My Creative Outlet?

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Today on my Facebook newsfeed, one of my favorite companies, gDiapers, asked a question, “What is your creative outlet?” I thought, and the things that came to mind were things that I wish I could do: Sewing, making crafty cute stuff, etc. But then I thought what my creative outlet used to be: writing. I like to think that I’m a pretty good writer. I have lots of thought floating up around in my head nearly all day long. Floods of words and inspirations and sadness and creativity float around in there, but sadly, these musings rarely make it on to paper. 

Maybe I should make it a challenge to write one small thing every day. Or at least once a week? 

Well, today I have something to say, and I’m going to try and say it!

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Sleepytime

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Bedtime for my son is usually pretty torturous. Not for him-but for me. He fights sleep no matter what we do. Even if he is so tired he can’t sit up to play, even if we do quiet activities leading up to bedtime, like reading or singing or just sitting and talking. He still throws a fit, just long enough to show he’s in control, just long enough to try to frustrate me. Then he starts wiggling like a little squirmy worm, trying to get comfortable in my arms, and then, somehow, he slowly succumbs to slumber, just after one final yawn. His eyelids gently flutter up and down with the rhythm of the rocking chair, getting heavier with every moment, until they stay closed. And as he lays in my arms to rest, my world is finally at peace, for just a few moments. There in a dark bedroom, in a cozy chair, with a precious gift cradled in my arms, I can finally breathe. I reflect on the day, I think about what I need to get done when I leave the room, and then I remind myself to just sit there and breathe and take a few moments just for myself. Sometimes I close my eyes, but usually I can’t close them because I can’t stop staring at the beautiful face, the chunky cheek squished against my breast.

I look at my sleeping son and I see the face of my daughter from 8 years ago. How fast the time has flown. How fast she has changed! She doesn’t fit in my arms anymore, nor would she want me to rock her to sleep anymore. Soon enough, my son will be the same. With that thought, I stay and hold him just a little while longer, feeling how much he’s already grown in just 9 months. His little torso used to only be the length of my arm, but now my arm only reaches to his mid back. His little feet used to dangle from my other elbow, and now his knees rest on the inside of my elbow and his whole leg dangles down. I pat his soft little thighs a few more times and give them a squeeze, and whisper to him: “I Love You little man. You are so beautiful! Good night.” And if he doesn’t wake to my whispers, I stand up, slowly, and gently place him in his crib, and tiptoe out of the room. I know I only have a few hours before I get to see him again. And a lot more work awaits me on the other side of the door.

This stay-at-home mom thing

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I have successfully completed my second week as a stay-at-home mom. It’s pretty fun! I don’t miss working AT ALL! I am caught up with my homework. I have evenings and weekends free to spend with my family and my friends. I am wondering why I didn’t do this a long time ago! Sometimes I still get that anxious feeling that I got when thinking about work. Then I just get to look at my kids and smile and take a deep breath and know that I’m in the right place.

I took these videos today. My little man is growing and learning so much! I am so happy I get to be a part of it. And I’m so happy that I get to pick my daughter up and watch my kids play together in the afternoons. They are such a joy!

Five years…

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Five years ago, I started out on a journey, having no idea how much my life was actually about to change. On August 19, 2007, I packed my car with 1 suitcase of clothes for me and my then-three-year-old daughter; 1 bag of her toys; a jar of peanut butter, jelly, and a loaf of bread; and a heart so empty I didn’t think even the biggest of miracles could ever make it full again.

I had just finished my Master’s classes, sort of, and my internship, and still couldn’t find a job anywhere in Illinois, so the plan was to take a three week road trip across the U.S., see some beloved friends and family along the way; and rest, relax, and then figure out what to do next. A good, long, drive always helped me clear my head. We would be home just after Labor Day, or so the plan went. As many of you know, things never go as planned-especially when it involves Barnards on a road trip.

On the first day, Nadia and I drove from Girard, IL to Colorado Springs, CO, about 900 miles, stopping for PB&J picnics along the way. First stop, to see Uncle Tony and Aunt Margie. We stayed with them for a few days and then headed to Salt Lake City (about 600 miles), stopping in Cheyenne, WY for a few hours to see the Cowboy Boots on display, and to have another PB&J picnic. Salt Lake City was beautiful, interesting. But it was there that the loneliness really hit me. I had my little girl with me, a 3 year old, that was probably the only person on Earth capable of understanding what I was feeling. Maybe she felt the same way? Directionless, confused, unsettled.

Next, stop? Vegas, baby. Yes, Nadia LOVED Vegas. My princess and I stayed in a huge castle, with a huge arcade inside, and waterslides and a pool and a donut factory. What’s not to love? She won so many toys and stuffed animals in the Kiddie Casino, and fell asleep around midnight that night surrounded by all her loot. Nadia still asks to go back to Vegas.

After only one night in Vegas, and only one pit-stop for PB&Js, we made it to San Diego, where we stayed with my dear friends, Fiona and Devon, a.k.a the Aunties. We toured around Balboa Park, went to the Del Mar Races, splashed around on the beach, went kayaking in the bay, took a short trip to Disneyland, I applied for a few jobs-just because it seemed like a fun, silly idea, and why not?

From San Diego, we started heading home, going the southern route through Phoenix. We stayed in Phoenix for two days, but before we left, I got a call from one of those silly applications I submitted in San Diego. They wanted me to come in for an interview. What to do, what to do? I decided I needed to go back and check it out. We stayed with Fiona and Devon in a small 2-bedroom apartment. It was tough to say the least, us stepping into their territory, and them allowing us to invade their space.

That first interview didn’t pan out, and I didn’t know why I was staying there. Maybe I was just didn’t want to go “home.” Maybe this city was my new “home” and I needed to make it work. One thing was for sure, the vacation was over, and I had some real decision-making to do. I don’t know if it was stubbornness, or determination, or just plain stupidity, but I knew I had to make it work, though I constantly questioned whether it was the right thing to do. I had nothing, but a little girl, a suitcase, a car and two best friends.

I enrolled my daughter into a daycare, where she was the only white child. I had my mom send me some dress clothes so I could go to more interviews, and perhaps take things a bit more seriously. After just a few weeks, I ended up with a job at Qualcomm. It was a company I had never heard of before, and a company I didn’t really want to work for (I’m not much of the Corporate type), but it was a good paying job with good benefits. Not what I wanted to do forever, but it’s what I needed to do to get by, and hopefully it would mean we could stop eating so many PB&Js. Nadia and I found a little 1-bedroom apartment, wheeled in our suitcase, and we were fully moved in. Life as we know it, was forever altered. I knew I had broken the hearts of my parents by moving so far away and by taking their sweet granddaughter, whom they helped me raise, so far away from them, too.

After taking such risks, I was even more determined to make things work. We struggled, but we also had lots of fun. For the first time, I actually had to be Mom. My mom and dad weren’t around to play parent to my daughter, so I was the family leader, and my decisions were the final say. Whatever I decided would affect our future. Scary, but it really made me start to feel like a grown-up. Well, that, and the purchase of my very own first couch.

Looking back on things now, I don’t know what the heck I was thinking…but perhaps it was a good thing I wasn’t thinking. There have been some great things to come out of such a tough transition. My bond with my best friends has just gotten even stronger;  Nadia has a great relationship with her aunties; I am even closer to my parents (even though a greater distance separates us), and I made some more really great friends out here. Oh, and I met this guy. And he loves me for who I am, even with all of my quirky traits, especially my indecisiveness. And we got married, and we have another baby. And that emptiness I felt? Well, I don’t really feel it anymore. Knowing how it feels to love and be loved in so many different ways, as a daughter, a sister, a friend, a mother, and a wife; well, it’s pretty overwhelming sometimes. I am happy with how things have changed over the past 5 years. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have the freedom of the open road again; the choice to go away for awhile. But then I realize how full of life I feel and how much better it feels to be full, than to be empty. And I see the love that surrounds me, and I decide to stay.

What does the next five years hold in store for me? I do not know, but I know that I don’t face it alone. And I know Nadia and I will never eat another peanut butter and jelly sandwich again.

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Happy Easter

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Happy Easter to all of my readers (which is like 2 people!).

I originally started this blog as a way for Nicholas to be able to read about how life was when he was a baby. I am failing at keeping up with it. As much as I would like to document it all, life is just moving too fast and I’d rather spend these precious few moments with him and Nadia than busy blogging.

I did manage to get Nadia into a dress yesterday for a photo shoot. It was pretty humorous. She hated the dress I made her wear, so she wore hot pink leggings underneath in rebellion. It actually turned out pretty cute. She gave me lots of fake smiles, but Nicholas didn’t even crack one smile. My little mister is so serious for the camera, but after we were done photographing, he was non-stop giggles!

Happy Easter to everyone. You probably won’t hear from me until after finals are over!

 

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One more thing…

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Posting a pic for those of you that think Nicholas looks like Tony.

Yep, that’s my hospital picture! Nicholas looks more like me, but does resemble Tony at some angles. (If you click on the image, you will get a side-by-side comparison!)

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Feeling better…

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I have had a fever for the past 7 or 8 days and! I still have a fever but I finally feel better today!! I think we might even go for a walk.
Nicholas has been such a good baby this week. I think he is starting to learn how to do more things and has a longer attention span, so he is able to entertain himself more efficiently. He loves looking at toys and wiggling. He has a book with pictures of baby’s faces in is and he likes to check out the other babies and smile with them.
Here are some recent pictures…

I have an assignment due by Sunday and I haven’t even read the article yet. It’s too hard to concentrate. Blogging is a great way to procrastinate!
Happy Weekend!

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