Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Before I was a mom

This was posted by a friend of mine on myspace:


I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom -

I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.

I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.
Before I was a Mom
I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.

I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put him down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn'tstop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom -
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom -
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes tomake sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache,the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My one year old nephew

One year ago, on October 27th 2006, Stephen and I were interrupted in the middle of a movie with the news - Tobin Grey Woodard had arrived. It was late at night, but we were one of the very few people that were able to visit our new nephew that evening. I looked at Jenny - tired, but accomplished. With an amazing feat, she became a mom. What she had just succeeded in doing blew my mind.

And that was one year ago. He is now walking, talking - it seems impossible that this one year old boy is the same tiny baby boy that I held in my arms and first introduced myself as Auntie Brie (and Phil introduced Uncle Steve as "your future math tutor"). He is an amazing little man - not surprising considering that he has amazing parents.

His birthday party was a ton of fun. Jenny had the best idea - she bought a bunch of blank canvases, paint, and brushes, and invited guests to paint away. Later she will frame them and hang them in Toby's room as a reminder of his first birthday and all those that love him. We even let the kids at it. It was smart that we had them take turns - I could only imagine that they would be much more interested in painting each other than the canvas. Catherine took a little while to get into it - but when she did, wow did she! She was having so much fun, and was doing more like body-painting than simply finger painting. Phil observed that the kids did better paintings than anyone. ;)

On the same day I got to spend some time with my mom on the day that was important for another reason. She has been going through a really tough time, I love that I was able to be there for her. We have a wonderful mother-daughter relationship, and the times that I can be a friend for her instead of "just" a daughter are precious to me. I hope that she got some peace and happiness out of the day.

Pictures to come soon!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My little pumpkin

Catherine and I took advantage of the b-e-a-utiful weather here yesterday and went to a pumpkin patch to pick out her very first pumpkin. It was perfectly clear, sunny, and 70 degrees - in October? I couldn't pass that up.

We didn't spend a lot of time there, but she had a lot of fun exploring the pumpkins and playing in the grass and the mud. The owner let me have some fun and I put Catherine on the scale that they use to weigh the pumpkins - my little pumpkin is 24.9 lbs! Wowza!

The biggest bonus for me was getting some adorable pictures.

change in title

I changed the title for the blog. I'm not good at coming up with something creative, and I felt like that title was pretty lame. So this title is better for me - it's simple. It's what I'm about - my family. So sue me if it's not creative. I'm not sure I care.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Busy (ˈbi-zē)

We had a busy weekend - busy enough that I feel as if I'm still recovering.
Portrait (ˈpȯr-trət)
Saturday morning we got together with Jen, Phil and Toby and went to Sears to get family portraits taken. Wow, was that crazy! We got pictures of each baby separately and together, then families separate and together. They turned out so great. We had some problems getting Catherine to smile - she looks kind of bewildered in her pictures. But then it fits her personality - she was stubborn enough not to smile until she wanted to, not when everyone wanted her to.

Getting pictures of the kids together was funny because they always want to play with each other anytime you sit them together - so getting them to focus on the same thing and smile at the same time was challenging. So we had fun tossing a stuffed frog back and forth to get them to laugh; then what really worked was the bubbles. And it turned out great in the pictures!

A couple of my other favorites:

It took 3 1/2 hours to get the pictures done and get our order in. Poor Catherine! She was so exhausted and fell right asleep. For the whole hour that we had until we had to leave again. Ugh!
Bachtoberfest (bäk-ˈtō-bər-ˌfest)
Def: a gathering, event, or show having the specified focus of German food, good spirits (both personal and alcoholic), good entertainment, and fund raising for the Seattle Bach Choir.

The evening was great. We got to sing a few of our new pieces for all those that came to support us, the food was awesome, and everyone had a wonderful time. Catherine, after taking another short nap before the festivities really got going, was a complete angel the whole night. We got to spend time with almost all of her grandparents: both of Stephen's parents and my dad were there. And the best - all 3 of her gRodparents were there (gRodparent [ˈgräd-ˌper-ənt ]: a grand-godparent). I am kicking myself for not taking more pictures of her with her gRodparents.

There was a silent auction and a live auction with so many wonderful things up for grabs. The best thing was a collection of wine with one bottle donated by each of the choir members; 28 bottles in total. Guess who had the winning bid? Yup - we're the proud owners of a very nice, diverse wine collection. I still can't believe we did that. My favorite bottle is an uber-magnum bottle - see the picture. Seriously - she's not that small, the bottle is just that big!

And on the 7th day they rested - we were all so exhausted. Stephen let me have some time to myself and I used the time to have a leisurely afternoon at a coffee shop reading my Sunday paper and then shopping. My dad was so exhausted that he actually gave up his ticket to the Seahawks game that day - crazy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I wonder what that tastes like...

The things that my daughter has put in her mouth so far this morning:

- her binky
- her bottle, of course
- her left foot
- Elly (her cuddly purple elephant)
- the plastic cover for wipes (empty - this time)
- sippy cup - she's generally more interested in chewing on the spout than drinking from it
- her spoon, after *insisting* that she feed herself
- her hands, after I took away the spoon and she realized that she still had food on her hands
- the cat's tail
- diaper (thank goodness it was the CLEAN one)
- her right foot
- one of the rails for her changing table
- some clean socks, as she was "helping" me fold laundry
- some of yesterday's mail
- my nose
- numerous toys... I can't keep track of which ones, she always has a different one in her mouth when I turn around

And it's only 11:30am.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Older blog from myspace: from 8-14-07

Finding peace

A year has gone to by too fast.
We lost a wonderful spirit - a wonderful light in the world.
A mother, a wife, a friend, an amazing woman.
She wasn't my mother, she was my friend.
But she treated me like family.
She was my friend's mother - and in many ways was like a mother to me.
She would have been - she is - part of my daughter's godfamily.
I wish I would have known her better. Hindsight is an awful thing.
We lost a wonderful spirit - but her light still shines in each of us.
And with that her immortal spirit will be alive forever.
(lyrics from 'Tough' by Craig Morgan)
We sat there five years ago
The doctors let us know, the test showed
She'd have to fight to live, I broke down and cried
She held me and said it's gonna be alright
She wore that wig to church
Pink ribbon pinned there on her shirt
No room for fear, full of faith
Hands held high singing Amazing Grace
Never once complained, refusing to give up
And I thought I was tough
She's strong, pushes on, can't slow her down
She can take anything life dishes out
There was a time
Back before she was mine
When I thought I was tough

In memory of Karin Mesmer
October 7, 1948 - August 14, 2006

I love you, Camille - I know that there are very few people that miss her as much as you do.
My thoughts and love are with you every day, but especially on this day.

Older blog from myspace: from 7-5-07

More catchup from my myspace blog:

It has been 5 months (and a few days, really). 5 months since I waited to see her -- since that moment when I didn't know she had already been taken from me because I didn't hear her crying -- turns out she came into the world quiet, looking around and taking everything in.

And wouldn't you know it, that was a pretty good indication of her personality. She still has those moments - quiet, looking around and taking everything in. You can almost see all the tiny gears in her developing mind working hard. Those big beautiful blue eyes look at you with thoughtfulness and curiousity .

My favorite moments: When she is lying in her crib and starting to fuss (or all-out crying, that happens too), and I peak my head over the railing of the crib and she sees my face - then she stops crying or fussing, and flashes her big smile at me. That melts my heart. She knows me, she's happy to see me, and she knows that because I'm there everything is alright. What more can you ask for?

Because it's not just her that has grown and developed - so have I. I'm a mom now. Sure, from the moment she was born I officially became a mother. But now I'm a mom. Just call me mommy - that's me! I feel redefined as a woman - redefined as a new me. I have encountered many new things about myself - didn't know I could do so many things at once for instance (I can do loads of laundry, make a bottle, make my coffee, entertain her, feed the cats, and study - all at once - wait... did I get to drink that coffee?). Didn't know I could still pull all-nighters (not quite the same when it doesn't involve partying and/or studying, though). I didn't know that I could possibly love my husband any more than I already did, but after seeing him take care of her, I love him a million times more (heads up guys - being a good daddy is a VERY sexy quality in a man). And I didn't know that my heart could possibly contain the amount of love that I have for our baby.

In the past 5 months, she has babbled her way in and out of conversations (her favorite sound: raspberries). She has smiled and laughed a thousand times. She has proved to be a thoughtful, smart, and independent little girl. She hasn't rolled over yet - but has started sitting on her own. She is sleeping pretty well - most nights she will even sleep through the night. She has even started eating some "solid" foods (sweet potatoes - yum!). And in the last 5 months this little girl has us wrapped around her tiny baby finger incredibly tight.

Oh who am I kidding -- that didn't take 5 months, that took 5 seconds. How much do we love our little baby girl... let me count the ways... =)

Older blog from myspace: from 2-27-07

I thought I'd play a bit of catchup for those who haven't read my myspace blog:

reflections on being a mother

Becoming a parent is perhaps the most life-changing event anyone can go through. I know it sounds cliche - we've all heard that a million times, right? But there is no way to comprehend the true meaning of everything that you have heard until you are there in the delivery room, looking at the face of your child for the first time. And then the first sleepless night. And the first time that your baby successfully takes food from you. And the first panicky call to the doctor. And the first car trip, adjusting the straps on the car seat a dozen times to ensure the safety of this tiny person that is now the center of your life.

Hmm... have you gotten the hint that there's a potential for a very, very long blog here? You may be right... I don't blog very often and this is the biggest change in my entire life - of course I could go on forever. And I will. So indulge me please as I attempt (and no doubt will fail) to put words to this incredible landmark in my life.

It's been almost 4 weeks - just amazing, really. In one way it seems like it has only been days because it has flown by. Stephen pointed out that it also feels like years - not because time has dragged on, but because this new life seems so natural to us that it feels as if we've been doing it for years.

Though he must feel more natural at it than I feel. I admit that I have struggled a lot. I'm showing signs of being an overprotective mother. Normal I think - I'm new at this, and she is still so little and defenseless. I suddenly identify with any mother bear protecting her cubs.

But the struggles - emotionally, physically. I expected the emotional problems. And physically - two words: sleep deprivation. And there are moments when I long for the time that I could go out on a whim - for anything, because even boring errands are now a ton more difficult. But then I see her sleeping peacefully and I have time to take in every bit of her. Her gorgeous, dark hair; her cute little nose; her pouty little lips; her impossibly tiny toes; her surprisingly feminine fingers. Then she opens her eyes (so big and blue), and I can see that she is taking in everything around her, and I can almost see into her speedily developing mind as she learns more each day then we do in a year. Everything is so new to her - and it's up to us to help her learn and grow.

And I realize that we made her - she is Stephen, and she is me. How is that possible? She's too good, too beautiful - she can't be ours. Caught up in emotions of love and awe, I forget about the struggles and I realize how lucky I am. Anything that we go through now is worth it.

I look at her and I wonder at how amazing God is. It's moments like these that I think 'how can anyone look at a newborn baby and not believe in God?' (Usually I am much more liberal about accepting anyone's religious views, but at the moment I am indulging in my awe and wonder at this little angel that I am holding in my arms - I couldn't care less about anything else right now) Each baby is a little angel, sent by God. Each angel brings it's own challenges to the parents, with each having a reason for coming into the world. My favorite of her books is called 'God Gave Us You' - it follows a mother polar bear answering the question presented to her by her little bear cub 'Why am I here?' She tells her cub of how she carried the cub and felt him move inside her and how the cub's mother and father were so excited of his arrival. And after every bit of her story she says of her motherly love "God gave us you". I cry every time I read it - OK, I'm even getting teary eyed now. It is a wonderful description of how lucky a parent feels receiving such a gift from God.

I am incredibly blessed in my life - to a new level that I didn't think was possible. I am blessed with this tiny little baby, and I am blessed with a wonderful husband who is an incredible father. Really, I would not have survived so far had it not been for him being by my side.

If I had to (literally) sum it up: worrying + sleep deprivation + the strongest most amazing love you've ever felt = parenthood. It's the toughest job you'll ever love - and man do I love it.

And in true parenting style, it took me about 2 and a half hours to write this - interupted by two diaper changes, a feeding, about a dozen binky rescues, and typing part of it one handed while I held her. Hee hee... gotta love it.

Everything has a beginning

Why this title?

The common joke around our home is "I don't just have issues, I have a subscription".

Well, in our great adventures in parenting, we have many, many issues. The title speaks to me, it sums up most of what I have to say. There are many parts of me; the woman, the friend, the wife, the daughter, the Catholic, the student, and now - the mom. Most of all, my life is focused so much around being a new mom. Naturally.

Here is what my life centers around; all those parts of me, they all center around this:

My husband Stephen and my 8 month old daughter Catherine. The loves of my life.