Wednesday, May 11, 2016

the Waiting Place

"...headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting..."

Hurry up and wait...
In a matter of 3 days, upon finding out that the hubs would take a job in Charlotte, life has ramped up to turbo speed!  We have been excited to get closer to family, but it has been crazy.  Wednesday we found out that he got the job.  By Friday, we were meeting with our realtor.  Monday, the stager came to help us by clearing out any and all clutter/personal articles (turns out our home wasn't feeling like home anymore).  A couple of days later, a contractor came and we began painting and reglazing our huge, original windows - one of my most favorite features of our house.  I can go all day and not turn on one light.  Hello natural light!!  Sometimes hubs would come home at night and wonder why we would be hanging out in the now dark house.  He think's I'm a little crazy... which may be true! ;)


I thought when we stripped our walls and surfaces of pictures, that we were not really home anymore. That was about 2 months ago, when we were getting ready to put our house on the market. In my head, I knew we would be moving to Charlotte.... where we had been pondering on living for months, as we awaited hubs' interview, and then another month as we waited to hear. It has been quite the waiting place. 

We are so blessed to have sold in our first weekend on the market.  We literally went away for a weekend, and never had to show our house!  It's been wild!

We have had going away party after party, and with every goodbye, I realize how blessed we have been in Birmingham. The people and memories flood my mind.

I am leaving my friends and all who have loved, encouraged, laughed, and cried with us. And now, with a tailgate table as a dining table, and air matresses and a pack n play set up, walls completely stripped, our house is not our home. I want us to all cuddle in and read bedtime stories in Crosby's bed, but it's not there. I want to have one last meal, simple as it may be, and sit by Crosby on the bench as he wipes food all over me - invading my personal space, feeding Maggie Ruth more than I ever think she'll eat, catching the hubs' eye and knowing we are blessed. There are so many things that I long to do, but I know we'll make new memories.

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!"
-Dr. Seuss Oh the Places You'll Go

As I drove Bubba to his next to last day of school, we talked about how we'll leave on Friday. And how we would be selling our home to another lady and man. And that when we left, we wouldn't be coming back to Birmingham (cue the tears). And we talked about missing friends, but that we would make new ones. He wondered what kind of school he would go to (and I'm secretly thinkimg... "probably none, because they'll all be full. Registration was in January, and we haven't even began to look.)

We stopped at the light right before his school and our beloved church (who is "the people and not the building" -Buddy Gray), and my 3 year old asks this: "Mommy, is Jesus going to be in Charlotte?" I told him, "Yes, Baby. He will be there. And He's with us now. And He'll always be with us. He cares for us and loves us... always. Thank you for reminding me of that. Sometimes Mommy gets busy and forgets."

Funny how when you think you're the one who's teaching your child, roles flip. I remember a quote from a school of education tshirt from college. It said "while we teach children all about life, they teach us what life is all about." 

Amen. And Amen. 

I don't know exactly what's in store for us in Charlotte. And though we'll be in the Carolinas and within 2 1/2 hours of anyone (and no dreaded Atlanta), I somehow think that's not why God has brought us there. 

Our purposes may one day be more clear, but we will try to keep our eyes on Him.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

B'HAMin' it up

Now that we're getting ready to move (read about it here), I swear I get a little more sentimental over Birmingham every day.  We have had so much fun in Birmingham, as a family, and as newlyweds.  Here are our favorite things to do.

Chilton County Peaches @ Pepper Place

Pepper Place:  On a nice weekend in the summer, you have to go to Pepper Place in downtown.  They have all kinds of produce, cheese, meats, lunch, art, soaps, and even balloon booths.  Oh, and always good music!
Pepper Place:  I was 40 weeks pregnant with #2 here!

Downtown Homewood:  Just go.  The cutest little downtown including restaurants, children's stores, boutiques, and a toy store.  And if you're cheapos like us, you can get a cheap date by going to O'Henry's for coffee and then window shopping.  Or go to O'Carr's for lunch and get the chicken salad!

Vulcan:  Synonymous to Birmingham is the Vulcan (probably should have put this one first).  It's made of Iron Ore and is a huge statue overlooking downtown.  You can take awesome pictures from the top (take the stairs if you dare!). And the museum is really good, too!

Oak Mountain State Park:  This place is huge!  Golfing, cycling trails, camping, swimming, fishing, and paddle boating.

Krispy Kreme:  I know it's not local, but I mean, come on... it's Krispy Kreme!  And they make them in store at this location.  We used to get a dozen about every weekend!

5 Points:  Great restaurants like Pancake House on the low side and Ocean on the high side.

Silver Coin Indian Cuisine:  We have loved becoming foodies in B'ham.  And though this isn't the hippest place (it's in a strip mall on Lorna Road), it is some good eats!  Get the Chicken Vindaloo!

Birmingham Barons Baseball:  The Barons moved downtown to a brand new, awesome stadium in the last few years (it was a the MET in Hoover when we first moved here).

Lakeview District:  There are some really hip restaurants here, my favorite being the tapas restaurant called Babalu.

How could I have forgotten these?!

Alabama Theater:  It's a historic theater in downtown.  I've only ever been at Christmas, though they have shows throughout the year.  It became a Birmingham tradition for our family.  Get your tickets early, especially for Christmas Vacation.  This year, Bubba and I went tot he Cartoon Matinee, including the Grinch, Rudolph, and (of course) Charlie Brown Christmas.  Get their early to look around.  It's so beautiful!  At the start, the "Mighty Wurlitzer" organ  comes up out of the floor (Bubba's favorite part) for a singalong and there's just nothing like singing together with tons of strangers, all in the spirit of Christmas.

Old Baker Farm:  It's the best place to pick your pumpkin, and a fall tradition for us.  So much to do for adults and kids!  It's $10 and includes a pumpkin (we normally get a white one and a flat one that looks like a wheel... the less perfect, the better).  There's also a petting zoo, ride-on pedal cars for the kids, a corn maze, and a hayride to and from the patch.  Bring some extra cash for some kettle corn and to have the church group carry your pumpkin back to the parking lot for you!

Not Home Yet

In 2011, we moved to Birmingham, Alabama, where the hubs had landed his first job.  A couple of months before our-fresh-little-newlywed-selves got married, we came over and stayed in sleeping bags on the floor of a friend who was in Optometry school at the time.  We had one day to sign a lease.  We moved our stuff in a few weeks before the Big Day.  I was so very nervous.  We'd be two states away from our family and friends.  And the day we had signed our lease was the second day I had ever been to Birmingham.  But we were in love, and we knew that God had planned our steps.  And besides, we'd probably move back "home" to South Carolina one day...

Fast forward five years later, and I can truly say we have made this place our home.  We've grown roots.  We have friends who we can call on like family.  We have learned to depend on each other.  And, we've burned up that road back home too many times to count.

Life's been an adventure here in Birmingham.  (Read about our fav places here)  When we first trekked across South Carolina & Georgia to Alabama in our two separate cars, a uhaul in tow, I knew nothing.  My first lesson: I couldn't figure out why everybody we passed was an Atlanta Braves fan.  And then I realized the "A" was for Alabama (duh...).  It's pretty funny now to remember how little I knew about a place that has filled us up in our first years as husband and wife.

Not only has Birmingham grown on us.  We've grown on Birmingham and truly made it home.  We bought our first home.  Shortly after, we found out we were pregnant with our first child, a son (now 3).  We brought him home from the hospital on Christmas day.  We've watched him toddle up our hilly back yard.  We've watched him make his first friends and get his first boo boos.  We've picked pumpkins.  And worn our Clemson paws with pride.  We've beached on the gulf, even making family trekk there to be with us.  We learned about what white sauce was, and how no one knew what hash was.  And how the Vulcan can direct you when you get lost in Downtown.  We have gone to block parties & grown full-size gardens.  We have walked at Star Lake, even returning a baby turtle there.  We have eaten at Krispy Kreme and also Shipleys, probably a few too many times.  We have waited to get into the door at the Pancake House in 5 Points on a Saturday.  We have grown our faith at Hunter Street.  We've ridden the Carousel at the Galleria and seen Santa at Brookwood.  We've gone camping, paddle boating, and fishing at Oak Mountain.  We've ridden the train at Tannehill.  We grew our family once more, this time with our daughter (nearly 9 months).  We've watched her giggle at her brother and lose it if she thinks she's missing bath time.  We've seen God mold us.

And now, though it seems too soon, we are moving... not necessarily back home, but back to the Carolinas.  I never did pick a team (instead sticking to my Tigers), but I did see my team play the "Atlanta Braves" in the College Football Championship.  We'll miss so much about the Magic City, but we are excited for new adventures in the Queen's City.  So here's to Birmingham.  And to new #EllisonFamilyAdventures.

Stay tuned!  This beauty is about to be on the market!

Not Allowed to be Sick

So I'm sitting at the Doctor's office for what might as well be my weekly meeting with my sick baby girl.  She had fluid on her ears a couple of weeks before and I wanted to be sure she didn't have an infection, seeing how she was pulling at them a ton.  She was so healthy and well until 6 months... At 6 months, she had a nasty case of tonsillitis; at 7 months, a double ear infection; and at 8 months, roseola and the wonderful fluid on the ears.

But anyway, so I'm sitting there and I'm hoping we won't be there for too long, because although I love our Ped, he is not the timeliest.  As I'm sitting in the waiting room (come on, say we're next!), and another mom walks in.  Waiting rooms are awkward.  Unless you meet eyes with another parent, you just talk to your kid and wait. Said mom is talking to her son saying she had to take off work and that he sure didn't seem sick.  She told him she hoped he wasn't lying.

And for a second, I was thinking "poor kid."  And then, I was thinking, "poor Mom."  I just want to tell her, "I've been there."  She was frustrated with "the system."  I had 3 (three, THREE) all purpose days when I taught preschool.  And in the first few months of school, they were used up because my 18 month old son was sick.  The year before, I think they were used in the first month.  It was SO stressful to take a day.  Not to mention, I had to find a sub.  And my last year, I had a wild bunch, so no one ever wanted to sub for my class.

Times like this one, I am relieved to be at home with my kiddos.  (And not in a "I"m judging working Mama's" way.)

What's a parent to do?  It stinks!  Are children not allowed to be sick?

As a teacher who has seen way too many fevers "spike" exactly 4 hours after getting to school.  And I know that most of the time, that parent gave them Tylenol before pushing them in the door.  Next thing you know, your whole class and you are sick.  So frustrating.  But I know they did it because they couldn't take that day.

I have no answers.  Except that something's got to change.  Kids will be sick.  Parents will be sick.  Let's have time to get well.  

Monday, August 31, 2015

New Perspectives, New Beginnings

As I type this morning, I have my smiling, full-tummied, 8 week old baby girl placed in front of me; my almost finished coffee behind me; and my phone set to Rend Collective on Pandora.  Seems like a pretty good morning so far.

And as I have time to look forward and think back, I realize that the fact that my oldest will be starting school in a few short days, just like he has the last 2 years.  Only this year, he won't be just down the hall from me.  I likely won't have a personal connection with the teacher.  I won't know all of the ins and outs of the school and how the year will go.  If I leave him crying at drop off, or he seems like he's a little off and may be coming down with something, I won't be able to pop my head in when my students go to music to check in.

C last, first day of school last year.

And I have realized what a regular old parent feels at the beginning of school.  There's some anxiety for sure.  I'm sure there's some anxiety for my little 2 1/2 year old buddy too.  I know that we can do it though.  He's a "brave little toaster," as my mom would say.

As kids, we have had new beginnings practically every day.  We haven't always been in the rutt that is everyday life.  Once upon a time, I would get up and stretch and wonder what was going to happen that day.  Of course, I wonder that still today, but I have a pretty good idea of how my day will play out.

How awesome would it be if I could give my day to God?  What faith would that take for me?  He already owns time anyway.  And really, all the plans I make may not happen if they aren't his anyway.

Take our newest little one.  We tried for a few months to conceive.  Every month I would get down and wonder why it wasn't happening.  I realized in the process that it wasn't my choice.  I realized that there were people all around me who struggled for a whole long longer to have a child.  And still they may not have one.  I began to feel guilty, but all the same still selfishly longing for that second child.  Our first was not planned on our timetable, so we didn't know what we were doing.  I was a basket case.  And now looking back, it's just a bump in the road.

We have two beautiful and healthy children.  They brighten my day.  They brighten my life.  They amaze me.  And to think, they are secretly stretching me out of my comfort zone.  When I go to my first "parent's meeting" at his new school.  When I go to play dates with Mothers I don't really know.  When I am holding back tears every time they get shots, telling myself that the temporary hurt they feel is worth it to keep them healthy.

So we got our second child (meet Mags).  And I'm learning to really soak it in this time- the smiles, the stretches, the cuddles, the 3am feeding.  the inconsolable gas pangs.  Because I know all too well how fast a newborn becomes 2 1/2 in the blink of an eye.

Here's to new beginnings.
Here's to new perspectives.
May they stretch me to who you would have me to be.
God, I give this day to you.

Meet Mags - Number 2

Our newest bundle came 9 days late on July 6, 2015, weighing 7 lb 1 oz- a pound and 12 ounces less than her brother who was 1 day late (still blows my mind).  Her name (Margaret Ruth or "Maggie Ruth") is from her grandmother and great grandmother whom she never got to meet.  We pray their legacies live on through her... through us.

She dawned lots of dark hair (unlike brother) and blueberries for eyes (just like brother).  She is already so different from her brother.  She has been vocal from the start.  (Maybe she'll be a loud mouth like her mommy. Bless her!) Forget the 3 hour feeding schedule.  When she's hungry, feed her... now!   Be really quiet if she's asleep in her bassinet when you come to bed.  She wakes easily! (Definitely didn't get that from me!)  She's the best cuddler and she only spits up every once in a while (total opposite of brother).  When she's not asleep, she likes to be way up on your shoulder, where she can see.  She keeps her eyes wide open, observing everything around her.

Maggie Ruth is a blessing.  I pray she grows strong and confident in who God made her to be.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Eating My Words

So I've eaten a lot of words in my 2 1/2 years of Mommyhood.  Before I was a mother, I would look at kids acting out in the grocery store and think "that Mama needs to straighten them out."  Once I became pregnant with my first, (Oh yeah, I'm due with my second in 4 days!!) and I planned and prepared to breastfeed, I got a complex about it.  I couldn't understand why people wouldn't at least try.  I mean, it was free and natural, and better for your baby.  I could go on and on about all the things I thought I knew.  And even just sitting here typing these things, I'm blushing at how judgmental I was.

So here goes... all the words I've eaten already as a Mom... and it's only been 2 1/2 years and through 1 kid!

1.  It's not always the Mama's fault when your kid is acting up in the store.  You can train them and give them choices and schedule your day "correctly", but still sometimes fits happen.  And I have a very calm, rule-following kid. (Although those "terrible 2s have started- just in time for #2!)  Just Saturday, we were looking at the mall for some things for the hubs for fathers day.  I had him go with us so he could try some clothes on and because I had NOTHING for him.  Funny how lax I am now... But anyway, I'm trying to get C to look at the mannequins and count their golf clubs and anything I can think of to keep him interested.  And feeling like I'm doing a pretty good job.  After all, the sales lady basically complimented my parenting by telling me about another kid who acted out earlier and mine wasn't.  Ha!!!  Not 10 minutes later, C decides to lay down on the Belk floor over not being able to go up the escalator.  I did my countdown from 5 and he still lay there.  I told him "Ok, see ya later and pretended to walk away."  By now, the hubs came over and told him firmly "get up!"  Didn't work.  So we grabbed him up and told him he would not go on it unless he stopped that right now.  It worked, but how bout when we got on the escalator, he started another one, because apparently that wasn't what he wanted.  Needless to say, I don't judge you parrents of kids whose kids choose to act out in public.  And I hope you don't judge me either.  Sometimes we all have off days, and as discouraged as I am sometimes, I'm not going to be a hermit.  So I am trying to learn through it.

2.  Breastfeeding is once choice of many.  It's funny how before I had my first child I just new I'd breastfeed for a full 12 months.  I'd be at home with him, so I'd just get him on a schedule and we'd go out when he wouldn't need to eat.  And anyway, I'd make it work because we needed to save the money.  Well... I only made it about 6 months.  And I willed myself to make it that long.  (See my posts through my struggle: What Nobody Tells You About Breastfeeding & Learning to Fall And Get Back UP)  I do not judge in the least when people don't breastfeed, or they don't do it long.  And I don't hate the ones who commit and are successful for a full 12 months.

3.  Vans are made for families.  Never would I have ever thought I'd drive a van.  It was like taboo in my family growing up.  And I just thought they were the ugliest cars you could drive.  There was no way I would every drive one.  Well... it came time that my Jetta that I had driven since I graduated High School just wasn't cutting it.  C's legs would stick through to the console and there was no way in H-E-Double Hockey Sticks that I would be able to fit another car seat in for baby # 2.  We began looking at SUVs.  I really liked the 4Runner and Highlander, but I realized that once that 3rd row was up, there was NO ROOM in the back for traveling.  My husband told me to at least consider vans.  He knew how much hate I had for them, but I told him I'd look.

I loved how the kids in the carpool line at school could just climb right up and the Mama could just press the door button open and closed.  I loved the space they provided.  I loved the fact that I wouldn't have to break my back to get the kids in there.  And that we could all be comfortable.  And I figured those 5+ hour trips back to the Carolinas to see our family wouldn't be near as bad in one of those (cue the shudder & heeby jeebies) vans.  And besides, they were better in gas mileage than something like a Suburban (which we couldn't afford anyway).  Fast forward to about week 30 of pregnancy #2, and we are now *proud* owners of a van.
4.  I'm not going to be the perfect, Pinteresting, blogging, working, chef Mom.  You know, that mom.  The one who has it all together.  Well I tried that.  It didn't work.  I stressed myself out in the first year of my child's life to try to be the best at everything and to do it all.  I wanted to keep up my blog. (Notice I my last post was over a year ago).  I wanted to have a beautiful & organized home, just like on pinterest. (I'm lucky if the dishes are washed and we all have a clean pair of underwear, pants, and shirt to put on many days).  I wanted to have dinner on the table every night, and for them to be yummy and not mediocre. (These days, Costco's freezer section is where it's at!  I promised the hubs I'd cook homemade Chicken Divan tonight, because I know he's tired of it!  Just need him to pick up some broccoli on his way home ;) )  I was going to know exactly what my child should be doing at what month and what teeth should come in. (Oh, that's right because every child who cut his tooth early has obviously grown up to be a successful person!)  

STOP THE MADNESS!!!!! (As Mr. Wonderful says on Shark Tank)

It's all just a bunch of fiddle faddle that the devil lures us into so that we never feel adequate.  I'm not saying I don't fall back into this sometimes here and there, but I am finding out that the days are long, but the years are short. And 5 and 10 years from now, none of that stuff is going to matter.  What will matter is how I spent my time singing the Bible School "Journey Off the Mat" song a million times with my son or got in the wading pool with him in the back yard.  Or how I remembered to make time for the Lord (while Mickey's on in the background).  Or how I rubbed my hubby's neck when his head was pounding. 

*** I will try to update this as I reflect.  I am learning everyday.  And I will never be the perfect mother.  I will never be the perfect wife.  But I can do the best that I can, one day at a time.  And try to focus on what I know will be important to me years down the road. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

lemon pound {birthday} cake

The hubs doesn't really go for regular cake.  He would much rather have a pie or pound cake.  We had all different types of pound cake for each layer of our wedding cake.  And he will still tell you that the only bite of cake he got was when we fed each other cake in that awkward moment while everyone's watching you eat.  Except for the one-year-old partially freezer-burned cake...

But anyway, I searched good ole Pinterest and came up with this one from "Drick's Rambling Cafe":

Hubs said he wanted to have more of a glaze than an icing like in the other one I had pinned.  Growing up, we didn't have huge, bounce house, pony-riding, serve a meal, highly themed parties (I blame pinterest & facebook), but my mama (& dad in his own special way) always made us feel special.  And one of the ways she did this was baking us a homemade cake.

Let me back up.  We started off the rainy day with some waffles made on our iron with blueberries and whipped cream on them (and in my haste/not quite awake stupor, I didn't take any pics).  For lunch, we went to Mr. P's deli.  Hubs' favorite lunch place.  It's one of those places that makes their own sauces, spices, and rubs... and will sell you a whole butchered cow (Kirk wants to do that so bad... and I wouldn't mind, except our fridge/freezer is always packed as it is).  It was delicious, as always!  Then we came home in time to get the cake out of the oven, pour the glaze, and let it cool just a bit... warm-out-of-the-oven-cake is so yummy!  We even went on a wedding date and got our second ever babysitter.  :)

Ok... now back to the cake...

I am pretty slow when it comes to baking home-made cakes (since I only do it a few times a year), but I love to do it... especially for a birthday or other special occasion.  There's just something about using your hands to make something for someone that makes it special... and all the butter, sugar, and crisco doesn't hurt either! ;)  I think I may need to get an actual "zester" next time though, because my zest all seemed to stay on the side of my grater and I couldn't get anymore off without grating my own fingers.  My only negative comment is that the cake (though it was soooooo yummy) was not super lemony.  The glaze definitely was, though.  And I'm pretty sure if I had the right equipment/ knew how to zest, it would be even lemony-er. :)

So, it was a special day for the hubs, and we're still eating on his "lemon pound {birthday} cake".

even healthier {Classic Lasagna}

"even healthier {classic lassagna}"

I made lasagna tonight and used an old trick my Mama used to use.  I added extra veggies.  C loves spaghetti & lasagna, and though it has tomato sauce, I figure "Why not chalk it full of veggies?"  C likes green beans, butter beans, corn (does that count as a vegetable?), and (used to absolutely love) green peas... so, he gets by on a lot of fruit on the nights that we don't have one of the veggies he likes.

My Mama used to add extra veggies to our meals growing up.  The only way we could have Kraft Easy Mac was to have it loaded down in broccoli.  I love veggies today, so I'm hoping this will work for my family, too. :)

I used the recipe that I got from Mom, which I think is from the box (no shame in that).

"Classic Lasagna"
8 oz (1/2 package) lasagna, uncooked
15 oz  Ricotta Cheese or 2 cups cottage cheese
2 cups Mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup Parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 1/2 cups (52 oz) your favorite pasta sauce
1 lb ground beef or italian sausage (browned and drained)
1 tsp parsley flakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In medium bowl, combine Ricotta, 1 C Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, & eggs; mix well.  In separate bowl, add browned meat, pasta sauce (*** and my "veggetize" step); mix well.  Spread 1 cup of meat-sauce mixture into 9x13 pan.  Place 1/3 of uncooked lasagna noodles over sauce.  Spread 1/2 of the cheese mixture over noodles & top with 1/3 meat-sauce mix.  Repeat layering.  Top with remaining noodles and meat-sauce.  Cover with foil.  Bake 55 mins.  Uncover and add reserved 1 C mozzarella and parsley flakes (I did this before I foiled it).  Bake an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.  Let stand 15 mins before cutting & serving.

***I "veggitized" it by sauteing half a bag of matchstick carrots, a package of fresh, sliced mushrooms, and a bag of spinach.  I did this in the same pan I had browned my beef in.  I added some extra seasoning, because we love garlic & onion... and why not oregano?  This worked well also because I only had a 47 oz jar instead of the 52 oz it called for anyway.

before baking

after baking 
(the water on the top I presume was from all of the extra veggies & soaked in when it cooled)


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

{Before} # 2

Our first is 16 months and we'd like to have #2 sometime next year, but instead of focusing on getting pregnant (because I'm afraid I'll worry), I'm making a bucket list (of sorts) of things to do before we (God willing) get pregnant &/or before #2 arrives.

1.  I'm drinking all the caffeine I want.  AM coffee and PM coffee or Chai tea has been part of my routine lately... not that I'm claiming that it's healthy.  But when C goes down for a nap after we get home from school, and I have a bajillion (pretty sure that's a fake number) things to do around the house, it's that little umpf I need to get me going again when I've almost putt-putt-putted out.  With C, I limited myself to one caffeinated drink/food a day, but many days I would have no caff. because it didn't agree with my tummy.

2.  I'm going water skiing.  I haven't been in probably 2 years and I love it!  I also want to go kayaking or rafting... and anything else adventurous that you can't really do preggo.   

probably the last time i felt remotely "cute" preggo
3.  I'm getting drinking alcohol out of my system.  I drink very sporadically and not even much when I do, but I remember wanting a drink last pregnancy/breastfeeding period, just because I couldn't.  And I know.... people will say "you can have a glass of wine," but I'd rather not (except a small amount while breastfeeding maybe.

4.  I'm getting fit/staying fit.  Last pregnancy, I gained 50+ pounds!!!  And I didn't even eat out hardly ever... Obviously I was pretty sedintary besides my full-time work at a preschool and I must have eaten for two (DON'T DO THAT!).  And yes, I've talked to a few chronies who gained like me, but I'm not doing it again!  It doesn't just sluth off when you push that baby off.  It took me a few months of conscious, healthy eating to get it back off.  Plus, let's get past the vanity here and remind myself that it's for the health of the baby and me.

5.  I'm signing up for and hopefully running a whole 5K.  I haven't done one of these since before I was a mother or a wife.  I have the mindset, but am waaaaaaaaaaaay out of shape.  I'm hoping to sign up for one in June.

6.  I'm finally finishing my 1st's (last page) of his First Year book. (Why have I put this off for so long?)
family of 3

7.  I'm savoring being a family of three.  I want to spend as much quality time as I can with "Bubba", whether it be in the back yard, or coloring on a scratch pad.  And I hope to photograph a lot of it.

after some editing, and too many "tests"
8.  I'm brushing up on my photography.  I want to play around with and do some hand-on learning combined with some internet reading.  I have gotten some new accessories and I would love to be able to become a little less "oh, those actually turned out nicely!" and more "I know what I'm doing and how to achieve the look I want in the setting I'm in."

9.  I'm starting & finishing a whole novel.  And though I'm not a "reader," I know the opportunity will be less when #2 comes.

10.  I'm working on my sewing skills.  I want to make it a priority during this summer break to make a few things around the house with my sewing machine (that I've pulled out 3 times to mend/make 3 different things & have never had lessons for).

11.  I'm dating my husband again.  Goal:  Once a month.  And it's funny how times have changed, because pre-parenthood we would "date" multiple times a weekend.  We said "til the day we die" and that was a vow to not only ourselves and each other, but to the "man upstairs".  And one day, we'll be empty-nesters.  And I hope and pray we'll have something in common besides the children we co-parented along the way.

the love of my life in the "rumble seat" with me.
Ready, set, go!  Got to get to checking off my list!