Saturday, June 30, 2012


99 degrees.

Perfect ballet weather.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Guess who...

...sleeps in a big girl bed?


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why moving bites the big one.

It has come to my attention that moving, like so many other stages of life, evoke a very specific pattern of emotions in people. 

Stage 1: Denial - You know it's coming.  The date is even set.  But, despite that big red date you've circled on the calendar, you still find yourself saying things like, Oh, I have plenty of time.  I don't really need to pack yet.  This stage goes on the longest, and generally leads directly to Stage 3. 

Stage 2: Bargaining - Once you realize that you do, in fact, have to move, you begin to put a few non-essentials in boxes.  You get your Brownie points by packing up a few minor things, pat yourself on the back and call it a day.  Still partially in the denial phase of things, bargaining leads to over confidence.  I packed up the guest room, and it only took me 35 minutes!  This isn't going to be so hard after all!  When in the midsts of this phase, please note: it will be every bit as hard, and then some, as you imagined it.  This is a totally false sense of security.  You should just keep packing. 

Stage 3: Anger - That date on the calendar keeps creeping closer.  In fact, it is probably now just two to three days away, and you're suddenly realizing - for the first time, no doubt - that the time to start packing has long since passed.  All that's really left to do is grab your crap and cram it somewhere.  What? you think incredulously.  How do I still have so much left to do?  It is this phase that inevitably results in your underware - which you planned to have easily accessible - ends up packed away with that picture of some long lost relative in a box you meant to store in the garage for the next ten years.  Good luck with that.

Stage 4: Random crap - Whew.  You made it!  After three days of subsisting on Red Bull and two hours of sleep, the movers are here.  And by some miracle, your jittery hands are closing the last of the boxes.  Or... so you think.  As you go through the house, you suddenly discover all the left-overs.  You know what I'm talking about: that one random hand towel, a mismatched pair of socks.  Two sheets that were stuck in a closet you thought you cleaned out weeks ago.  During this phase, you very seriously consider just chucking it all, because a) you've just discovered that you never really liked that particular hand towel anyway, and b) let's face it, it's not the Great Depression.  There's a Walmart right down the street, and you can get two for a dollar on the way to your new house.  Keep at least three extra empty boxes handy for this phase, or be prepared to replace a lot of random crap.

Stage 5: Readying - Congratulations!  Your house is empty.  Now, I'm not sure whether everyone has this compulsion, or if it's just me and my OCD.  Once the house is empty, I personally have to make sure it's in show quality condition.  I want to scrub everything to make sure that my dirt isn't passed on to the next owner.  Mostly, because I find it disgusting to clean other people's dirt.  Especially hair.  Casey has a horrible habit of leaving his shavings on the counter and in the sink.  By the way: Peanut, if you ever read this, it is really a horrible habit.  Chicks don't dig it.  If you're over the age of four, you should always be responsible for cleaning up whatever comes off/out of your own body.  For reals.  I'm currently carrying half his genetic code inside of me, but I HATE cleaning up my husband's hair, so you can imagine how I feel about stranger hair and stranger germs. 

 Stage 6: Grief and acceptance - You never really realized just how awesome your house is until today as you're about to drive away.  Go ahead, take a few minutes to say goodbye.  Maybe light a candle, if that happens to be one of the things you found in the Random Crap phase.  Appreciate just how lucky you were to build your memories in that place.  Then, get in the car, wipe your nose and know that what you're going to is something awesome, too. 

Stage 7: Vow never, ever to move again.  (Even though you probably will.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On heat, timing and boob sweat

Hey there! 

No, no.  Whatever you do, don't hug me.  You'll probably have to wring yourself out afterward from the massive amounts of my pregnant lady "glow." 

What's that?  How am I managing the heat?

Well, let's see.  It hasn't dropped below 100 degrees here in four days.  I've pulled weeds and taken the two year old to the park and attended an outdoor reunion and packed boxes and prepared to move.  Have I mentioned that it's June?

Sleep?  Meh.  What's that expression about sleeping when we're dead?  That is assuming the heat doesn't kill me first.

I have a confession to make: All you people who have babies in July, August and September?  Until about 7 months ago, I was convinced that you belonged in the nut house.  I mean, really.  Who wants to be dragging around a tiny human and all those extra hormones in the heat of mid-summer when you could cuddle up, enjoy a cup of coccoa, wear a sweater and have a baby in, say, March?

Just admit it: you suck at planning!  It's okay, we all have our strengths and weaknesses.  Doesn't it feel better to say it outloud?

Some might say I'm getting my just desserts...

Hi, my name is Melissa, and I suck at planning. 

Turns out, no one wants to be the size and have the energy of a beached whale during the hottest months of the year.  Nobody thinks to themselves, hey, I really like walking around the zoo looking like I've been swimming!  Or, gee, those two pools of sweat under my boobs are so refreshing, and make such a fashion statement!


I can't get over this giant bag of grateful I'm carrying around. 

When you've prayed and hoped and longed and dreamed, it no longer matters what it takes to get them here.  Whether it's barfing every day for months on end or, in my case, baking in the summer heat.  However they get here, I can't bring myself to regret it or complain, because good Lord if it isn't absolutely and excruciatingly worth it.

When they're finally here, the timing no longer matters.  It's always perfect.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The one about how it's been a decade

If you had asked me, on graduating from high school, where I hoped to be in ten years, I would have told you something like this:

1. Teaching
2. Married
3. A mommy
4. Owner of a horse ranch

Okay, so with the exception of the horse ranch (which, thankfully, it turns out is something I'd really prefer not to have after all), I was pretty spot on. 

It's difficult to look back and imagine the person I was the day I graduated high school.  I am both completely different, and perfectly the same in so many ways. 
The wall of seniors in Mr. Tonelli's room. (You kinda have to be a Columbine kid to get this one.  As of three years ago, it's still there!)  Can you spot me?

A little wiser.  A little less naiive.  Definitely more seasoned.  If you can believe it, I didn't even drink coffee until college, so clearly I've changed in some ways.  But I'm also still me: driven, planner, a little OCD.  Still pretty black and white when it comes to the things I believe are valuable, right and important. 

But those are no longer the most important adjectives I would use to describe myself.

I had it right.  Even at 18. 

The most important adjectives are the ones I've already listed: Teacher, wife, mommy.  These are the roles I treasure.

This weekend marks my ten year high school reunion.  In six more months, I will have spent every one of those days over the last ten years with my husband. 

Whatever anyone else says, I always felt like I dreamed big.  Those adjectives I dreamed for myself always were the very best of who I was. 

Ten years later, those roles are the very best of who I am.  And somehow, miraculously, all my dreams have come true.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Thirty down.

Ten to go.

Holy crap.

Baby size: Cucumber.  Or Squash, depending on who you ask (who makes up these things, anyway???)
15.2 to 16.7 inches
2.5-3.8 lbs
20 pounds gained - no additional weight since my last check up two weeks ago, but baby is still measuring fine.

70 days left. 

I don't pee when I laugh or sneeze.  I consider this a victory, because I feel like peeing all the time.  There are not enough potty breaks in the world to ease my need to pee, which I don't remember from having Leah. 

I mean, I know I peed a lot - I've got the photographic proof - but I remember feeling that sense of relief, even if it was only temporary.  So, really what I'm saying is that Peanut has parked himself on my bladder.  It must be comfy, like a soft, squishy pillow, cause I haven't not had to pee in like three days. 

If you paid me seven million dollars, I still couldn't take care of my personal hygene issues.  I'll spare you the details on that front, but if you've been pregnant, you know exactly where I'm talking about not being able to shave.

No heartburn.
No stretch marks (yet?).
No odd cravings.
Some sleep.
Mostly mello emotions, all impending major life events and solo-parenting considered.
Wedding rings on.
Tons and tons of movement.

No major medical maladies to speak of, save for the contractions which happen on a daily basis, and still no one seems to be concerned about.

Best moment of the week: Bringing Leah to bed with me in the middle of the night after she very, very sweetly asked if she could snuggle with me.  Feeling her warm, cuddly body against mine, breath heavy with sleep, as Baby wiggled away between the two of us.  My two little loves, safe and sound, and together.

Thirty?  Sheer perfection. 

The countdown has begun.  And it's soooooo wonderful. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

When it's good, it's great

Today looked like this:

And it was a great day!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

We're so ready

8 out of 11.

That's how many weeks my husband will have been gone when he finally gets home on Saturday.

I've said it before, but seriously: hats off to the single parents.  You guys are some kind of awesome I truly hope never to be.

Because if I'm all they've got?  If it's just me that stands between us and disaster?  We're in big trouble. 

Casey has been gone since last Thursday - eight loooong days ago, and it has probably been the toughest stint of all.  I could give you a dozen legitimate reasons: I'm too big.  I'm too tired.  We're about to move... in like 4 days.  Two year olds are too much work for one person all.the.time without a break.

All of these things are true.  But mostly, we're just done

Both of us.  For the first time, the little has had nightmares and woken up missing her daddy. We've been doing the bad thing that I don't do very often and sleeping together.  Yes, in my book, when I child wakes up crying because they miss their parent, it warrants a little snuggle time in Mommy's bed.

It's a tough old job.  Not made any easier by the fact that I'm nearly 30 weeks pregnant. 

We've reached the point where, when it's 4:30 and she chucks something onto the floor from whatever its original resting point for the 927th time that day, bending over to pick it up is a really big deal.  And her two-year-old's game of I WANT THAT! followed immediately by I DON'T WANT THAT! is no longer amusing to my virtually nonexistant patience.  And the 5,000 ways she's developed to delay Mom from whatever task - no matter how minute - we're trying to accomplish?  Yeah, I'm pretty exhausted.

Mostly, though, it's myself I wind up mad at.

That I'm not more patient.  That I'm not more open to indulging her.  That I can't always play with her.  That, dare I admit it?  I've even yelled at her.  That despite my deep, deep-seeded desire to nurture and empower her spirit, I still reach that point that all moms know.  I believe it's called the end of our rope.

I am still not that perfect mom, despite both tremendous effort and tons of prayer.

You know her, right?  She's the one with the clean house, the happy, well-fed children kept busy and entertained as a result of their mother's craftiness.  The one who speaks with wisdom, kindness and love and always - always - without raising her voice. 

She definitely exists.  That mom who could do with grace and ease what I try and fail to do every day.  At least, that's what I never fail to convince myself. 

The good (and bad?) news is that there is nothing to do but pick up and try again tomorrow, remembering how very precious and important these moments are.  Not only because they are so fleeting and wonderful, even in the same moment that they are challenging, but because they are so significant in answering the question of who she will become.

That's the best and scariest thought of all.  (It begs the question: What do we do on the days when I'm just not enough?)  So come home soon, Daddy. 

We're sooooo ready. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

There will be diapers

There will not be a nursery, designed with loving care.

There will not be new bedding, picked out by a mommy who knew it was "the one."

There will not be a brand new crib.

There will not be hoardes of new clothes, because, let's face it: Auntie Jess already had a boy. 

There will not be a house to call our own.

But, as of today, there will be diapers.

And because I want to make sure that there can be a mommy at home full time, we're going a direction I never, ever imagined we would go.  You may be looking at the last diapers we'll ever buy. 

Yes, we're going green.  Or - more likely - brown.  After a lot of research, we settled on Rumparooz, which have a fabulous reputation in the hiney-covering department.  I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little nervous about this new adventure. 

At the same time, though, it gave me such satisfaction to pick these babies up!  With everything else so up in the air and the arrival of this baby coming up so quickly, I have horrible guilt over all the things Leah had in place which he will not.

But, by golly, he will have diapers.  And three people who love him to pieces.

What else does he need, really?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A chip off the old block

No doubt about it, I was a water baby growing up.

Summer days were more often than not spent in the pool, or playing in the back yard on a slip and slide or running through the sprinklers. 

And you guys: my kid?  She's exactly the same.

I'm a big fan of Water World.  We're so lucky to be considered "residents," meaning that the outrageous prices don't apply to us.  Better is the fact that if we go after nap time, even the resident rate is cut in half, so going to this fabulous water park is no more expensive than going to the regular pool.

So far this summer, Leah and I have only been twice, and both times it has been awesome.

Seriously, the girl loves to swim.  She splashes and wiggles and jumps much more boldly into the water than anything she undertakes anywhere else. 

Because I taught swim lessons like a million years ago, I've been working with her any time we're in the pool (and sometimes, let's face it, in the bath) to help her get the hang of things.  It's really starting to stick.

She knows to turn herself onto her tummy, stick out her legs and kick.  Mostly, she keeps her legs under her and frog-jumps through the water, but it still counts.  She knows to blow bubbles in the water, and spit it out if it gets in her mouth.  All of this is with the assistance of her floaties, of course - we're not too crazy. 

She adamantly insists, "No Mommy, don't help me!  Let me do it by myself!" And so I do. 

And I have to say, I'm pretty tickled with her progress. 

I might even try to get some pictures next time we go... it's hard though, because I can't resist getting in the pool and playing with her!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A road map and a neon sign

So it's really happening. 

We're actually moving. 

I suppose that, for some people, the whole SOLD! sign would have indicated this.  But somehow, I've failed to believe it for the past month or so.  It didn't hit me until we were packing up the boxes.

Yes, our house is now roughly 22% travel-ready.  Mostly due to the efforts of my lovely husband, as it takes me three times as long as it should.  Not only because I'm pregnant, but also because everything makes me super nostalgic and I have to sit and cry before boxing it up.

Pregnancy hormones?  Whew - glad I dodged that bullet!

Not to mention, we still don't have a permanent place to unpack all of these boxes.

This is the part I'm really, really not good at.  I'm a planner.  I have been my whole life.  I'm the kind of person who knows exactly what she wants, carefully weighs all the options, figures out the most efficient way of getting there and works with every fiber in my being to do so.

That's why I sucked so hard at the whole getting pregnant thing.  There's absolutely no way to plan, predict, work hard for or control when that would happen. 

The story is much the same on the house front.  We've had two offers in and both have been out-bid.  Not a thing I can do about that.  Can't plan or work for getting a house - at least, not in this market.

I'm committed this time around to praying diligently and trying hard to listen to where God would have us go.  I'm genuinely seeking, knowing that He has always provided for us in bigger ways than we could have ever hoped.  But the answers right now don't seem very clear or obvious.

So, God: I'll totally go where you want me to be.  Truly.  It's just that I'd prefer a road map and a neon sign in case I get lost.  Cool?

For now, we're going home to stay with my mom.  I feel so lucky that this is an option, and I think it makes the most sense given all the other things that are going on.  It will be a huge blessing not to have to be alone with a two year old in my third trimester when Casey goes out of town. 

It will be equally as big a blessing not to have to pay rent, as this is one expensive baby we're having.  (That's a conversation for another time, but let's just suffice it to say that my pregnancy has spanned two insurance plan years.  Good times.)  Seriously, he'd better either be really worth it, or poop gold. 

I know that there is a lot of good coming out of this situation if I choose to see it that way. 

But it's definitely a challenge for me to tame all those unknowns and could be's.

Friday, June 8, 2012

2/3rds finished

Baby size: Eggplant
1.5-2.5 lbs
13.5-14.5 inches long

Good news from my doctors visit: Peanut's head is down!  Waahooo!  While he hasn't dropped yet (a good thing), he is sitting nice and low.  Fingers crossed, we just might get to do this whole natural labor thing this time around!

I'm definitely carrying much lower than I was with Leah, although it's difficult to tell unless you put the photos side by side. 

The doctor advised me to start kick counting every day - making sure that he moves ten times in ten minutes.  Fortunately for me, I'm not super worried about this as this little one moves ten times in about 45 seconds. 

I've also started packing on the pounds - butt, thighs and that "love handle" area around the belly are all rounding out the way I remember from last time.  Not my favorite side effect, but totally worth it.  I'll definitely be making a date with Weight Watchers come August or September.  That's what I get for not running after my miscarriage; I missed my window and got the "no" on running during the first trimester - and now it's just too darn hard!

Belly button is still in, although it's more like flush against my belly.  Wedding rings are still on.  Face hasn't rounded out the way I know is coming.  No stretch marks.  Mood is happy.  Sooooo happy it sometimes moves me to tears.  Yes, that's back, and it's bliss as I haven't felt that way for a long while.

Also back are the nonstop trips to the bathroom.  My body clearly knew it was time, because exactly yesterday I began having to do the potty dance three times as frequently as usual.  Don't know if it's because my little man moved lower or simply starting trimester three, but I had forgotten how obnoxious lovely this symptom is.

I am so excited to be in the third trimester!  I can hardly contain my excitement to meet this little guy, and I absolutely adore these next 12 or so weeks.  I can't believe we've made it here.  Over a year after we started this journey, and now we're just 12 weeks away from meeting our sweet little miracle. 

My heart is so full right now.  We love you, sweet baby.  Grow strong, healthy and happy, and we'll see you soon!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


My tiny one is getting big enough that we can begin to feel the outline of his little body in my belly.  No doubt about it: this is my most favorite part. 

The part where I can't help but be awed.  There really is a human in there.  Not that I was unaware of this before; it's just that it is SO.INCREDIBLE to have the literal, undeniable physical proof.  I don't think I'll ever get over what a cool and special feeling it is.

So as I was looking over some pictures the other day, I also couldn't help but be awed. 

Spring 2010

Summer 2011

Summer 2012

How does that happen????

To go from just that ity-bitty, whose head was (still admitedly huge) no bigger than my comically, ridiculously overinflated boob into a real, legitimate... person?  

She's come an awfully long way from the days when I could feel the outline of her little body moving inside my belly. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sometimes truth is green. And squishy.

She squeezes the soft green goo through her fingers, a look of almost maniacal glee on her face.

"Look Mommy, it's a pancake!  It's a pancake!"

Repeating things twice for emphasis is part of her journey right now, and her obvious enthusiasm is catching.

"You want some, too?"  She asks, voice trilling high at the end to indicate her query, holding out a glob of playdough - which, for the record, in no way resembles a pancake - for me to sample.

Of course I take it, and make overly loud munching noises while holding the stuff far away from my mouth.

It's no fine line between pretend-eating and having a two year old with traces of green playdough between her teeth.

"Mmmm!" I enthuse, smiling and handing it back to her, "that is the best pancake I have ever had!"

We repeat the process: It's a cookie; now a snake.  We roll the ball mommy created back and forth across the table, watching it wobble to tell me that I clearly can't make a perfect sphere.  She smashes it and burries her little fingers in it and tears it apart and squishes it back together.

She's a symphony of motion, this beautiful child of mine.

Sometimes the motion lands her squarely in time out.  Sometimes the sweet voice turns demanding and whiny.  Sometimes the body I love to cradle flops, belly first, onto the floor in an act of simultaneous defiance and frustration. 

But much, much more often, I can't help but marvel at these moments I get to be home with her.  To witness the ordinary miracle that is her day.




Yes.  This is my life. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Superficial? Yes. Still awesome.

Oh, wait.  Hang on.  There's something in the way. 

Let me try again...

There we go! 

I can't tell you how much better I feel about myself when my toes are painted!  Especially when it's summer and my little piggies are on display!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Bucket List

I'm a list maker.  I'm also a binder-organizer, color-coder and label maker; really, they all go hand-in-hand. 

This summer, whether because I'm pregnant or I've simply used up my creativity, I'm finding myself out of creative ideas for what to do with these days I've so looked forward to.

So in an effort to get back on the I-Love-Summer bandwagon, here is our summer bucket list.  Some of these, I am absolutely sure, simply will not get accomplished due to timing of... other... life events.  But these are the things I am most excited and most looking forward to (hopefully) doing during the next three months:

1. Go to the zoo.  A LOT.
2. Take a hike.  The easy, toddler/pregnancy friendly kind.
3. Make our own lemonade. 
4. Stop by the farmer's market (perhaps for said lemonade ingredients?)
5. Play in the backyard pool.  Bonus if we get a slip and slide and/or other miscellaneous fun water toy.
6. Take walks daily.
7. Go camping. (Let's face it: this is the one that probably won't happen.  Casey working, house moving, third-trimestering.  'Nough said.)
8. Make S'mores!
9. Serve my patriotic crumble cake, which didn't get made last year.  Casey reminds me of this weekly.
10. Find a preschool curriculum to use with Leah.  Goal: 5 words read at the end of summer (besides Leah and Elmo, which she can already read.  You know, the important ones.)
11. Make something disgustingly fun with playdough.
12. Spend time in Colorado Springs.  The Zoo?  Garden of the Gods?  Cave of the Winds?  Something fun and out of the ordinary.
13. Eat watermelon.  Lots and lots of it.
14. Go to WaterWorld at least twice a month. 
15. Two words: Play dates.
16. Draw with sidewalk chalk.
17. Ride on a carousel and/or Ferris Wheel.
18. Date night to a baseball game.
19. Play miniature golf.
20. Find at least one great new summer recipe.
21. Watch fireworks with the little on July 4th.  But can she stay awake that late??
22. Potty train the kid (ahhh, this too may be wishful thinking)
23. Blow a really, really big bubble.
24. Complete a photography challenge, and attend the photography classes Casey got me for Mother's Day
25. Stay up really late (like 8:00!) and go out for icecream cones in our jammies. 

Besides, we're already one down: today was our second (yep, second) trip to the zoo.  I told you we like to go a lot!

Oh yeah.  I forgot finding a house, moving and of course, having a baby.  I'm thinking it will be a busy summer around these parts! 

What's on your summer bucket list?

Friday, June 1, 2012

27 Weeks

Baby size: Rutabega (how big is that, you ask?  No idea!)
13-14 inches, 1.5-2.5 pounds (still guessing on the larger side.  For sure.)
Weight gained: Um... no judgement? 18 pounds.  Yep.  It has definitely begun packing on in the last few weeks.

I love, love, love this phase! 

Our little man is strong - so amazingly strong and wiggley.  I do not remember Leah being this kind of wiggley, particularly this early.  Peanut makes my belly jump like crazy, and his kicks are so much more powerful than I remember Leah's being until the end of my pregnancy.  I am so curious to see if this plays out in his personality once he's out, because he truly feels so much stronger to me.

Just like his sister, he is such a good little buddy.  The doctors told me that a good rule of thumb is that when I'm moving, baby should be sleeping/stationary.  When I'm sedentary, baby moves.

This has been completely untrue in both my pregnancies.  Peanut seems to keep pace with me fairly well - when I move, so does he.  The only exception is about 7-8:30 or so in the evening, and when we read to him at bed time, when he nightly gets the wiggles. 

I haven't been able to pinpoint any foods or activities that bring on the wiggles.  Leah hated the car (actually, at the time I thought she loved the car.  She always got wiggly in the car.  It wasn't until she was born and screamed at the top of her lungs every time we got in the car that I came to think otherwise), and always, always wiggled after I ate blueberries or drank juice.  Peanut isn't quite that consistent. 

Evidently, the contractions I'm experiencing are just a result of my "irritable" uterus.  I didn't think that was such a nice thing to say - maybe it's irritable because the doc keeps speaking about it that way!

This week has been sooooo much easier.  My mood is better, my patience is improved, I have more energy - thank goodness for daytime naps and not working all day!  All pregnant women should be so lucky!!!! 

The contrast between sitting in interviews at 4:30 in the afternoon, contracting away and trying to pretend like I actually cared about what was being said while I was really trying not to let a person pop out of me, versus being able to sit, put my feet up and drink water when I have a contraction.  Ahhh, how different life is without a full time job! 

It's getting hard to believe how close we are to meeting this baby.  I'm going through a bit of an internal struggle, because I'm getting so excited to meet this little one and at the same time, trying to savor every day.  I know exactly how much I'll miss these precious moments once they're gone.

Next week: third trimester, baby!  You are much loved and eagerly awaited, Baby Peanut!

I changed my font at