Friday, January 28, 2011

The First Year: Mommy Part 1

Ok, I know, two posts in one day? Well, I wrote this right before Brady's birthday and never published it (and before I decide NOT to, I'm going to push the orange button.)  I was doing so well and have succumbed to the holidays and craziness that is my life and felt it was silly to post this when I'm not following the best habits at this moment.  These thoughts, these ideas and these goals are still apparent in my life and I'm slowly working on getting back into it 100%!  I've updated it a bit to make it more relevant to what is going on now. I wrote this as I know a lot of women are concerned, curious and unsure of what happens to their bodies after pregnancy. My journey has been a bit different, (ok, unusual) but I've learned a bit LOT along the way about myself.

My body hasn't had an easy run this past year. I housed a baby. Had said baby surgically removed. Had an open wound for most of my maternity leave. If that wasn't enough, my body decided to require another surgery. Throw in a few bulging disks (four!) in my neck and a fat baby and I think that is enough for one body for a years time.

Nope. This body has found a way to loose a large sum of weight. I gained thirty something pounds during my pregnancy. I'm fully aware that half of that might have been in my feet and I may or may not have look like the Staypuft man but alas, a lot of it came off the first three weeks.

Really. I peed waterfalls.

For weeks.

Add in a mobile baby, no time to sit on my fat butt, eating mostly healthy diet full of fruits, veggies and whole grains and that thing called exercise and I'm currently about 10 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight!

That means Ive lost about 45 pounds in the past year. That is almost two Brady's!

I won't lie and say it has been easy. We started bike riding and many nights I wanted to stay home and go to bed early. I wanted to give up because I wasn't seeing any results but I felt better. This fall, I had people coming up to me asking me if I lost weight! That should have given me an incentive to continue but when sleep regression happens, working out becomes my absolute last priority. Evenings are my time with Brady so I have to push myself to work out after he goes to bed. I know any mom that says that is easy is lying!

I won't lie and say I'm happy with how things look because I have a long way to go. I gained a ton of weight after I was in a car accident two weeks before my wedding (hello funky neck) and I got into a lot of bad habits. 

My child pushed  a lot of those bad habits out of me. He eats what we eat so we mostly eat healthy. We strive to be healthy to teach Brady good habits. Now, that doesn't mean we don't indulge because we do (did you see my child dive into that cake?)

Pregnancy, two surgeries and a sucky complication left me with scars and stretch marks that I will carry with me forever.

I know my body has been through a lot. I From swelling up during so much of my pregnancy and then rapidly deflating weeks after his birth, I have more stretch marks than I would like. I'm not going to lie and say I'm 100% comfortable in my skin because even though I'm aware of what my body has done and what has been done to it, I want to look like myself again. I think that is just human nature.

 My stomach literally looks like it's been to hell and back. My boobs? While they have shrunk down to a somewhat proportionate size, they are not the same as they were. The c-section scar has faded to almost nonexistent but my hernia scars (like all 8 or 9 of them) are just as vivid at ever.

I think those are what bother me most. Not because they are most apparent but they remind me of a time in my life that was really hard. I know in my heart that one day, I'll look at them in a different light but at this time, they remind me of a dark place.

Thanks to genetics, I obsessively freaked out about getting stretch marks my entire pregnancy and probably went through a gazillion tubes of lotions and oils. I do now realize that was a waste of money since I was lucky to get most of them after he was born.

While they are not my pride possessions, they don't bother me and actually have faded quite a bit over the course of the last year. I don't plan on stepping out in a teenie bikini but they are a part of me and I accept them.

Of course, I'd love my perky 25 year old boobs back and fit into a size two again but that isn't going to happen unless I win the lottery, get implants and Jillian Michael's moves in with me. (The latter would not be my first choice. I had to stop the 30 Day Shred because I wanted to throw things at her and I may or may not have cursed a lot.)

So, while I've fallen off the wagon the last few weeks thanks to crazed schedules and birthday madness, the last few months thanks to my lack of willpower and my child's sleep regression but there are just excuses.  I'm getting back on. My brother and my father both have been diagnosed with diabetes in the past year and Blake's mother was diagnosed years ago.  We have lost friends. We have lost family to awful sicknesses and diseases. We standby friends and family while they fight to survive and support them through preventable and not so preventable diseases and shortcomings.

My body created a life. My body gave me a new outlook on life by giving me my child. The best I can do is treat her kindly.

I used to want to look good for that sole reason but then again who doesn't?

 Now?  I want to feel good. I want my child to understand why we eat the foods we do. To be the best role model I can be. To run right alongside our children and to keep up! To keep the diseases we can prevent at bay. More importantly, I want to be the best ME that I can be for my son.

Those scars and stretch marks? Those are battle wounds to remind me of why I need to treat her well. I am eternally grateful to her for giving me my son and it is my responsibility to repay her in this way.

To never let me forget how far we've come the last year and the hurdles we faced.

I think that the best part of all of this is that motherhood has taught me to appreciate my imperfections.
I know when I was pregnant, it was one of my bigger fears among many other things I obsessed over. I write honestly here (and hopefully not scare anyone, ha!) and I want to assure many of you reading that after it is all said and done and no matter what you look like in the end, you will find acceptance in yourself you never knew was there. Bringing a life into this world is nothing short of a miracle and we need to give ourselves credit for that. I know that you are probably reading this and going, 'yeah, whatever' but it will happen. It won't happen over night but it will. I think it took me at least a year to come to terms with his birth, the complications and everything else. Once I was able to move past that I was truly able to accept my imperfections. I know as mothers we put a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves and that is a whole other post but motherhood is amazing in this way.

As I have said many times before, motherhood has made me a better person. This is just another amazing example of the beauty of motherhood and while we all struggle in different ways, we should all embrace it this way. I have a feeling at some point, all of you will.

15 months

Brady man,

15 months? Where has my little baby gone? If I asked you, you'd point to yourself and go, "me, me, me!"  
Each day little man, I see more and of a little boy and less of  the wee baby you once were. I can tell you that you have changed so much over the last month! It's not been the easiest month as you now have TWELVE...I repeat T-W-E-L-V-E teeth. It seems like yesterday you gave me a sweet gummy smile!

"Me! Me! Me!'

Your vocab blossoms everyday. You have so many words, I'm not sure I even know all of them. Eh Do No (I don't know) and 'Oh no!' new staples around here. Giraffe, Bra (zebra), dog, more (you wont say it unless I ask a 100 times,) Roar (lion), Amy, 'all done' There are so many more, I really just can't keep up!

You have also caught on to the fact that my name is not just momma but Amy. I hear you saying it around the house, in the car and at Target. In the car the other day, I heard you say, 'momma! Amy! momma! Amy!'
I know how smart you are but this just amazes me but I really wish you would go back to calling me momma. Mommy, ma, mom. Those are good names too.

 You can point to your eyes, nose, ears, belly, teeth and hair. This is what happens half the time we ask you to point to your nose.

You are always on the go. You never stop moving and are such a busy bee. This month you officially have lived up to your the whole toddler thing. Trust me. I'll spare you the details but one word has been rampant this month: Tantrums.
You love to do 'big kid' things and you want to do them yourself. Brush your teeth, put the lid on your sippy cup, talk on mommy's cell phone, 'clean' and  use your ball popper to 'vaccum." The broom is still a favorite on your list and even though you have your own, mom's is still cooler!

 We've had a lot of snow this month but we haven't been able to get out to enjoy much of it since it's been SO cold. You love to watch out the window and in your eyes, I can see the anticipation of spring. I can't wait to watch you run outside and I am so excited for this summer than ever!
I think we are nearing the time for your first haircut. Your hair has been getting in your eyes and the back of it is starting to get super long (ok, it resembles a mini mullet.) Of course, momma finds every single excuse NOT to do it. It's snowing. It's Tuesday. It's too cold. I just love your curls. When your in the tub they spiral up and grow into the perfect little molded rings. They are so sweet just like you. 

 You are just into EVERYTHING! In case you forgot the Brown Shugga Incident of 2011 and the latest TP incident, mom remembers. In fact, I have it all on camera. I can't wait to show your girlfriends.

(not the best picture but I had to show you the cell phone bandit!)

You are just like your father and are drawn to all things electronics. Cell phones, remotes, turning the TV on and off, daddy's PlayStation controller...but mom's cell phone is your absolute favorite and taking it away makes your very, very mad!

You still love to read. It's always been one of your favorite activities but it's also mine. You bring one of your books (usually one with animals in it) and sit down next to me or on my lap. You crack up as I point to each animal and make the sound. Your monkey impersonation makes me literally laugh our loud and smile (video to come!)  ear to ear! You amazed me a while back when you said, "giraffe, Bra (zebra!)
You now will sit down by yourself and 'read' a book. Sometimes you'll lay down on a pillow with book in hand. Watching you doing this seriously melts my heart but it assures me you are growing up too fast!

You had your 15 month checkup the other day and oh boy, you are still a big boy! You have slimmed down quite a bit but you still weigh 25.5 pounds (70%) and are over 32 inches (89%.) I'm pretty sure you just went through a growth spurt because size 5 diapers are getting snug, size 6 shoes fit and your 18 month clothes are starting to get snug. I pick you up and you are definitely not tiny anymore!
 You melt my heart every single moment of your life. You come up behind me and just give the biggest bear hug or lay your head on my shoulder. Your new thing is blowing kisses and you dish those out to ALL the ladies.
 You love to snuggle with blankets and go, 'night night' when you find a pillow. You come to me blanket in hand and I wrap you up. You giggle and I remember a time when you were wrapped tightly as a newborn. 

 The past few months you think that hiding is so funny. Your laugh so hard and it fills our home and our hearts. It is so contagious and that smile is unforgettable. It's the first thing I see in the morning and what I dream about at night (um, if you let your momma sleep!)

Brady, I know the end of your baby days are nearing but you will always be my baby. You will always be there to make me smile and to fill my heart with pure joy.  I love watching you grow into this amazing little boy and I know one day I'll be saying the same as you grow into a wonderful man. (not too soon, ok!)

It used to make me so sad to watch you grow so fast and in a way it still does but each day you show me something new and make me so excited for each new day!

Love you to pieces my love.

Momma (or Amy)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Little faces of hope

I read about these two little girls on another blog. It's been a week or so since I read the post and  I cannot stop thinking about them or the other babies out there who live in a world without momma's, da-da's, or Amy's. :)

 To have a mother's eyes look at them and smile because they know a greater love.

To miss their mom when she leaves or to run to her with open arms.

More than anything, I wonder each day what it could be like for them not to know how it feels to be loved the way that I love Brady.

So, go on over and support these babies and others out there. I've always had a special place in my heart for children, more so with special needs but as a mom myself, I can't imagine a child being in this world without the kind of love that I feel for my child. It's sad and unfair that babies like Sophie and Clara might have to wait longer than other babies to find that love and security of family.
I know it's made me reevaluate some things in our lives and one day I hope we might be able to give a child a family that they've been waiting for...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More Tales of tantruming toddlers

I can only attest to a few of the millions of reasons why teething sucks but these are my top reasons why teething is no friend of mine.

1. Sleep? What sleep? Those teeth must decide to get up and party several times a night because there is NO sleeping going on in THAT room of the house. Not only does the teeth decide to wake up but they want to extend that party into the wee hours of the morning leaving mom feeling like she stayed up late partying but in reality spent those hours getting yelled at. I'm not sure about you but that is not my idea of fun.

2. Remember the awful witching hour from the tiny baby days? It comes back with a vengeance. Don't expect to get anything accomplished or contain any sanity from ooh 530-7:30 (lately 7:30 is bedtime here.)

Actually our night goes like this:
Brady screams at me. Hold his arms up to be picked up.
He screams at me because I picked him up.
I put him down.
He screams at me because I put him down.
He wants milk.
He screams at me because I give him milk.
He wants to lay on the couch at a 45 degree angle with his milk.
He screams at me for making him lay down.
Try to distract him with funny faces and fun toys.
Brady screams louder.
Bring out our friend Motrin.
Rinse and repeat until bedtime.

3. I can't even talk about this without cringing myself. Teeth grinding. Brady does it SO loudly that I can hear it across the room. I cringe. He laughs and does it again.

and again.

If you see a mom running down the streets screaming, that might just be me.

4. Tantrums. This side effect can happen at anytime or place and spare no dignity. Your kid wants to play with knives or throw canned good sat the cat and while you might not see that as a good idea, he on the other hand is quite pissed you took it away. Other things that can increase the chances of being yelled...well, just go back to #2.

 Teething just adds extra oomph to the tantrums. They get louder, bigger and extra flops are added to really make you crazy.

Yep. I'm pretty sure that these kids have their own blogs, toddlerbook, or some telepathic course that causes them to secretly plot against us.

I swear that Brady high-fived a kid at Target the other day but then again, I might be a bit delusional from lack of sleep and the constant sound of tiny teeth grinding.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Testing your strength

It is so funny how being a mom can test your strength on a daily basis in different ways. A while back, Brady practically shooed me out the door, I was hurt. It is a moment as a mother you expect to happen and when it does you are never prepared.

Then, a month or so ago something else happened and I changed my tone of thought completely. My niece has been watching him the past few months on Tuesday's for a while and he knows her and loves her. The week before, his grandma watched him and he didn't see her. She walked in the door and he smiled at her but as I left, I could see a bit of something unwavering.

I drove to my meeting and then I received a text from her. She said that he kept going to the door looking for me.  I carried that with me the whole day. I kept imagining him looking at the door with sadness in his eyes and my heart burst into tiny pieces. I later called her to see how he was doing and she said he was in such a good mood singing and dancing that the 10 minutes this morning he cried when I left didn't seem to phase him.

ME in utter shock and disbelief: WHAT? HE CRIED?
HER trying to make me feel better I think: Yes, only for 10-15 minutes and then he's been fine since.

Oh man.  Of course I was sad. I felt awful for leaving him and I wanted to never leave him again.

Later that day, I walked in the door and he yelled so loud my ears almost popped, MOMMA (back when he called me that, ha!) The pieces of my broken heart slowly mended back together. He was in a good mood. He was playing with her and giving her books to read. He was fine. He is fine.

Since then, each morning as I step out the door, Brady waves to me out the window. He gives me a goodbye kiss and hug but I can always tell I am keeping him from his fun and I go on my merry way.

You see, I'm not sad anymore. While I'll never feel 100% good about leaving my child, I know he is in good hands. He is safe but most importantly he feel safe. 

Crying or shoeing me away will happen, maybe tomorrow or when he's 25. It will happen again and as he gets older, it will get harder. As painstakingly as it will be, I will remember the laughter and smiles I see each day I get home to him.

 Brady is at the age where he understands that me walking out that door means I'm leaving. If I can't be there with him, I can leave him in hands I trust. Today it might be our sitter and someday it will be a teacher, or to a friend's parent for a sleepover, and someday even to his wife.

I think motherhood is like that. It's the difficult moments like this that strengthen you as a mom. It makes you stronger and it makes you a better mother. Either way, it changes you.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


This is near and dear to my heart. I have worked with children with developmental disabilities since I was 19 and the message in this video is amazingly beautiful. Inspiring, full of love and hope.

My son will be raised accepting and loving those of all abilities and it is our duty as parents to teach that. In what I do, I see and hear so much of the opposite but families tell me that acceptance is spreading.  I think that is what we all crave at some point in our life and these amazing little souls deserve that.

If you can, please donate to the Oneder fund. It goes to the National Down Syndrome Association, and if you can't donate, pass this on. Let's help meet the goal!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Little letters to keep my sanity

To the person who not be named that birthed my husband;
 I am not pregnant. I have not been pregnant in over 14 months. You know, since oh the day I birthed my son.  So, I'm sorry to disappoint but Brady is not spilling any family secrets. He is not lifting up your shirt and saying baby. He is saying belly. I can understand and interpret toddler speak so trust me on this one

He also is not kissing your belly. Actually, he is trying to bite it. He will bite anything he can find; your arm, your nose, your big toe and even your boob if it gets in the line of fire. So, watch out. Those suckers might be little but they are nothing to mess with. Trust me, I stuck one in there today and almost lost an index finger.

With love,
 The not pregnant and wife of one of the babies you birthed.

Dear baby Tylenol,
 I love you. Thank you for existing in my molar hell.
 with pure appreciation and adoration,
Momma of a molar sprouting baby

Dear Brady,
Yes, my name is Amy but I am your momma. Please go back to calling me momma and not by my surname.
ps. I know you are busy growing FOUR stinking molars at once but can you sleep again at night, please? w/ a bag of brown shugga on top?

To any teenager thinking of ever having sex,
First of all, don't you watch Teen Mom? IAnyway, I am starting a teenage abstinence program. Ha, you laugh now. Just come spend the day with my (FOUR at a time) molar sprouting baby and I think you get why I am starting the program. It works. I can guarantee it. We will let you enjoy several lovely night wakings, a wide eyed baby at 5 am, grocery store meltdowns and the biting rampages all WITHOUT a single dose of relief bringing Tylenol. While you are dealing with that you will have to look presentable for work, write and get that report in by the deadline for work, make dinner, do 10 loads of tiny pieces of laundry without loosing a pair of baby socks, make sure the house doesn't look like WWII hit, cure world hunger and keep said baby happy all at the same time.

Sound scary doesn't it?

If you are still interested, please seek psychological help immediately.

The management

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When momma steps away.....

Brady has a pretty damn good time. It all started when I went to the other room to ::gasp:: go to the bathroom and I found this.......

and a whole lotta this:
I decided it was a good time to learn how to clean up
 He decided he was over that whole 'cleaning' thing
 This was much better than cleaning.

If you see a toddler bouncing off the walls and running around like a wild man, that's my kid on his first (oh yes, birthday cake!) second sugar high.
 Whew, making messes is hard work. I'll just sit down for a while.....
 Right here looks good. Right in this big pile of brown shugga
 Never mind, must eat it all before Momma Amy comes back.
 Hmmm, why are my fingers stuck together?

Oh, man! The fun is over!

I'll show her.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tales of tantruming toddlers and other ramblings

We FINALLY had the Urologist appointment for the 'lump' I found on Brady's bits. It is a cyst and it should resolve on its own. Whew, whew and whew.  I'll spare my kid some humiliation but I'm just glad for it to be over. I am so not looking forward to puberty. This kid is staying a baby, forever! I had convinced myself he was going to need surgery and I've never felt more relief ever! Whew.

Remember those damn molars I've been complaining about? One of those evil bastards finally made it's way through. How did I know you ask? My kid was throwing himself down in a temper tantrum today at the doctor's office because he was tired, hungry and I wouldn't let him poke at a tiny newborn. While he was flailing on the ground, I saw the little sucker poking through.

This weekend, I stopped my child the second before my shoes were dumped into the toilet. That is something I never thought I'd say. Then again, I never thought I'd have two people stare at my kids nether regions and go, 'hmmm, let me feel it' Motherhood takes you to some strange places.

Then, I took him to the grocery store and the kid bit a chunk out of a bag of marshmallows, a tomato and an avocado. Yeah, the 17 year old cashier may or may not have given me a look like, 'don't you watch your kid?' Then, I gave the kid the 'I'm sorry but my kid is a maniac and you just wait.'

I believe my 14 month old called me, 'Amy' yesterday.

Organizing and toddlers are not compatible. Taking down the tree and putting ornaments while your child is taking them out and trying to throw the 'balls' does not make for a productive day.

I do not believe that is is a coincidence that the only animal my son knows the 'sound' it makes is a monkey.

Monday, January 3, 2011


I'm sure many of you have heard about the tornado's that hit the Midwest this past weekend. Today, I'm feeling more grateful and aware of a higher presence.  I can also say human generosity is a beautiful thing.

One of our friends lost his home in the tornado on Friday. When I say lost his home, I mean it is GONE as in there is nothing left but pieces of the foundation.

I had a chance to see it today and my knees were shaking the entire time. There was an angel there with them that day. I'm pretty sure I know that angel and can bet he had a part in it.

He told me the story of how they crawled into a small crawl space with his girlfriend, his father and their nine month old son. How he was working that day and stopped home to make sure his girlfriend knew that there was a tornado warning. How they should be planning a funeral.

Then, he went on to mention baby pictures and how in the rubble they hope to find them. I had to try not to loose it. I know how devastated I would be if I lost all of Brady's. Some things are not replaceable and hearing him say that is hard.

As I sat there talking to a friend who just lost everything he had, he was talking about how blessed and grateful he is to be alive. That put a lot into perspective for me as I  now sit here in my warm home full of stuff and overloaded with baby toys. It could have easily been us. It could have been you. He is so grateful just to be alive and here I was wondering what we are going to have for dinner. If I feel like doing the dishes and the laundry.

I know that I have not always taken all tornado warnings seriously but that has now changed and I hope you will too. I hope that you know what to do in case of a fire, or an earthquake. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not and many of those people have children.

For a tornado, click here, Fire and other emergencies to learn how to stay safe.

Count your blessing because they are plentiful.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A fresh start

Nope. No end of the year wrap up here.

I thought about it and started it but I couldn't go any further than January. We had some amazing moments.

Moments that will be ingrained into my soul for a lifetime but honestly, there are moments where I just cannot go back too. I'm sure most people would say it might be cathartic to do so but the holidays showed me what we were missing.

Who we were missing.

I can honestly say that I feel like I was robbed of my naive former self. I was blessed not knowing what it was to grieve, to experience loss. I had never seen a dead person before and I can't say that their faces do not haunt me because they do.

I know what can happen and I won't lie and say that it hasn't changed me. That it hasn't made me more of a helicopter mom. When I found that lump on Brady, the immediate thoughts ran through my head were awful. When I found out a client of mine mom was diagnosed with a terminal disease, I found myself terrified of leaving my child behind.

The past year has been a test of strength to say the least. It has made me who I am today and even when  faced with adversity, I will get through.

 I will be okay.

We will be okay. It was hard for us as a family but even more difficult for us as a couple but we weathered through. We are stronger and we can get through anything.

I realized that life is too short to live unhappily which sparked my decision to apply to graduate school. As we watched Matt graduate two months before his death and even though he had to make a lot of sacrifices (move away from his friends and family,) we knew how determined and important it was to him. I can thank him for pushing me to do this.

I realized that the moments we have in life are not to be discounted.

So, as we say good-bye to another year, I say good-bye to my old self. The girl that was naive in believing that life is easy and indefinite. I'm a new woman who is not weakened but strengthened by all that life has given me.

I say hello to a new year and a year full of surprises yet to come. A year to watch  my child grow and blossom into beautiful soul he is. New words. New experiences. New moments.

 A fresh start towards a new career.

A fresh slate to write my story.

I know that there will be hard times ahead. What is different this time is that I know I will get through and I will always come out ahead. We will always come out ahead.

Hello 2011!
You are going to be great!