Out takes

About a month or so ago, I made it my goal to only shoot in manual. I had virtually no idea what I was doing, but I asked questions, got answers, flipped the camera to “M” and took off.

Today the weather was nice and the sky was overcast, so we hit up a local park so I could take some pictures of Emma and Joshua could burn some energy so he’d take a nap.

Here are a few extra photos from today’s adventure in manual.

self portrait

playing soccer

fall leaves

 

 

Where The Wild Things Are

Remember that time I said we live in a really cool place and there are lots of things to do here so we should do more of them?

About a month ago there was a Groupon for two adult tickets to Zoo Atlanta for the price of one. It was good through the end of this year, so I snatched up one of those bad boys without thinking twice and then said “Hey, Dan! Zoo, yes? P.S. This isn’t exactly a question! LOVE YOU!”

Joshua was slightly nightmarish this weekend. (Three’s not my favorite.) But since the temperature dropped yesterday, we decided it was as good a day as any to attempt what would potentially be a disaster.

Armed with snacks, a stroller, the OnyaBaby, and the camera, we set out, first stopping at Sublime Doughnuts for, well, doughnuts. And then we hit the zoo.

Because it was early, it wasn’t crowded or  hot, which was really nice. I highly recommend getting there early if you’re planning a trip. Plus, we were able to park in the zoo’s parking lot (free parking) instead of down the street in an overflow lot and hoofing it in.

The elephants weren’t in their enclosure, which made me sad. I love elephants. I loved the pandas, though. And the gorillas. And many of the animals were sleeping or just sunning themselves. Joshua was only partially amused by the animals (probably because they just stand there and he expects to be entertained) so he was kind of a handful until we got to the KidZone and then he thought the zoo was the greatest place on Earth because there was a bounce house, a carousel, a train, and a playground.

Once we got over the meltdowns and he spent some time in the stroller for running away from us (!!!!!!!!!!), we had a good day.

Yay, Zoo Atlanta!

Now comes the part where I assault you with photo proof of our trip to the zoo. You’ve been warned.

Giraffe at Zoo Atlanta

Giraffes are such bizarre animals, don't you think?

Here’s something I learned about giraffes: Giraffes are pregnant for 17 months. O_O

Gorillas Zoo Atlanta

The OG of Babywearing.

Gorillas are awesome. See the mom/baby pair in the bottom left? At one point, she wanted to redirect the baby so she just yanked it around by its ear. Which I found fantastic. Not sure what that says about my mothering, but yeah. It was great. And then, of course, babywearing gorillas are always okay by me.

Zoo Atlanta Gorilla

Observer gorilla observes as we observe gorilla. Meta?

So, funnygross story about this gorilla. While we were watching it sit on this log and stare at the other gorillas, it stood up, defecated into its own hand, and then proceeded to dig through its own poo for things to eat. It’s really no wonder that the other gorillas didn’t invite this one over to play. Manners, gorilla. Manners.

Baby Gorilla Zoo Atlanta

CUTE BABY GORILLA! Not even sure there’s anything else to say. I mean, really. HOW CUTE IS THAT BABY?

Babywearing Onyababy

Just following the gorilla's example. YAY BABYWEARING!

I opted for the OnyaBaby carrier yesterday because it was a little more cool and this carrier is a little more wind-blocking than the ring slings. It was fantastic!

Panda Zoo Atlanta

Is it just me or do panda bears not seem like REAL BEARS? I mean, sure, they’ll probably maul my face off if I get in the way of their bamboo, but jeez. They look so nice and friendly and cuddly. Not at all like regular bears.

Lazy Panda Zoo Atlanta

Lazy Panda

Gratuitous panda picture. BECAUSE THEY ARE SO CUTE.

I do not like you, Three.

So this happened once or twice. It was…pleasant. (No, no it was not.) This meltdown in particular came because I gave him Spider-Man graham cookies instead of Spider-Man cheese crackers. I think. It’s so hard being three, y’all. WE DON’T KNOW THEIR LYFE!

And that’s not the reason he cried at all. Joshua–no lie–just looked at this picture and said “Oh no! Was wrong with me!? I didn’t wanna go to the big playground! I wanted the little playground!” And he’s completely right. There was a small play structure next to the bathroom and he did this when he couldn’t play there.

Brushing a goat at Zoo Atlanta

How many of YOU can say you've brushed the hair of a goat?

There’s a petting zoo at Zoo Atlanta. Except the only animals in the petting zoo are goats. Which is kind of cool because how often do you get to pet goats unless you live on a farm with goats?

Goat

I feel like this goat is smiling at me which is the only reason this picture is here. Doesn’t that goat just look so happy to you?

Oh, hai.

Emma would like you all to know that she enjoyed her limited view of the zoo very much. The pandas were her favorite. Because I said so.

Carousel Zoo Atlanta

Cheeeeeese!!!

He didn’t cry the whole time, just so you know. When we got to KidZone, he got pretty happy. He also changed carousel animals three times before the ride started and then refused to let Dan hold on to anything at all. Not sure where he got so bossy. Ahem.

Climbing

He’s recently become quite the climber and wants to climb on all the things. So he climbed up and down this rope thing about a zillion times. It earned us a nap (eventually, after more tears) so yay rope thing! Also, my kid is beautiful.

And that was our trip to Zoo Atlanta! We can’t wait to go back!

Gratitude is the best therapy

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that yesterday got off to a rough start. I was touched out before 9:00 a.m. thanks to a teething baby who wouldn’t take a nap and a preschooler who wanted ALL THE THINGS. And when I finally got her to sleep and took a shower, Joshua woke her up because he HAD to play blocks when he almost never plays blocks.

(Why do they pick the noisy toys when you need them to be quiet and the quiet toys when it’s okay to be noisy? What kind of law is that, Murphy?)

It was one of those mornings where I wanted to just run away screaming and never look back. At least for a few hours.

So, to get out of the house, we went to Target. At the very least, it would just be a change of scenery. And then, while in a drive-thru picking up lunch, I saw this:

grateful

Thanks for the reminder, Universe.

It’s like the Universe knew what I needed to see and showed it to me. Right on time. Like all the “life lessons” the Universe teaches.

I started thinking about all the things in my life for which I am grateful.

My family is healthy. We have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. We both have jobs, one of which allows me to work part-time from home. We have…we have…we have…

It all felt so trite. So Have vs. Have-not. I mean, I’m grateful for all of those things, yes. But if those are the things I’m grateful for, that means I’m grateful for having them because someone else doesn’t have them. Which just made me feel worse instead of better.

So while I waited to place my order and waffled between a cheeseburger or a chicken sandwich, I thought a little harder.

I replayed our trip through Target. I smiled at the conversation I’d had with a former student about the night’s football game and how he was happy for me in my new adventure outside the classroom. I felt the weight of Emma asleep on my chest in the sling. I felt Joshua’s small hand in mine as we walked across the parking lot. I envisioned Emma’s gummy smile. I heard Joshua say “Mama! Wook at dis! I can get dis tomorrow!”

I grew lighter and happier with every image and feeling that flashed across my heart. I’d done it. I’d pushed the reset button on our day. I was grateful for that car and its bumper sticker.

I’m grateful for do-overs.

I’m grateful that even when we have a bad morning, or a bad day, there is grace for better moments.

There is always grace.

Wrong turn

I realized on Monday that I’m taking the Stay-at-Home part of being a stay at home mom a little too literally. As in I almost never want to leave the house with both kids because I’m almost never presentable and attempting to do so requires me to put on a bra.

But the truth is that kind of blows.

Kids need sunshine and fresh air. I need to force myself to put on real clothes.

Joshua woke up whiny and very, very three this morning. I knew we needed to get out of the house and do something if there was any hope of him taking a nap today, so I decided we’d go to the mall. Emma needs some new pajamas, there’s a play area for Joshua, and a Pottery Barn Kids for me. Win-win, right?

In the back of my mind, I knew that the mall was a very bad idea given his three-ness that morning. I would wear Emma and he would probably lay down in the middle of the mall floor to throw a fit and I’d be THAT MOM with the kid throwing a tantrum and oh my god why can’t she just control her kid. It probably would’ve ended in more tears than just his. In fact, I can all but guarantee it would have.

But off we went anyway. Because I’m stubborn. And nothing if not a little self-loathing.

Joshua, who has no idea what “the mall” really is, was quite clear that we WERE NOT going there. No way, no how. He wanted to go “to another house.”

“But whose house, Joshua?”

“We needa go to another house.”

“What house, Joshua?”

“TO. ANOTHER. HOUSE.”

So not helpful. Also quite frustrating.

So with my sites set on the mall and my car pointed in that direction, I kept driving. And he kept whining that we weren’t going to the mall. So much whining, in fact, that I looked around and realized I was going the wrong way.

Joshua stopped yammering about “another house” for about four seconds and I realized where we were. And a little bit of peace washed over my heart.

There it was.

The playground.

The really awesome playground.

I pulled into the parking lot and off we went, the three of us. On a grand adventure of rope-ladder climbing, tunnel slides, tire swings, and acorn hunting.

My wrong turn ended up being the right one after all.

And then the morning comes

Yesterday found me at the end of my rope, dangling over an abyss of sleep deprivation. I sent texts to Dan begging him not to work late. I needed him home. He sent texts back reassuring me that no matter what, we’re in this together.

I went to bed last night when Emma did and, while we did not sleep all night, we slept. Soundly. And then this morning came and brought with it the promise of a new day. A fresh start.

Hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the moment I woke up this morning, I knew today would be better than yesterday.

I knew I would be better.

Grace had come up with the sun.

It rained this morning and once the shower was over, we got dressed and went outside.

Joshua played in his sand table and pushed his cars around. I nursed Emma and held her as she chattered away. We took a walk and had a picnic.

We laughed. We smiled. We explored.

It was a good day. The kind of day I needed to restore my faith in myself.

We were better. The three of us.

Under the Sea: The Georgia Aquarium

Dan was out of town for three days this week on business, Emma had a couple of bad nights, and Joshua’s still refusing to nap. Basically, I want to be Rip Van Winkle and sleep for 100 years. Even after two relatively decent nights of sleep and an excellent nap yesterday. I’ll sleep when my kids are in college, right? Right.

But while Dan was out of town, one of the guys he was on business with (who is not from here) mentioned the Georgia Aquarium and said “I hear that place is really great!” Dan was all “Uh, well, we’ve never been.” We’re kind of lame like that. Atlanta has so much to offer and we almost never take advantage of that fact. I think both of us going to New York in the same week but not at the same time has been a kick in the pants to explore a bit more. So last night Dan bought tickets to the aquarium and today we got up when the kids did and embarked on a little adventure.

I could narrate our entire Under the Sea adventure for you, but it’s way more cool to narrate and show you pictures, so here goes.

As you walk into the aquarium, there are funny fake tiles as if the dolphins have left their tailfin imprints. I got a kick out of them even if no one else did. And that’s part of the Atlanta skyline overlooking the World of Coke. We had to stop so Dan could take Joshua to potty and I was bored. Thus, skyline pictures.

Georgia Aquarium

Several of the exhibits have these glass observation domes. Joshua kept calling them “bubbles.” You can climb into them and you get an almost sort of 360 degree view of that part of the water. He kept asking to find the bubbles. He also wanted to keep petting the star fish. Emma chilled and then fell asleep. (Good girl, Emma. Good girl.) In that tiny picture in the middle of the bottom row, Joshua’s across the glass from an African penguin. I wish we’d started at that exhibit instead of saving it until last.

Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium’s big attraction, or one of the big attractions, is its Beluga whales. They were beautiful. I could’ve stood there staring at them for hours. None of my pictures of the whale sharks turned out well, but those were cool, too. And that tank was enormous. The whale sharks are currently 22 to 25 feet long and will get up to around 35 feet long.

Georgia Aquarium

We also saw the Dolphin Tales show. We didn’t know it was a musical with a storyline and thought it was just dolphins doing cool tricks. So it was a little cheesy but a lot of fun. Emma nursed through the whole thing and Joshua was entranced by the water jets and flashing lights. And the dolphins, too, of course.

All I could think of when I was watching the show was how badly I wanted to be swimming with those dolphins. I suddenly wanted to go back in time and become a marine biologist/dolphin trainer/person who swims with FREAKING DOLPHINS. Because seriously. That was awesome.

The Georgia Aquarium was really cool and I’m glad we finally went. Part of me wishes I’d gone before having kids so that I could really see everything, but part of me is glad that my first experience with the aquarium was through Joshua’s eyes. He was so excited. Until he wasn’t excited anymore. There were a couple of meltdowns as he started to get tired and we managed them and called it a day without seeing everything. So that just means we have to go back at some point to see the rest of the exhibits.

Here are a few more pictures that I loved.

Georgia Aquarium

Breathtaking, right?

Georgia Aquarium

Emma. Just chillin'.

Georgia Aquarium

Eating fish at the aquarium.

Georgia Aquarium

So close, yet so far away.

Georgia Aquarium

My heart right here, y'all.

Week In Review: 4

I’m not quitting this Week In Review thing. I was just kind of out of sorts yesterday, what with sleeping UNTIL TEN O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING. With Emma, but still. Ten. In the morning. With a baby. I mean…okay, I’ll stop talking about it now. But yeah, I was just kind of “meh” all day yesterday with no motivation to edit pics or come here and type. So I did things slowly throughout the day and then had to paint a onesie last night after nearly burning off all my face hairs.

So, here’s our week, last week, in review. With zero fireworks pics because I only had my phone and the fireworks were over as soon as they began thanks to a misfire on the ground. (Good news? Joshua has no idea that fireworks get any better than that. So, win.)

Just some Little Einsteins to start our Monday morning.

Disney Jr. released an app that has ready-to-watch episodes of Little Einsteins, Doc McStuffins, Secret Agent Oso, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Chuggington. There are also apps for the other Disney channels (XD and regular Disney, I guess?). If you have a cable provider that works with them, you can stream live Disney channel to your iPhone or iPad. It’s pretty awesome, really. And no, they didn’t pay me to say that. (But Disney, if you want to hook a mommy up? We won’t turn you away. Promise.)

Child labor. They're never too young to earn their own keep.

He pretty much thought this was amazing. He helped cook dinner, then he helped clean up. He did not, however, eat any of the dinner that he helped cook or clean up after. Meh. You win some, you lose some.

baby fingers

Emma's hands are fascinating.

I don’t remember Joshua “finding” his hands like this. Probably because I was caught up in a sleep-deprived, postpartum depression-fueled haze of not paying attention. Either way, Emma’s found her hands and I saw it happen this time.

Goldendoodle

Annie says hello. Or, you know, woof.

Our best friends’ little boy turned one on the 4th, so his birthday party was Saturday. Their oldest son and Joshua are almost the same age and they played hard all afternoon. So hard that Joshua was nearly silent for the whole ride home because I think he was just too tired to talk. That’s how you know he’s had a good time.

Bawoon!

Oh, my heart. Happy boy.

So that was our week.

Here’s what I read:

First, my sweet friend Diana got some news that gave me chills when it was 104 degrees outside. Like, J.Lo-style goosies invaded my arms and legs and I had to take a minute. Her boys are getting birth certificates. She said it best when she said “If your baby died, your baby lived. Period. Things like that matter so, so much. I’m so happy she gets this tangible proof of their life to go with the intangible proof they wrote on her heart.

Next up are two posts that seem to go hand in hand to me. As mothers, we get so caught up in the bad that sometimes we don’t see the good. (See my thoughts on Emma’s discovery of her hands just a quick scroll up.) What we forget, is that the bad? Any of it? It’s all just a phase. While the Huffington Post needs to help from me to publicize their articles, that one was too good not to share. It’s all a phase, y’all. The sleepless nights, the tantrums, the crazy. It all ends. And when it does, will we look back on it longingly? Jill at Baby Rabies wrote a letter to her 51 year old self about all the ways she wants to freeze this time with her kids. About the ways we all want to freeze these good moments. The baby smiles, the toddler snuggles. Just like the “bad” moments, these don’t last forever either.

I’ve got something like two more posts to write for today and I’d like to get a shower in there somewhere. Maybe. But I had to keep up with this Week in Review because I don’t want to be a quitter.  So tell me, what did you read last week?

Date night: Just do it.

First of all, I had this typed out earlier today and the internet took a dump and WordPress flushed my post. So suck eggs, AT&T. Second, Dan and I went on a date last night and I felt like I should come here and tell y’all about it because that’s what good bloggers do, right?

Right.

When I was naive and pregnant with Joshua, one of the pieces of advice I received on the regular was “don’t forget to date Dan!” And I was all, “That is AMAZING advice! Yes! Yes I will do that!”

And then postpartum anxiety grabbed me in a choke hold and made me such a control freak I would only leave him with family for the first three years of his life. The one time I did leave him with someone other than family, I had visions of him screaming the whole time and feeling abandoned and hating me. He slept the whole time I was gone and was obviously no worse for the experience.

Dan and I would go on the occasional outing, usually during the day when we could take him to the daycare we were already paying for. (The other reason we didn’t go out is because babysitters are expensive!) But we’ve only been on a handful of dates since Joshua was born, and one of those was a wedding which we were in so I’m not even sure it counts.

Yes, it’s that bad.

So when Dan got tickets to the Braves game from work (with a sweet valet parking pass! WOO!), I knew we had to go. We had to. We love sporting events and we needed this time away. But when my mom couldn’t come and watch the kids, my anxiety started creeping in.

We could just get a sitter for Joshua and take Emma with us. She would be free. She would probably sleep the whole time. I only have a teeny, tiny emergency stash in the freezer. We cloth diaper and that will be a pain in the ass for a sitter. Bath and bedtime with both of them is a nightmare.

But y’all, it was 100 degrees here yesterday. There was no way I could take her. And it felt wrong to take her to her first baseball game before Joshua’s been to his and yes I realize that sounds looney tunes, but it seriously crossed my mind and was a legitimate reason against taking her in my mind.

So I called one of Joshua’s teachers and asked her to watch them and she enthusiastically agreed. (It pays to have a kid the teachers love, y’all.) And while I might have been on the verge of hyperventilating while I walked her through their evening routines, Dan and I made it to the game and then home again and everyone survived.

We even had fun.

dasani

Hydration is obvs important when it's 100+ degrees outside, y'all.

Turner Field Entrance

Go Braves!

amazing seats

Dude. Amazing seats. Thank you, company tickets!

peanuts and beer

Beer and peanuts. Yes please.

Atlanta weather

Hello, 93 degrees! You're so freezing. Let me get my parka.

Date night

We should do this more often. We so should.

The Braves lost, which is, like, our fourth time watching them lose in that stadium. And we had to leave at the middle of the 8th inning because the skinny bitches 23 year olds(!!!) sitting behind us spilled their beer down my back twice and talked about fat people and were generally just annoying which reminded me that I’m most definitely 30, no matter how hard it may be for me to wrap my head around that some days.

And it was 10:15, which is about 15 minutes past my bed time, which is further proof that I’m getting old.

And my boobs were about to explode. (Pumping in the car isn’t the sexiest way to end a date, just so you know.)

We got home and everything was quiet. My kids were good. Dan was good. I was good.

Everything was as it should be.

Date night, y’all. Just do it.

Now is good

I have bits of blog posts written in all the parts of my brain that can possibly house such things at the moment, but the goal right now is to rest and sleep as much as I can whenever I can.  And sleep is lacking since Joshua’s had a stomach flu that has prevented my being able to sleep in or lay down when Emma takes her morning nap, so I’m keeping this post short and sweet.

Basically, I’ve successfully kept another human being alive (again) for two weeks. WOOT!

I’ve also managed to keep myself mostly showered and shaved, even. And I did not have a repeat of THIS experience. So hallelujah for that.

I’ve had my first sol0-parenting experience with the both of them and everyone came out unscathed.

I’m figuring out life as a mom of two and how to stay connected to Joshua while also tending to Emma’s needs and while there’s a learning curve involved, I feel like I’m a much faster study this time than last.

While there have certainly been a few rough moments, we’re navigating life as a family of four pretty well right now. In this moment.

Tomorrow may be a different story altogether. But right now? Right now is good.

Waiting is the hardest part

And no, I’m not talking about waiting for New Girl’s arrival. We have far, far too much to do before she’s here for there to be any actual “waiting” taking place.

I’m talking about waiting at my doctor’s office.

One of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome in switching to this office was how far away it is from work when my current office is a whopping 3 minutes away–with traffic. As it is, I’ll be taking about a week to a week and a half of maternity leave unpaid (or paid via the optional short term disability insurance I’ve paid into for several years now), so I don’t have a lot of paid time to take for doctor’s appointments and I hate having to be the one always asking people to cover my classes so I can get to the doctor. I always try to schedule my appointments for the last available that day.

I left work at 3:00 yesterday to head to my second appointment at the new OB’s office because I had no idea what traffic would be like in that direction. I got there by 4:00. The appointment was scheduled for 4:25.

I was finally called into the room at 4:50. It was a million, zillion degrees in the office. I’d look at the clock and imagine the hordes of cars piling onto the roads making their way out to suburbia. I imagined myself stuck in that traffic.

I got antsy.

But, I kept breathing. I kept reminding myself that I knew the wait was worth it. That I’d made the right decision in going there. I relaxed and waiting.

Finally, I was called in to meet the NP and have my tummy check. She was with me for 20 minutes, at least, and that visit–the last of the day when I’m certain everyone in that office would rather be walking out the door–reminded me, yet again, that I’m receiving the kind of care I never would’ve gotten at my old OB’s office.

She listened to my concerns about the vagina bone pain and instead of saying “Well, I don’t think you’re in labor but I can check your cervix if you want me to” she explained what was happening and what I could do to relieve the pain. She reminded me that while annoying, this pain won’t last forever and it’s serving a purpose.

Every visit gets an ultrasound via one of the portable, laptop-sized machines. Every visit. She gooped me up and immediately said “That’s good! A head down baby!! The chin’s tucked! And anterior presentation!”

(In layman’s terms, she’s preparing herself to get “locked and loaded” in a couple of weeks. And she’s facing my spine. Oh, and yes, she’s still a she. I had the NP check!)

How proactive, right? My old doctor wouldn’t have scanned for that.

She saw my scar and asked me if I was VBACing this one.

“Yes,” I said, resolutely.

I asked if she could still flip to breech position and the NP said, yes, but that it’s unlikely. (Whew.) And if she does flip, Dr. T will try to turn her.

Do you know what she never mentioned during that ultrasound or visit?

The potential size of my baby.

She didn’t hazard a guess or say “Oh, she’s looking big. We should get more measurements.”

She didn’t say “Oh, you’re measuring ahead of schedule.”

She didn’t try to scare me out of a VBAC by insinuating I can’t give birth to this baby because she might be big.

At my last appointment at my old office–at 28 weeks–the doctor said “Oh, you’re measuring ahead, and since you want to VBAC, we’ll need to monitor her size and make sure she’s not getting to big. Let’s schedule a growth scan for next time!”

Do you know what’s scheduled for my next visit now?

A longer-than-usual appointment to go over my birth plan WITH the OB so that we’re all on the same page when it comes time for this girl to actually exit my body.

With Joshua, I asked about writing a birth plan and I was told “Oh, just bring it with you to the hospital…”

The writing was on the wall there.

And here, the only writing I see is a giant, neon sign that says “We support you.”

Which pretty much makes the wait worth it.

5.5 weeks to go.