out…and never came back on.  The staff went into lock down mode and had all the shooters unload their weapons and place them on the shelf of their lane.  All the shooters were escorted out of the range.  Thankfully, all the staff had flashlights at the ready.  I guess this is something they prepared for, even though it’s never happened before.  They didn’t charge us rental fees, which is nice of them.  And they couldn’t charge us, either, since they couldn’t use a credit card machine of any sort.

When we left the range, we noticed the wind was a bit unruly.  As we were driving to the Salt Lick, we saw telephone poles that were knocked over, many accidents and trees that had fallen over, as well.  When we checked the weather report, it showed that winds were about 35mph sustained with 50mph gusts.

 

When we arrived at the Salt Lick, we could barely get out of the car.  Sarah looked like the wind was going to knock her over.  But, I still got a gorg shot of her pretty face.  :D

 

 

Of course, Ellie loves this.  She loves wind.  Seriously.  When she feels wind on her face, she giggles and dances and makes this smile that looks like pure joy!

When we finally made our way into Salt Lick, the smell of their delicious BBQ had all of us anxious to sit down and get our family style ON.  Their pit was smoking and full of delicious meats!

We all ordered the family style and enjoyed brisket, sausage and ribs.  Ellie even had a little brisket, although she’s not a huge fan of red meat.  She mainly eats poultry.  (Recently, we tried the turkey at Salt Lick Round Rock and she loved it.  Note to self…)  Matt and Sarah loved the real BBQ.  We all ate our weight in meat, lol.

After dinner, we went back home to enjoy our meat coma.  Matt watched The Walking Dead and the Talking Dead with Ryan and Ellie while Tigger, Sarah and I picked out around 147 photos for Grandma Paula, since she requested hard copies of Ellie photos for Ellie’s photo album.  Sarah and I went through at least 5000 photos. There are thousands and thousands more.  I hope Grandma Paula’s photo album is big enough!  :D

Tuesday brought us back to the shooting range, since Matt wanted to shoot an AK-47.  Before that, though, we had Ellie’s 15 month check-up, which I posted about last week.  With Ellie finally above the height and weight requirements for her big girl car seat, we made the transition.  Our toddler is growing up!

Once at the shooting range, Matt rented the AK-47 and I went in as an observer, so I could take photos.  Not sure why I didn’t think to bring my low light lens, since we can’t use flash for obvious reasons.  But, I did catch one good shot, albeit on the wrong side of the gun, since there were people in the lane on the right of Uncle Matt.

The guys at the range were laughing about the previous day and the no lights shenanigans.  They were extra nice to us and even gave Ellie a truck to play with.  Matt also shot Ryan’s Ruger 9MM.

That evening, we tried a Korean/Sushi house that Ryan and I love.  We converted my brother to a sushi lover!  And he really liked the Korean food he tried, as well.  And then…Krispy Kreme.  So, I’m not too familiar with Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  Never really tried many.  I’ve had a couple prior to my siblings being here.  But, apparently some comic they both like has some stand-up about this doughnut shop, so we had to stop in and get a few.  Ryan knows more about Krispy Kreme, so he brought us there when the Hot and Fresh sign was lit up.  They greeted us at the counter with fresh samples of their glazed doughnut…right off the line.  My siblings went a bit nuts.  They fell in love with Krispy Kreme right then and there.  We bought a dozen and took many photos.  My brother didn’t want anyone else to even HOLD the box of doughnuts.  It was all very hilarious.

Wednesday was their last full day in Texas.  So, we headed to Juan in a Million.  My sister and brother watch a lot of Man vs. Food (and similar shows), so we wanted to introduce them to the Don Juan.  As well as Juan’s handshake, since it is the best in Austin!  They loved the famous taco — and determined that none of them could come close to beating the record for how many you can eat in one sitting.  (5 for the ladies, 9 for the men.)

We went to the outlet mall to find some adorable things for Ellie and then off to bowling with Poppy and Aunt Sue.  Ellie is a natural!  Her first frame was a strike!

We all had a great time bowling, which we haven’t done much in our old age.  Ellie preferred to chase the ball, rather than let it go down the lane, which led to some hilarity.

After bowing, we enjoyed dinner at Golden Wok, one of Nanny’s favorite restaurants and then went home.  Sarah and I made a few late night crafts for her girlfriend and then we all went to bed.  It was a long day — and they had an early flight to catch.

All in all, it was a great visit.  It reminded me of what I missed by not living in the same home (or state) as my siblings.  We lived together on and off until I was around 13 or 14.  And then I moved in with my then-boyfriend and they moved in with Grandma Paula.  We can’t really make up for lost time, because time doesn’t work that way, but we can make up for missed memories.  I appreciate all the time they spent with Ellie.  And I promise to never make them both visit at the same time again.  Sibling rivalry never ends!  :D

See you in June!

Things I’d Only Say To My Toddler

Ellie! Stop trying to suffocate Tigger!

 

You know you’re raising a toddler when you start yelling out sentences like that.  Ellie (my toddler) was trying to suffocate our cat, Tigger.  Now, does she comprehend that her actions might hurt Tigger?  No.  Does she think it’s funny to try and cover him in blankets or sheets?  Yes. She also thinks it’s funny when Tigger is in boxes.  And it’s even funnier when she tries to close the box with him still in it.

Maybe it’s her own version of non-compliant hide and go seek?

I think I should definitely make a regular blow post of “Things I’d Only Say To My Toddler”.  Just yesterday, we had to yell out, “Ellie, please stop trying to kiss all of the strangers!”  The strangers all found that one very amusing.

What is the funniest thing your toddler has caused you to yell out?  :D

A big, small girl.

Yesterday, my Ellie Belly turned 15 months.  We took her aunt and uncle shooting at Red’s and bbqing at Salt Lick.  Not so surprisingly, Ellie had fun with all the above activities.  It was adorable, actually.  She wanted to run around the store section of the shooting range.  When I wouldn’t let her do that, she started yelling.  An older gentleman came up to her and looked at her, smiling, and said, “You’re louder than the AK-47!”  And she was.  :D

Today was Ellie’s 15 month check up.  She is 31.25″ and 21.25 lb.  76th and 24th percentile respectively.  She is riding around in her big girl car seat now.  It’s an adorable cow print Britax that we found at BabyEarth before she was born and just had to have!

It was a weird feeling to see her sitting in her big girl car seat.  She seemed more comfortable, for sure.  But, she also seemed a little unsure of her surroundings.  She was scratching and pinching the new fabric.

The doc visit went well.  Ellie is stringing words, so Dr. Spencer said that is pretty advanced for her age.  Even if she only does it when she wants and not on command.  Dr. Spencer said Ellie seems very strong-willed and independent, so it’s not surprising that she’s only going to do things on her time table.  Ellie is still very physically advanced and her ability to comprehend what you’re requesting of her is well beyond her age.  Not surprising, although I was concerned that she doesn’t just parrot away with her words, like some kids her age.  Since she says a word for a while and moves on to a new word after, Dr. Spencer said there is no cause for concern.

She has an umbilical hernia. Apparently, 10% or so of babies get them. It should go away the time she’s 2 or 3.  Dr. Spencer says if it’s still there at 3, she’ll want use to consult with a surgeon, but she hopes it goes away on its own.  As do we.

And when she got her two shots, she didn’t even utter a peep.  She is such a tough cookie.

All in all, a great visit and a great transition for our little toddler.

Packing Up Memories

Ryan is straightening up the upstairs since my sister and brother are visiting for a week. When I went up there to visit with Ryan and Ellie, I saw two big bags full of Ellie clothing. She has officially outgrown enough clothing to warrant packing them up and putting them in storage. This was a bittersweet moment for me. All those adorable little Ellie clothes that I won’t get to see anymore. It’s a strange feeling.

She’s still in her 9-12 month clothing, but she is getting closer and closer to the 12 month-only end of the size spectrum. And as she gets bigger and bigger, so many amazing changes come with her change in size. But, there is something so sweet and special about those newborn items that she barely fit into when we took her home from the hospital.

We framed her first ever outfit from Dell Children’s Hospital in a shadow box. We still need to add a few finishing touches, but then it is ready to hang on her bedroom wall. I can’t wait for Ellie to be old enough to understand how tiny she used to be.

I guess that is always a parental dilemma. You want them to grow up so you can share new and exciting things with them. But, you want them to stay small, so you can forever enjoy their newborn innocence. And smell.

Ellie visits 1192

Last weekend, Ellie attended her second annual Sherwood Forest Faire.  We brought her last year, when she was a wee little one, but she didn’t really get to enjoy it very much.  She spent most of her time breastfeeding.  And she couldn’t walk.  Add a super stressed mama with a tumultuous friendship nearing its final stop and, well, I don’t think any of the Nelson-Campbell’s had a good time.

To be honest, I was starting to tire of Sherwood.  After last year, I really thought 2013 would be my last year running a booth at the festival.  When I started the booth at Sherwood, it was because I wanted a short-term storefront where our fans and friends could stop by, have a place to hang out and we could earn money for charity.  A win-win-win.  As personality conflicts grew and my personal life became much more busy, the idea of filling up two months worth of weekends was looking more and more grim.  Some ingredients are combustible — and no matter what you do to try to stabilize them, they will always be combustible. Believe me, managing a store was never on my ‘to do’ list of life accomplishments.  And after 2012, I really thought I was going to throw in the towel.

What a difference a year makes!

The booth has an entirely new energy.  It’s positive, collaborative, inviting.  It renewed my love of the faire, for sure!  And Ellie seems to love it out there.  We bought her a new pair of faire shoes from Medieval Moccasins — and let her run around the booth and in front of the booth.  She spent a bunch of time next door, as well, with some of her favorite ladies.  She danced and yelled. And gave kisses and hugs.  And, in general, enjoyed being outside.   We put a chair in back so I have a quiet, calm place to breastfeed her, when she asks for food.  Ryan took her home for the afternoon each day.  Not because she couldn’t handle it, but because he had errands and chores he wanted to tackle (and, honestly, I don’t think Sherwood will ever be his cup of tea).

We put together a little faerie outfit for Ellie for next weekend.  And her aunt and uncle will be in tow, so I’m sure she’ll have even more fun!

All in all, Ellie has enjoyed her time at Sherwood.  We’ll get some pictures this weekend.  I hope I find time to take her to a few of the kid-friendly areas or the faerie tea party even.  We shall see.  :)

 

 

Everyone is an expert!

Ellie has been sleeping through the night since we brought her home from the hospital. The doctors, the nurses, numerous people told us to wake her up every two hours to feed her.  But, my Nanny’s advice always repeated in my ear:

Never wake a sleeping baby.

We acclimated Ellie to sleeping through the night, by not making her accustomed to waking up numerous times. When people would ask how she was sleeping and I’d tell them she slept through the night, they would assume she was formula fed.

“Nope,” I’d say.  ”She’s exclusively breastfed.”

Other mama-folk would instantly give me their ‘facts’:

 

  • If your baby isn’t woken up every 2 hours, she isn’t eating enough and she will starve.
  • If your baby isn’t woken up every 2 hours, she won’t learn to breast feed properly.
  • If your baby isn’t woken up every 2 years, she won’t bond properly with you.
  • If your baby isn’t woken up every 2 hours, she will dehydrate and die.

I experienced this sort of unsolicited advice with numerous things, not just breastfeeding.  Having Ellie introduced me to this culture of women who believe that having a child instantly made them an expert about everything parenthood.  Don’t get me wrong — I believe that experience is extremely important.  But, it was a broken record of judgment and being told I wasn’t doing the ‘right’ thing.  I was constantly being told that if I do [blank] then [blank] WILL happen.  So rarely was it suggested that something might happen or could happen.  No, these women always believed it would happen.  And if I disagreed with their assessment, then I was making ‘questionable’ parenting choices.

Ellie was still sleeping through the night at 6 months.  I was told that she wouldn’t last with that sleeping pattern beyond one year.

Ellie was still sleeping through the night at one year.  And again they repeated their judgment and nay-saying.

Ellie is still sleeping through the night at almost 15 months old.  And perhaps she’ll have trouble sleeping at 2 years.  Maybe she’ll always be a good sleeper.  But, why turn everything negative?  If she’s a good sleeper, why can’t she just be a baby who enjoys having a restful night?  Why does something have to be wrong if she’s sleeping well?  If I told people she was waking up every 2-3 hours, they wouldn’t respond with negativity or automatically assume the worst.  Instead, I’d get lots of messages telling me how this is ‘normal’ and totally common for a baby.

I remind myself how marginalized being treated this way made me feel every time I see a parent who makes a different choices than I would make.   I also remember how annoying unsolicited advice (that’s really just judgment) made me feel. What is fact for my baby isn’t necessarily fact for your baby.  And vice versa.  

The only baby(ies) we are an expert about?  Our own.  Let’s try to remember that.

* Obviously, medical conditions and the like change things entirely.  Jaundiced babies or premature babies, etc., fall under different parameters.  

A Geek Love Letter

I don’t think many people who knew both Ryan and I thought we’d end up together. I have a larger-than-life personality and I’m often the center of attention. Ryan is more stoic and reserved. When we met, I was in a relationship that was on life support, mainly because both parties were comfortable and overwhelmed with the idea of having to separate our lives after years of them being intertwined.

Apparently, everyone and their mother knew Ryan had a crush on me. Except me. Yes, I can be pretty ignorant when it comes to relationship stuff.

We officially met at a Browncoat event where we were creating post cards to send to Universal requesting a second Serenity film. Ryan says he saw a photo of me online and that’s the primary reason he decided to attend the event. He later told me I was even prettier in person. (An aside, the photo that intrigued him was my Bellatrix costume headshot. We’re such geeks!) If my looks didn’t seal the deal on him wanting to date me, my hilarity did! My postcards were ridiculous funny. They were messages from Satan demanding a second film. How do you say no to that? Ryan kept pretty quiet and in the background. Honestly, I didn’t notice him entirely until I went to say goodbye to him and I think I freaked him out with an attempted hug. I hug people. Heck, I was punished in pre-K for hugging people. When Ryan left on his motorcycle, he became Motorcycle Ryan (occasionally known as Tall Ryan)…but I didn’t really think much else about him after that.

We saw each other again at Blazer Tag where I kicked everyone’s ass. During the last game, they switched the teams up without telling us…and Ryan was suddenly on my team. He started doing some weird Spider-Man moves, which weren’t very efficient. He wouldn’t leave my side, either. He protected me, even though I didn’t need protecting. At the time, I thought he was just a weirdo. Apparently, he was courting me.

A couple days later, we both attended Brenda’s Holiday Party. It was a naughty or nice themed shindig, so, of course, I dressed as a naughty Gryffindor student. If I’m being honest, I think part of me, deep down inside, had a crush on Ryan…so I dressed the part. What really won me over, though, was a long conversation we had about Metal Gear Solid being one of the best games ever made. It was one of our first very spirited discussions and debates. I left knowing I wanted to get to know Ryan more and Ryan left knowing he had to find a way to date me.

It’s strange to think of these first few months together and realize than they laid the foundation for what has turned into a loving, beautiful and committed relationship and the birth of the most amazing little girl I’ve ever known. Back then, I surrounded myself with some very toxic people. I was also in a dead-end relationship with someone who I adored, but more as a friend than anything else. And really, these were relationships I allowed to be a part of my life because I didn’t love myself very much. And having these people around who adored me made me feel better. When I found Ryan, most of these people left my life because they were upset or jealous that I chose Ryan instead of them. I don’t blame them, really. I was never going to be the person they wanted. And I think, at times, I led them to believe I could be because I was afraid of being alone.

Choosing Ryan was out of character for me, back then. Not because of him, but because of me. Choosing the person who offered me unconditional love and stability. Choosing the person who wanted to be with me for healthy, reasonable reasons. Choosing the person who didn’t want to use me or try to get me to fix them. I tried to run away from Ryan many times. So many times that I’m surprised he stuck it out, really.

In the end, I actually asked Ryan out. I figured, what the hell? Why not believe that I deserve a healthy relationship with someone I adore who adores me right back?  And that choice — that leap of faith — has turned into a life I didn’t even know I could dream about.  Now, Ryan and I have our flaws.  We’re both extremely stubborn and passionate.  We stand by our convictions and neither of us will back down when we feel we’re being cornered.  But, all of those things mean that we are fiercely devoted to one another, as well. And we will do everything in our power to make sure that Ellie is the happiest, healthiest baby in the world.

Ryan, you are an amazing father and husband.  I love you more than I ever thought I could love another person.  Thank you so much for believing in me and us.  Thank you for convincing me that I would make an amazing mother when I thought I didn’t have it in me.  Thank you for your sperm assisting in dictating the biological sex of Ellie — I thought I wanted a boy, but she is perfect beyond words.  Thank you for bringing Baby Kitty into my life and for saving Tigger.  Thank you for loving my family and for caring so much about my Nanny.  She made me promise that we’d always be good to each other.  She truly believed that you were the best person I could ever be with — and I agree.  Heck, she said if I left you, she’d adopt you.  Thank you for being such a good role model for my siblings.  And thank you for loving me.  We both abhor Valentine’s Day, since it is a fabricated holiday based on consumerism and gluttony — but I think it doesn’t hurt to have a day where we are all reminded just how lucky we are to have people who love us.  Days turn into weeks turn into months and before you know it, a year has passed by.  My Nanny told me that ‘I love you’ are the easiest words to say, but the hardest words to mean.  I promise to tell you I love you every day — but best of all, I promise to truly mean it.  

Thank you for helping me understand what it means to be unconditionally loved by someone who chooses to love me.

 

My love,

Beth

 

Did I make my baby an addict?

I rarely eat Cheez-It crackers now.  There are many reasons behind that, including:

  • they make me sick
  • they aren’t exactly healthy
  • they aren’t a practical food source
  • and I overdosed on them during my pregnancy.

When I was pregnant with Ellie, I had morning sick every day, all day.  I could barely keep anything down.  My only saving grace, for a period of my pregnancy, was Cheez-It crackers.

 

Fast forward to 14 months after giving birth to my bundle of joy and energy and we’re at the Disney resort and she sees a bag of Cheez-It crackers for the very first time in her life.  Now, she’s never had these crackers before, since we don’t really feed her many crackers.  She hasn’t watched Mama or Papa eat them, so she doesn’t have a memory of them being our food and, therefore, delicious food.  Nope, she doesn’t have any reason to want them. Heck, she doesn’t have any reason to know they’re food, since this is a small, red bag and I was moving it from box to purse at a decent speed.

Ryan’s mom brought some snacks for our weekend at the parks.  When we pulled out some little bags of Cheez-It crackers, Ellie went nuts.  She screamed and asked for food.  Over and over again.  She rarely responds like this to any food item, let alone something she doesn’t know about or shouldn’t have a desire for, at least.

Ryan joked that maybe she remembers the crackers from when I was pregnant with her.  And we all laughed.  But, then it hit me.  How often do we hear stories like this?

When I was pregnant with [insert kid's name here], all they wanted was [insert random food here].  Now that they’re all grown up, they are still always asking for [insert same random food here].

We hear stories like this repeated and we think it’s just an old wives’ tale but how many times does it need to happen for it to be true?

Ellie loves Cheez-It crackers. Since they aren’t very good for her, she will rarely eat them, but when she gets one or two, she devours them!

I was also addicted to watermelon and chicken. Wait, she’s addicted to chicken, too. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. That is, until we introduce her to watermelon.

Experiment starts…now!  I need a watermelon!  :D