30 December 2012

2012: the year in a word (or two)

i was reading another blog and the author had written a post titled "one small word". the idea was to sum up the year she had in one word. it was an idea that intrigued me so i am doing the same.

after thinking about it for the past couple days, i've settled on one (well, two actually).

roller coaster.

sounds a little scary, right? well, at times, this year has been downright terrifying. as in, remind-myself-to-breath-&-keep-moving, hold-up-those-around-me-because-there-is-no-way-they-can-make-it-on-their-own scary.

but then there have been moments when i've felt like i was absolutely flying. full of hope and awe.

i know that what i'm describing sounds like most years. it's life, right? full of ups and downs, no matter who you are and no matter what year you've just lived through. but this year, the concept has gone to the extreme on both ends of the spectrum. there have been so many moments when i've felt like i'm literally holding on to whatever i can, whatever hope i can muster up, so that i don't go flying off of this metaphoric roller coaster. i can't remember a year quite like this one. between moments like losing a pregnancy, watching my beautiful daughter turn one year old and continuing to grow everyday, losing T's mom, celebrating my parent's 20 year anniversary, and coping with ruby's developmental delays (and what other physical hardships she may or may not have??), this year has torn me down and lifted me up over and over again.

the good news is that within the last few weeks, i've come to a better place regarding some of the hardships. and while i'm still battling others, i am making the choice to focus on the moments of the last year that have given me reason to hang in there. incidentally, the other word the kept coming to me about this year was "hope". indeed, hope has certainly gotten me through some trying times. it is with hope that i move into 2013, along with a slew of resolutions (mostly small in task, but big in reward). i hope it turns out to be a much happier year. here's to doing all we can to making it so. i wish a happy 2013 to you & your's!

29 December 2012

snow bunny

ruby played in snow for the first time of her 21 months of life today. we have known that she's been a fan of the elements for a long time. probably since she was born. in the hospital, the nurses told us that ruby was given her first bath and they said that she did not like it at all. so when we got home and it came time to clean her up the first time, we were surprised to see that she loved it. since then, she's continued to really like playing in water. in addition, she gets super excited whenever the wind blows through her hair or the rain falls on her face. and then she was introduced to snow. we hadn't gotten much here yet this year but we got a couple inches last night and so she and i ventured out into it today. it was no surprise that she loved it from the start. she threw it in the air and covered her face in it, never seeming to mind how cold it was. and when it was time to go in, i had to drag her out of it. she seemed to have a blast. check it out!

all bundled up and ready for some fun


it's cool, guys. i'll just lay here in the snow.


oh, for the love all things warm and fuzzy, here's ruby's snow angel.


my favorite. becoming a big kid.

28 December 2012

better late than never: merry christmas!

we got some super cute pictures taken in december at a gingerbread house decorating party (i know!!). i even got little pictures printed out to send to everyone for the holidays...and then i lost track of time & didn't send them. fail. BUT there's always handy-dandy new year's card! win.
so, the family might get them that way, but until then, here are my favorites. enjoy!









27 December 2012

christmas happiness

can't believe how quickly christmas came & went this year. i don't think it helps that it was on a tuesday, either. we had a few years when it was attached to weekends & that was good stuff. anyway, while we are trying to get back into the swing of things, we are happy to have some wonderful christmas memories from this year.

ruby & i made the trek up to minnesota by ourselves last weekend. overall, ruby did great & we even dodged a big snowstorm so that was a relief. we stayed at my oldest sister's home and i got to see ALL of my family, which is no small task. all six of my siblings, plus 8 nieces/nephews, plus all 3 of my parents were in one place at one time & i LOVED it. the only draw back was that T couldn't come with us. but when we came back christmas eve, we got to spend that evening & all of christmas day with him, which was a wonderful time.

here's a photo bomb of some good times, christmas style!

ruby found her cousin's "um- ella!!" 


view from my sister's front yard. she lives in the country, which made for a perfectly relaxing trip.


fun with grandma della


cousins hard at work (aka unwrapping presents)


"holy crap!! check out my new ride! it comes with a WAND!" 


someone loves their auntie lisa


i can't tell you the sheer joy ruby had when playing at Bounce World. homegirl was losing her ever- loving mind. and also, i think i had just as much fun as she did. 


there is little more wonderful than the friendship found in a cousin.


"cheese!!" having lunch with her cousin, teagan.


omg.yay.christmas.toms.

25 December 2012

i am still here.

i think about blogging all the time. the past few months, well past six months actually, have been difficult at times. each time i think of coming on here to document about the latest happenings, i've stopped myself because i haven't wanted to wallow in the darkness and focus on the negative. sometimes it feels like if i express my deepest, darkest fears out loud, i'm somehow jinxing the worst to happen. makes total, logical sense, right? now would probably be a good time to mention that i tend to be a bit of a worrier and have been known to let my anxieties run a tad out of control.

so, one of my new year's resolutions is to actively & purposefully live in each moment and appreciate it as it is, to stop trying to plan everything or trying to imagine all of the possible "what if" situations that could arise in the future. i will be around "here" more often (another resolution) and will give more information as to what's all been going on with us. it's a lot to get into right now and i am sleepy tonight.

so for this evening, i will say merry christmas. and here's to a beautiful 2013!

22 August 2012

a mother's love

i haven't mentioned this here yet, but it's been almost 4 weeks since T's mom passed away unexpectedly. it was incredibly sudden. for terence and his family, it's been (obviously) devastating. life changing. i can only imagine what it feels like, what it will feel like one day when it's my turn to depend on terence. for me, it's been a shift in what life was like and what it is now. it's just... different. i've stayed focused on taking care of T and ruby, helping out however i can with his sisters and his dad. because of this, i haven't really let myself sit with how it has affected me. the few times that i've really let myself feel everything were when my friends or my family were asking about me specifically. it's really the only time i have let myself feel the weight of how sad this all is because all of my other time is spent taking care of others. which is really how i like it to be. it keeps me busy and gives me a sense of purpose. and it just lifts my spirits to know that i'm taking care of someone else who really needs the support.

going through this as a mother has been different than any other loss i've experienced before. as with everything else in my life, becoming a mother makes this experience different, harder, and sheds light on a new perspective. there is the quote that is something along the lines of "to become a mother is to forever go walking around with your heart on the outside of your body". that quote could not be anymore true. i can't breath just thinking about losing ruby. and to imagine the day when she will lose me? i now realize that the thought of that is just as paralyzing. to leave my little girl, who depends on me for everything, who (no matter how old she gets) will never know herself the way i know her, it's a thought that i just can't bring myself to think about for longer than a few seconds. and then i think of terence's mom. and i wonder if she thought the same things and i know she did. and i feel grateful that she passed away quickly and peacefully, without having to spend days, weeks, or months thinking these thoughts, wondering and worrying about how her babies and love will take care of themselves without her? it is comforting that terence and his sisters and dad are close. they've supported each other in the best way they know in the past weeks and they have been surrounded by friends and family who loved jeanne and will honor her by taking care of her family when she can't. and now i realize that ruby will have that, too, one day. and i can breath again. and i can be strong for terence because i know first hand the love of a mother. there is nothing like that kind of love. a kind of love that wants, above anything else in the world, for her babies to be happy. when i think of jeanne, i will forever be reminded of the importance of loving and caring for my children, in the best way i know how, and making the most of every moment with family because, as has it's been said  (and i'm paraphrasing here) the problem is that we think we have time. but we don't. we have today. and each other. and the memory of those who would have us make the most of the former and just love the latter.

16 August 2012

17 months

so, i feel like i just posted one of these updates, because well, i did. but no bother, ruby has continued on with this whole growing up thing. sometimes it delights me & other times it makes me tear up. but in either instance, i am still deliriously happy & in love her & our little family.

so, what is 17 month old ruby all about? here's a snapshot:

• she asks to listen to "sid" every time we get in the car. (as in, "sid the science kid" on pbs. we love that little nerd.) her favorite song is "checking out charts". no joke. she dances and hollers in her seat whenever it comes on. it's not cute at all.

• recently obsessed with movies. it's pretty adorable and provides a nice break for us every once in a while, too. current favorite: monsters, inc. (and as an aside, having a kid is like reliving my own childhood everyday. it's like living it all over again, through ruby. it's kind of awesome.)

• recently, she's become a little in love with her blankets. she asks for them at night time & puts one over head while i rock her. it's pretty hilarious. it's such a grown up thing to do - ask for a blanket. *sigh*

• oh, this is new & quite funny. lately, she takes any bottle of soap, water, etc & taps the top of it on the palm of her hand (like she's pouring it out), then she rubs her hands together, or pretends to rub the soap, water, etc all over herself. it's really the first pretend play she's done & it is so strange to see it & realize that, yeah, we have a toddler now, not a baby. *gulp*

• she just went through a growth spurt & suddenly fits in some of her 18 month clothes. yikes!

* still not walking consistently. she takes steps here & there. her pedi said she's not concerned & we will just see where she's at when we take her in for her 18 month check-up.

* did i say she's had her first play date, too? seriously, enough with the growing up, ruby! this is why i have no qualms with rocking ruby to sleep still. does anyone else see how fast she's growing up? before long, she won't want me to hold her or do anything for her. no, ma'am, i will rock my babe as long as she'll let me.

and lastly, here's some sweet shots i got this month. enjoy!

08 August 2012

slackin'

so, a couple months ago ruby turned 15 months. and then a month after that she turned 16 months. (funny how that happens, eh?) and although i took her monthly pics, i sure did slack off on updating it on here. so, thanks for your patience. and here goes!

ruby, lately...
• she is obsessed with balls, balloons, snacks, movies, & sid the science kid. oh, and "doggies!!"
• loves noodles of any kind, knows "chocolate" (she is my kid, after all), and doesn't want anything cut up in little pieces anymore. she wants to take bites off of bigger pieces, thank you very much and if you don't respect this request, i will throw all of your food on the floor & laugh about it.
• she is constantly taking objects, laying them down on the floor, & covering them with a blanket or towel. i thought she wanted a doll, but I guess she just likes covering things up. little nerd.
• peek a boo is still the most amazing game ever. she also likes to wrestle with her dad.
• taking more & more steps gradually. walking is clearly not a priority for ruby. it appears that she knows what she's doing, she just hasn't mustered up the courage to take off and do it all the time. but she's making progress.
• ruby had her first play date & basically spent the three hours torturing or being tortured by her bestie, ava. she wasn't so sure about sharing HER toys in HER house. ava's mom, becky, & i had a blast watching the girls attempt to play, although it was mostly just two wee ones doing their own thing. but a big part of play dates is getting to hang with other adults who can carry on an entire conversation about, say, sippy cups without wanting to gag themselves. it's great making more mama friends, too.
• ruby has been biting lately. she thinks it's a game. we are working on putting a stop to that. wish us luck.
• we got a new big girl bed for her this last week. it is super sweet (bc it's from ikea. duh.) my favorite part is that it's the same width as a twin bed and extends three different lengths so she can essentially use it until she's all grown up (shut up now. she will never grow up.)
• right now ruby is obsessed with pens, markers, and anything involving drawing. her favorite thing to draw on is definitely herself.
• lately, she's been really into music. her favorite books are the ones we sing through and she claps and dances along.
• and can i just tell you how overjoyed i am to report that she's finally sleeping through the night a few times each week. seriously. sleeping through the night?! yes! hopefully this trend continues. again, wish us luck. :)

and now, for the pictures. happy sweet-baby-ruby day! :)

04 August 2012

a girl & her soccer ball

a couple weekends ago we went on a family trip to babies are us. (always fun.) for a while, I've been looking for a doll for ruby because she's been acting out caregiving sort of behaviors (covering things with a blanket & rubbing/patting it, for example). we had been to several stores to purchase said doll but was having a hard time finding a doll that didn't need it's diaper changed on the regular, talk, or need to be given actual baths. i was getting a bit discouraged when i came upon a newborn cabbage patch doll. CPK FTW!

well. ruby had different feelings about
mackenzie (given name for super cool doll, of course). she wanted nothing to do with it because she'd spotted (oh holy bananas!) a BALL!!! which she proceeded to scream about until I handed it to her. and then this happened: ruby hugged her soccer ball, kissed it (with the full "mmmmwaahhh" kissy sound), and then got a death grip on that ball with her little fingers until we purchased it. she has since brought it to school to share it with her friends, chased it around the yard, and thrown it repeatedly at the cats (they have yet to catch it, but she's patient. i'm sure the. cats appreciate that.)

when she is playing with it in her car seat, she looks like this. oh, and yes, her soccer-loving dad is quite proud. :)

13 July 2012

an interview with my niece, maren. age 3.

what's your favorite color? blue
why? 'cause i don't like the dark.

what's your favorite movie? thomas.
why? 'cause i'm allergic to kittie cats.

what's your favorite time of the day? lunch time
why? because you can't eat toys.

what's your favorite thing to do outside? ehhh. ummmm. ooooh. play with thomas.
why? 'cause i can't eat grass.

what's your favorite thing about teagan (sister, age 5)? that she doesn't bite me.
what's your favorite about mom? she makes me laugh.
what's your favorite about dad? playing coyote with him.
what's your favorite thing about you? i like to not be a tornado.

what do you want to be when you grow up? a princess.
what do you want all of your friends and family to know about you? that i want to dance. and i don't like getting IV's, or poked, or blood drawed.

*i think that pretty much sums up what we all want from life. needles? no. dancing? yes.

21 June 2012

wordless-ish wednesday: fine motor skills? check.

i admit this is a little silly post. today, you get no super-cute-ruby post. instead, you get super-growing-ruby-skills post. i felt like this needed to be documented somewhere. this girl lately loves to draw. on anything. paper, the cat, her leg, you name it. i thought this little masterpiece was pretty darn good for our 15 month old lady. (and i was glad i didn't find it on the couch. i've seen her heading that direction with pen in hand more than once. can't say i blamer her - it IS a glorious blank slate. still waiting on the first "i made the wall beautiful with my art, mom" situation. i'm sure i'll post that, too, because, well, you know - me.)

15 June 2012

let's have a talk

so. i have been putting this off. you might have noticed since I haven't posted anything of substance in a few weeks.


i guess i'll just say it. we aren't planning a move to portland anymore. the plan is to move to minnesota within the next year.


this might not seem like a big deal and you might be wondering why i am being so weird about it all. before the recent post about our plans to move (ya know, the one where i kinda poured my soul out about how it is my biggest dream and stuff? yeah, that one.), i really hadn't talked much on this blog about how much i wanted this plan to come to fruition. i hadn't said that i was regularly checking PNW blogs, reading online newspapers and magazines from the area, scouting neighborhoods and rental properties almost daily, and studying/highlighting/being a total nerd with my "newcomers guide to portland (and seattle)" book. making the big move was something that i felt in my core was what we needed. well, maybe just me. i don't know. it was so important that i finally documented it on here, actually speaking truthfully to "someone" about how afraid i was that if we didn't go, i would spend my life regretting it.


then over memorial day weekend, we spent four days with my family in minnesota. ruby has gotten to spend a lot of time with my sister, lisa, and her family, but this was the first time that she was with many people in her extended family and really wanted to go to them and spend time with them. it was such a joy to see. as i've said before, i have grown accustomed to not living by my family, but seeing ruby with them and imagining her getting to grow up with her cousins really had an unexpected impact on me that weekend.


it's funny. life, that is. one day i can be feeling one way, totally settled into what i think is best for us, and the next day, out of the blue, feelings that pull me in another direction can creep up.


one thing i am happy to be able to say is that i know this choice is the right one. i am happy with the fact that ruby has and will spend the first couple years of her life with her dad's side of the family. she's developed a solid relationship with them and knows who they are, so she will always know and be close with them. and i am happy to imagine ruby getting into trouble with the cousins she has on my side for years to come, climbing trees and going on treasure hunts, eventually becoming the best of friends and confidants, as i did with a few of my own cousins.


but. it doesn't stop my heart from breaking a little each time i see a picture or memento from our trips to seattle and portland. it doesn't stop the fear that i might look back on my life in 20 years and wish we had moved still. and it doesn't take away the feeling of failure. not being able to realize this dream hurts. and that's really why i haven't posted anything much lately. letting go of that dream is hard to do. and putting it out into the world here, and with the few friends that i've told, means it's real. i wasn't ready to process it all yet. (says the therapist inside me. lol.) i've just sat with the feelings and tried to be mindful of where my head was at with it all, while allowing myself to grieve a bit. i know that sounds cheesy and super dramatic, but to me, it really has been a loss that i needed to deal with it.


now that i've worked through it all, i am able to look forward to the future. moving to MN is a much easier move and we have agreed that T will start looking for jobs in 6 months. it will literally take less than a work day to move our whole lives to a new place. and knowing that it will happen allows me to get excited about all of the wonderful parts of moving (seeing my family, like, during the week?? whaaaat!?) and prepare for other parts (ahem, more of the "s" word. ya know, the white, cold stuff.)


so. there it is. thanks for listening. and thanks for letting me get it out. here's to the future.

06 June 2012

wordless-ish wednesday: sunny day

took a day trip to lake geneva on sunday. sunday is always our family day. just the three of us get brunch and do something fun together. this day was really wonderful. it had all the components of a perfect day - my two loves, sun, and ice cream. :) and T took some pictures of ruby & i. i treasure them because i am usually the one taking the pictures so i am not typically in them. sweet moments with my ruby harper.

05 June 2012

i've been absent

...from this here blog. i'm working on getting some things straightened out and organized so i can get back into the swing of things. but for now i am going to crash & leave you with a little ruby love. :)

30 May 2012

wordless-ish wednesday: family

we had such a wonderful time with our sickels-side family last weekend. i took a crap-ton of pictures throughout the weekend, but this one is my favorite. ruby really loves her auntie sam. (and i think sam thinks ruby's kinda cool, too.)

22 May 2012

ruby: 14 months

well, ruby turned 14 months old last week & I can officially say that I *love* being a mom of a toddler. the more ruby grows & discovers, the more I love being her mom. she is a blast, constantly doing something new & exploring her world. don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the snuggly, tiny baby phase, but I also feel like this age is one of the most fun. it probably has a lot to do with me working in a toddler room in daycare for five years. I've got loads of songs and games up my sleeves and I don't get frustrated with behavior bc I know what is developmentally going on. honestly, when ruby was a brand new baby, I felt like I spent a lot of time guessing what was wrong when she cried and not knowing exactly what was going on with her sleep/eating/weight gain/insert any other milestone people ask you about. I'm sure the whole "new mom" thing had an effect on that, too, but let's just be honest - our kids get cooler everyday. :)

so, what's new? here are the deets:
• ruby has some stellar fine motor skills. the chick holds writing utensils like you're supposed to. like, the way I didn't learn until 2nd grade & not even then until I practiced with that positioner thing-y the teacher put on my pencils. (am I alone in that? anyone else remember those? actually, very helpful.) anyway, like with everything else she does, I'm impressed.
• ruby signs "more", "all done", & "eat" regularly. I need to teach her more signs bc she likes it & it saves us a lot of tears (both of us) bc I can understand her better. most of the time.
• she moved to her toddler bed officially - like, she has to climb up to her bed now. it's adorable. (ummm, of course it is.)
• still in size 3 diapers & in 12 month or 12 - 18 month clothes, although she still fits into some of her 9 ( and even 6!!) month stuff.
• she still eats pretty much anything. except bananas. not so much a fan of those anymore. strawberries are what's cool now. and oranges. and I think she might physically harm me, if I got in her way of eating ice cream. seriously. she comes by her sweet tooth naturally, though, that's for sure.
• current words: dad, mama, uh oh, bye bye, wow. she understands a ton. will do most things I ask her to do - go find her dad, bring me a book, etc.
• loves: reading books, dancing (with each index finger pointed up in the air), climbing, painting, splashing, anything sensory, and watching sid the science kid on PBS.

ruby rocks. she rules. and is such a sweet girl.

20 May 2012

our week in iphone pics: may 13th - 19th

this week was brutal. work was, i don't even know what work was. it was out of control. we are under-staffed right now. my position is supposed to carry two cases. right now i have eight. so, that's been fun. but, we've hired a few people that are starting soon and that will be sure to help. and to make up for the less-than-wonderful work days, ruby, T, and i have had some fun-filled evenings and weekends. check us out...
1. ruby has been pretending her cymbal is a pacifier lately. it kills me. 2. practicing
her "gentle touch" skills with the cat. who, i'm certain, will be eternally grateful
that i've taken the time to teach her such things. 3. playing peek-a-book with mom,
signing "more". (well, her version of "more" anyway.) 4. putting my sunglasses
on in the backseat. 5. we seriously need another gate. we have one at the top of
the stairs, but this girl has learned to easily scale the boxes at the bottom of the stairs
that used to stop her from such experiencing such adventures. she is on the move.
6. and speaking of doing "big kid" stuff, here she is practicing her spoon skills.
no big deal, ma, no big deal.
1. wrestling with dad. 2. "i just don't know, mom." 3. checking out the trees.
4. puttin' down an ice cream cookie sandwich. 5. we found a mallard (!) in our yard.
and ruby almost ate it. okay, i'm kidding. but she was did chase it around the yard.
poor duck. 6. family trip to alterra, our local coffee shop.

1. ruby sorta loved her first brewers game. 2. T was pretty proud of his girl
sportin' our team's hat. 3. and speaking of hats, it's officially summer when
little baby bonnets come out. 4. hello little yogi-sleeping-babe. 5. more sleeping -
dad and ruby catching some z's. 6. on the way to work, ruby paged through one
of her favorite books while i recited it from memory from the front seat (the skills
that we develop as parents are crazy!. the best part, though, was when we finished
the book, i could see ruby signing "more". so i recited it again, of course. :)

1. this ruby-sized water bottle is ruby's new best friend. 2. the behavioral health
program that i work for has been creating an art installation with the help of the
youth in our program. the youth did all the painting and this weekend the final
piece was assembled. it looks so freaking awesome. i hope the youth will be proud
of themselves everytime they see it. 3. it has been HOT, so i got ruby this ridiculously
cute pool. and then ruby continued to freak the heck out in excitement. 4. this girl is
getting really good at standing on her own. this week, she's started getting up all by
herself. pretty impressive. 5. she's a goof. 6. this is the i'm-watching-sid-the-science-kid-
and-can't-be-bothered face.

1. ruby isn't doing anything particularly special in this picture, but her outfit
is just too cute and i had to document it. 2. then i tried to get ruby to smile in a
picture with me and she mean mugged instead. thanks, kid. 3. here is ruby stealing
a bite of T's cinnamon roll. (and he doesn't look all that happy about it!) .
linking up with amy at a good life blog.


18 May 2012

flashback friday: besties

tonight, i'm shining a spotlight on two of my closest friends, lisa & hillary, and flashing back to a few fantastic girl's nights out. we all lived together for a couple years while in undergrad. those were the days, right? minimal responsibilities, staying up all night long talking about everything imaginable, IMing one another while just room away from each other, shopping, etc. the good times went on and on. eventually, we had to get real jobs and found ourselves missing the time we had together. so, for a couple years, every few months we would take turns traveling to one each other's houses to eat delicious food, drink wine, and simply reconnect. we haven't had one of our get-togethers in a couple years now but we made some sweet memories. love you ladies.

this was one of hillary's times to host. we booked a room at a hotel, got dolled up,
drank margaritas, and ate the. most. decadent. (and possibly most expensive)
 dinners ever. it was wonderful. and those beds? god bless fancy linens.
here we are in kenosha. lisa lived there at the time and we went to this italian restaurant
and then had drinks (are you seeing a pattern here?) and a sleepover at her house.
one of my favorite pictures of the three of us. this was in
milwaukee at a seafood restaurant. and yeah, there were drinks. ;)