29 November, 2012

For better, for worse

Though these are not the preferred version of the Catholic marriage vows, we are all familiar with the similar vows to these in the secular world,
Priest: (Name), do you take (name) for your lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?

Bride:  I Do.
These last two or three weeks has been a trial against every aspect of our marriage vows.

For better, for worse...

I just came off my busy season for work. I was tired exhausted, cranky, and drained in every aspect.  I was running on empty.  This coupled with the everything else that happend this week (see below), I wanted to give up.  Not on my marriage, not on my daughter, but on myself.  I wanted to lock myself in my room for a month.  I cried in public. I cried at bible study.  I cried talking to my cube-mates.  Worn thin.

This morning Eric calmly said to me, "I know you're exhausted but I don't appreciate the attitude you've had with me the last few afternoons.  It makes me not want to help you."

As much as no one ever wants to hear that they're in the wrong, I am thankful that my husband takes our vows seriously enough to call me out on things like this.

For richer, for poorer...

We are abundantly blessed that Eric's company gave him warning this summer that his job had an end date.  He suspected this was coming and had already started networking.  He found a new job, though a bit of a pay cut and a much longer commute, quickly. They let him stay at his old job long enough to earn his bonus.

The new job started right as I was in last week of my busy season.  Transition on top of stress. Oy!

To make things fun (and more complicated) we were days away from closing on our first home.  Running budgets and numbers, credit checks, paying for all sorts of incidentals.  It's all the minutia that I am so thankful that Eric has a knack for.  If the financials were up to me...um...we'd probably be living in my parents attic. (Nerds and free spirits, unite!)

In sickness and in health...

As if things weren't complicated enough with a new job, new house and my work finishing up...we had a few health set backs:

  • I was diagnosed with adult torticollis which led to a series of issues with my neck and shoulder.  I have been in rehab and visiting a chiropractor 1-4 days a week for several months.
  • Eric has had an on going issue (I'll spare you the details) for two years, for which surgery was the last and final option.  The surgery was Wednesday the day after we closed on the house and the day before Thanksgiving.  He had some minor (if not being able to pee is minor) complications on Thanksgiving and ended up in the ER that night.  Thankfully we had agreed to stay at my parents house for a few days. This way they could take care of Evie while I was taking care of Eric.

  • While the house closing, moving, surgery and Thanksgiving extravaganza were taking place, Evie came down with a stomach bug which included 3 days of throwing up and spiked fevers at night followed by 3 days of, ahem, things flowing freely from her bottom. (I wanted to scream, EVERYONE KEEP YOUR BODILY FLUIDS TO YOURSELF)

While I might be at my breaking point with puke, lack of sleep, boxes and a husband on the mend, I can't help but be blessed and Thankful.

In a quick conversation with Monsignor today, he and I were laughing over my dramatic situation and I teared up telling him how thankful I am for my parents, family and friends, he pointed out that I should never take it for granted. How blessed we are to have people we can rely on to pick us up when we need it.  Amen to that!!

I am incredibly thankful for every load of puke covered (Evie) and blood covered (Eric) laundry that my parents did this weekend. For the meals they prepared and that friends have delivered.  

For the brothers that hauled truck loads of boxes.  For the movers who worked quickly, carefully, and cheerfully. 

For the house (I keep squealing with excitement!). For our jobs.  And for my faith in God who carried me through.

Sorry I don't have a more fun Thanksgiving update, something like last years...but even a new house doesn't top a newborn!

20 November, 2012

What do you do for a real job?

My fellow youth ministers and I regularly get asked "What's your real job?"  Or, "It's so nice of you to give up your weekends in college to have the teens hang out at church"

Never mind that the three of us are married, some with kids, and all with degrees related to our field.

Though work as a youth minister is never over, the busy season of my work as Confirmation coordinator at a large parish is over...

5 months of insanity, collecting paperwork, 

talking to parents,

coordinating schedules for 27 high schools and 204 students,

recruiting chaperones,

keeping kids holy,

rationing the donuts for myself the teens,

retuning 3500 emails, planning a retreat for 200 with support staff of 40+, 9 weekly classes, and 2 Confirmation Masses with the bishop....

I joke and kid about these things, but in reality I LOVE LOVE LOVE what I do, and I love the miracles I witness in teens lives.  After months of our hard work to see things like the guy who finally has a heart to heart with his dad, the girl who thinks twice about her clothing choices, the reluctant teen who surrenders all to God...the chaperone who sees that faith isn't just a head thing...

So worth it.  

But all good things come to an (seasonal) end.  I need these few months of down time to pick myself up spiritually, physically and emotionally; and to prayerfully prepare for the next season of Confirmation preparation.

 *yawn* it's time for my long winter's nap.

07 November, 2012

Photo shoot: The Edwards

The mom from my first non-family photoshoot referred me to a co-worker.  I was excited to work with someone other than Katie and Sam or my sweet Evie.

Their daughter Kaylee was such a ham.  She was so fun to follow and shoot in action.

The parents wanted some 18 month pictures and a few family shots to use for their Christmas card.  They had no real style, look, or feel they were going for.  I tend to shoot more "lifestyle" than posed, so I went with what I was comfortable, but I had a few poses in my back pocket. And by back pocket I mean this app on my phone.

Right as we hit a stride with Kaylee's portraits and tried to transition to family photos, she had a meltdown. She wanted nothing to do with her mother.

And once we finally got her comfortable with mom and then dad would enter the scene, she'd start all over again.

I improvised and did my best to work in some shots of her with each parent.  I think I only ended up with one or two family shots that were even worth editing.

It was great to get out and practice shooting a family of three with a busy little girl.  I also practiced working in catch light and lens flare.

By no means am I ready to offer my services or charge for them, but I now look forward to the challenge when someone asks me for a practice shoot.

06 November, 2012

Evie: Eleven Months

Weight: guessing around 25-26
Length/Height: 30+ ??
Eats: 3 full meals, 2 snacks, 30+ oz of formula, 8-10oz of water
Diapers: busting out of size threes, still rocking the cloth diapers 95% of the time
Clothes: 18 months in tops and dresses, 18-24 in bottoms (thanks fluffy butt!)

Firsts for Evie
Sept 11
pulled up to standing once

Sept 18
regularly pulls up to standing

Sept 20
can transfer from couch to table

Sept 25
Trip to the botanical gardens

 Pulling up
Walking with help
Sits down from standing 
Transfers between toys/couch/table

New foods:
bacon, baby gouda, PB&J

Dances to music or on command to the word "dance"
Curious about what is in boxes, baskets, purses, and will sit for 20 minutes cleaning them out
Will play by her self for a while or "read"
Gaining balance and confidence
Responds to verbal commands or questions like, "Where's Daddy?" or "Go get Delaney"
Imitates our gross motor skills like shrugging, or trying to do yoga but still isn't clapping

iPads, smart phones
playing in the swings
digging through boxes and bags

having her hair rinsed at the end of bath time
going down the slide
balloon "artists"


Evie is finally sleeping through the night!!!  She goes down around 8pm and wakes up around 7:30 am.  Occasionally she'll still need a bottle or diaper change during the night.  Switching to a night time disposable diaper really helped. 

She's in a pretty easy routine for wake up, meals, naps and bed time.  She knows the drill now.

I was thinking the end of the two-a-day naps were around the corner, but some days she still takes two 2 hour naps.
What they say...

"Oh Elizabeth, she looks just like you!"
"Is she always this good?"

We are...
 Ecstatic about the new house
Still mourning the selling of the Jeep, but having two cars Evie can ride in is a serious blessing!
In denial that we almost have a one year old!!
...not going to keep up with monthly updates after one year, these are exhausting (but I am so glad to have them!)

**I'm so sorry for the disappointing lack of photos.  I have been so busy with work I just haven't been behind the camera!

04 November, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Little B's big Halloween debut was a few weeks ago at a Fall Festival with her Aunt Leeann and Uncle Dan.  When actual Halloween rolled around, it was all my sick-with-the-flu-for-a-week brain could do to make sure all the costume parts made it into the same bag.
On Oct 30, Evie and I went to the Mom's group Halloween party at the Church. We only stayed for about 25 minutes.  Since Evie is still not a walker, yet weighs 27 pounds, I just can't hold her for very long.  We had fun saying hi to our friends and to my co-workers.
Actual Halloween day we went to my parents house for a pizza party with my sister, grandparents and mother-in-law.  Evie dressed up (this time we forgot her black undershirt. Thankfully she was wearing a purple sweater!)

We took her for a wagon ride ( an early birthday gift from Grandma and G. Daddy) to the neighborhood cul-du-sac party.  All the kids looked so cute in their costumes.  Some of my favorites were a family of superheros and a little with a pilot costume. Brilliant: store that candy in your rollaboard, girl. 

Evie didn't last too long since it was chilly and her supper time.  We went back to my parent's house for dinner and took turns passing out candy from their house.

Happy Halloween, y'all!

01 November, 2012

Before we say good-bye

As we flip the calendar to November, we begin the twenty day countdown until we close on the house and move.

As I am preparing for this I realized that I've never shared an apartment tour with you.  Eric and I had planned on cleaning the place before we took pictures, but I am glad we didn't.  I mean, honestly, it's humbling to put pictures of my house looking like such a wreck and in the beginning stages of transition, but I think it will be fun to remember what our apartment looks like on the day-to-day of my busiest week of the year.

Welcome to our apartment! The entry way (right) and the hallway to Evie's bedroom and bathroom (left)

Evie's Bathroom / Guest Bathroom

Evie's Room.  Evie shares a room with our storage area and bike racks. I cannot wait until she has her own room and we can paint!!!

 In the center of our apartment is the kitchen, living room, dining room.  The last two-three months Eric has turned our dining room into an office.  He moved the table against the wall and covered it with computer gear.

The living room...full of toys, laundry, curtains that were pulled out of the wall.

And finally, our room.  Don't you love my giant candy cane body pillow??

And somehow I forgot these gems in the collages... Our bathroom. (Y'all I cannot WAIT for our new bathroom)

And the refrigerator (one of these days I want to do a blog link up called "What's On Your Fridge" because I think it says so much about a family.

As excited as we are to move on to our first house (!!!) it is going to be hard to say good-bye to our apartment.  I have cried every time I moved out of some place, including my two dorm rooms and two Ghetto houses.  For a grand total of eleven moves (if you count the time my parents moved when I was a baby).

I don't cry because I will miss the place, I cry because I will never again set foot in that stage of my life and I cry because it's saying good-bye to the place where so many memories were made.

This apartment is home to many smoke alarms from frying bacon; our first furniture purchases; where the second bedroom transformed from a storage room and guest room to a baby's room; where we brought home our first baby; and (hopefully) where she learned to walk.

Geez, crying already and we still have three weeks!