The Last Bottle

 

When Garrett turned one we transitioned him from formula to whole milk and once that seemed to settle we started the process of switching him from bottles to sippy cups. To our surprise, as we replaced the bottles with sippy cups and condensed the number of feedings, he started to eat more solids and in turn sleep better through the night. In hindsight it makes sense, but in the thick of first time parenting every change and new process seems like a puzzle.

Over the course of a few weeks we had whittled him down to a single bottle a day, given at bedtime, and we knew he was probably ready to trade that out for a sippy cup as well.

Last Saturday we spent a banner summer day playing outside, reading books, taking walks, swimming, and eating watermelon. Levi and I gave Garrett his evening bath and I carried Garrett up to his room, his arms draped around my neck, his still slightly-damp hair curling, and his sweet, soft skin smelling of soap.

I rocked him and  gave him his bottle and after I laid him in his crib I padded down the stairs and started rinsing out the sippy cups from the day and the bottle I had just given him and I realized that I had probably given him the last bottle I would ever give him.

Steam from the hot water in the sink filled the air and I thought about the hundreds of bottles Levi and I had given him over the past 14 months and the daily routine of putting a kettle on to boil each evening to wash the mountain that grew throughout the day.

No more bottles, to me, meant he was really out of the baby phase.

I felt silly for being so sad over something as simple as giving him a bottle. But I think the weight of knowing I’d never give him one again–and that I didn’t realize that before giving him the last bottle–was at the core of it.

How many lasts will I miss and not know it to be the last?

Parenthood seems to be this joyous and tiring march towards our children achieving milestones, and celebrating and being so proud of them (and ourselves) when they hit them, but what no one tells you ahead of time is that is also combined with waves of grief for the passing of each previous stage our child was in.

Maybe the feeling is something you learn to expect and know. Maybe it’s not. As I already said, in the thick of first time parenting every change and new process seems like a puzzle. But as I pack up the bottles this morning I know that Garrett is healthy and growing and thriving, and that there is so much more to celebrate on the horizon than there is to be sad over.

 

Grab Your Gals & GO

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Two weekends ago I hopped on a regional airplane and made the 2 hour trip from DAY to MSP.

I was meeting up with five of my friends from when Levi and I lived in South Dakota. It’s been almost three years since we left our apartment in Aberdeen and made the 19 hour drive to Ohio and before we hit the road these friends and their significant others saw us off with a farewell dinner and housed us for our last night in S.D.

When chatter popped up about planning the trip last fall I immediately started entertaining all of the reasons why I shouldn’t go.

  • Garrett will have just turned one and I shouldn’t leave him.
  • I’ll be busy with work.
  • I’ll want to have a down weekend at home since summer weekends fill up so quickly with commitments.
  • I should save the money.

I wanted to see these dear friends who made South Dakota feel like home for us but I also did not want to “miss” what was happening at home.

Thanks to these ladies’ constant group messages and persistent planning discussions I booked my plane tickets. Levi assured me he, Garrett, and Gunner would be fine on their “man weekend” and to go have a good time.

It was so good.

When I got there we sat in one of our hotel rooms and talked for two hours while drinking champagne.

We ate at crazy restaurants–a Chinese Latin Fusion joint topped the list–don’t knock it till you try it because where else can you get amazing queso and kung pao chicken under one roof? We ordered over-the-top drinks, danced to piano music, ate late night pizza, shopped, attempted (and failed) at breaking out of one of those puzzling Escape Rooms, and talked and laughed and talked some more.

In the last three years there has been so much new. New houses, new jobs, new babies, and it was such a gift to come together with these women who are wives, mothers, and professionals and to share what all of that has looked like for each of us.

It was a gift to not have to grocery shop for a weekend, or make meals, or clean the kitchen after making said meals, or make sure that other human beings stay alive. It was a gift to get two uninterrupted nights of sleep and set a schedule based on our desires and not those of tiny humans or work deadlines.

It is so easy to put time for ourselves second to our families and careers.

Bottom line: It is ok to take some time for yourself.

It is not selfish to take a ladies weekend to recharge and reset. Do it now. Grab your gals and GO. Everyone and everything at home will continue to run. It’s good for the soul but it’s also good for perspective. Being away, even for a little bit, makes you cherish the daily routines of life even more.

Keep the ingredients for spaghetti dinner on hand… always

spaghetti and meatballs

Growing up my mom always had the ingredients for spaghetti dinner in the kitchen.

  1. Boxed Spaghetti (white, because it was the 90’s and the whole wheat craze hadn’t swept the nation yet)
  2. Hunt’s Canned Traditional Pasta Sauce
  3. Frozen Garlic Bread (sometimes she got fancy and would spread garlic butter on a loaf of Italian bread from the bakery and pop it in the oven)
  4. Bag of salad from the produce section
  5. Meatballs (she was ambitious and always made her own which to this day I find impressive. I’ve been buying frozen meatballs for a solid four years now)

It isn’t the most glamorous meal but it is delicious and filling and as I’ve learned first-hand since college, the best part about spaghetti dinner is that it can be prepared in 15 minutes.

A couple weeks ago I was texting with a dear friend about the perils of listing and showing a house with small children and obnoxious dogs. It was a Thursday evening, it had been a long week for both of us, and both of our husbands were caught in some ugly traffic and weren’t expecting to be home until well-after dinner. She told me she was making spaghetti and meatballs and that Garrett and I were welcome to come over and join them.

Garrett hadn’t napped all day, I was an exhausted mess, and I knew we wouldn’t be showing up with Anne Landers approved dinner behavior. But it was still a good two hours from bedtime and I hadn’t started to make dinner. So I looked in my freezer and saw a box of Kroger 3-cheese frozen garlic bread. I texted her to preheat her oven to 425 and told her we’d be over in a few minutes.

She opened the door and had a baby strapped to her chest and a wooden spoon in her hand. I had Garrett on one hip and the diaper bag and box of frozen garlic bread tucked in the crook of my opposite arm. I saw her and started crying and laughing hormonal, pregnancy tears of exhaustion and she hugged me. She pointed out that her toddler was watching TV so that was how well her evening was going.

We talked about how crazy life was, ate spaghetti and meatballs, salad, and garlic bread. Our children screamed and cried and rubbed sweet potatoes in their hair. And when it was bath time I packed up Garrett and she corralled her kids and we parted ways.

It might not have seemed like much but that hour and a half made a huge difference in my week and evening.

Spaghetti and meatballs is one of the ultimate comfort meals but having a friend who makes it for you when you’re having a stormy week is even better.

Invite a friend over even when your house isn’t in perfect hosting condition. Say yes to an invitation even if you aren’t in perfect visiting condition. Laugh at each other’s stories of dog poop disasters minutes before house showings and toddler tantrums and be reminded that you aren’t in this alone.

And most importantly, keep the ingredients for spaghetti dinner in your kitchen. Always.

 

Leap and a net will appear

FullSizeRenderWe may be crazy people.

We love our house and the neighborhood we live in. We have a 13-month-old and are 3.5 months pregnant with our second child. We both have established gigs in the area and plan to stay here.

And last week we listed our house.

Why? Because we may be crazy people.

But the market is also hot. Smoking hot. The house down the street from us sold in eight days.

We wrestled with the decision of whether or not to list ours for a week.

Will we find a place we like better? Do we really want to pack everything up and move it? All the pieces of silverware, and stacks of books, and pots and pans, and sheets, and old towels speckled with paint from being used as paint drop cloths that we’ve held onto for who-knows-what reason, and all the little matchbox cars, and blocks, and bulky plastic miniature-sized kitchens and workbenches with all of their pots and pans and hammers and screwdrivers.

Do we want to put ourselves through the showing process? All of the cleaning and packing up the dog and the baby and occupying them for over an hour at a time.

We weighed pros and cons and ran numbers and talked through the same questions in circles all the while prepping the house in case we did decide to list. One afternoon in the midst of this merry-go-round of a decision I was on a run to the store to look for a desk chair to replace the pink-striped paint-stained one I use (I swear not everything we own is paint-splattered). I didn’t find a chair but when I got in the car to go home there was a bumper sticker on the vehicle next to me.

“Leap and a net will appear.”

I called Levi and told him I think we should list it.

He asked if I could present further reasoning beyond something I saw on the fender of a Kia Soul.

I recapped everything we had talked about the past week:

  1. If we can sell it for the price we want it will be a good move.
  2. We’ll put a limit on how long we’ll keep it on the market and if we receive an offer we like in that amount of time, great. If we don’t, we’ll pull it and continue to love where we are.
  3. How do we know if we don’t try?

So despite not knowing where we’re going if our house does sell, and although it has been a challenging first few days of prep and showings, we’re trusting that it will all work out how it is supposed to. A net will appear.

After all, it’s not the walls that define a home but the love shared within them.

Crazy lady, out.

Thank You

IMG_4300Mothers are seen in the everyday moments we take for granted. Their love and sacrifice last decades after the countless diaper changes, scraped knees, bruised egos, and stomach flus tended to.

The endless weekends spent on gym bleachers, late nights pouring over math homework, and hugs and kisses given every single day.

The meals cooked (and sometimes ordered or picked up), the clothes cleaned, and the homes tidied day after day after day.

Those billions of small tasks and moments that are never seen or celebrated are what has made each of us who we are today.

The women who carried us for 9 months and were there from the beginning, and the women who cared not because they had to but because they wanted to, have made each of us who we are today.

A woman who has freely given her time and energy and love to someone else with no expectation of a return is a mother.

While mothers can be seen in their children in the slope of a nose, waves in hair, or a dimple in a chin, they are also seen in their children’s actions. We act based on what we learned from those who came before us.

Thank you to all the women who selflessly give guidance, love, and support to those in need. Thank you for lasagna and clean underwear and band-aids on scrapes. Thank you for confidence, patience, and empathy. Thank you for raising the next generation. Thank you for believing in a bright tomorrow and doing everything in your power to make it happen.