Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I love my two year old

I know I know I go for long stretches without blogging. Alas, I was sucked into the daily buzz and bustle of daily life in my new role as an adjunct. I do enjoy my new job and being called Dr. doesn't hurt!

It does come at price. I am having the hardest time separating from Isabel.  I find myself sitting at my desk gazing at her picture and wishing I could run right over and pick her up from school and cuddle her.

At first, I thought it was that I didn't like her school. After briefly pondering switching her, I decided to stick it out since she seems happy there and try to dig deep and see if its really me.  I think it is me. I think I would feel sad no matter where she was if we aren't together. But I do have peace of mind that she is happy and safe their and hopefully loved but not as much I love her!

I am actually a bit surprise I feel so sad at work. I thought maybe its because I *have* to be there instead of last year where I was working but it was flexible and more for me to finish my PhD.  I think while I like my job and adjusting to the new pace and expectations I don't think even my dream job would make me happier than while I with Isabel.

So if seems strange because last spring when I was finishing up and was going to be home for the summer, I will admit I was scared and a little nervous I wouldn't be able to fill up 7 days of the week and not be bored or frustrated with Isabel.  But the summer flew and was really quite enjoyable!

Her second birthday arrived quickly and it hit me harder than her first. I think its because the year went so fast and I just treasure her all the more every day!  *mush fest alert*

Her birthday was so fun, with Elmo, balloons, good friends, family and a perfect day of weather it couldn't have been better!

Everyone warned me of the terrible 2's and I felt ready. Isabel being one of the more willful kids I figured I was in for it.  But really, I am happy to say that she is taking well to correction (discipline more than re-direction), weaned during the day and though she has a ton of energy manages to listen and be patient as needed.

I just find myself really enjoying this age.  She is talking so much, sings, holds my hand, snuggles including when I pick her up complete with her head on my shoulder. It is just precious and makes my heart melt.  I just love her plain and simple and feel blessed for the joy she is and that she brings to me and her family!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Things I have learned this summer

You know, those cheesy essays your teacher would have you write on the first day of class? Well these are my musings on what I discovered throughout the course of the summer as a momma, student and friend.

1. This has been the best summer I can remember in a very LONG time.

And here is why:
2. We now live in a town with beaches, parks and friends within in walking distance practically.

3. The beach was our second home: I made it my mission to get to the beach at least 2-3x a week or any morning or afternoon it did not rain. Mission accomplished. Isabel and I are browned by the sun, sunkissed and rejuvinated. She overcame her fear of waves ( loved watching her point out the next wave to crest and saying 'bye waves' when she was done). I loved sitting by the water's edge building mud castles and having the sea water lap my feet. I loved watching Isabel run up and down the beach endlessly, discovering puddles, shells and other kids' cooler buckets/digging implements.  I loved how the beach tired her out like no other and enjoyed her 2-3 hr. naps (Oh yah DVR catch up).

4. Parks were full of adventure: I watched Isabel scale the playground structures with ease and slide on her own. We found two parks that are enclosed by a fence making it easier for me to sit and observe her without hovering or fearing she'd just take off (anyone with a toddler can relate).  Just today, I marveled at how she sits on a big kid swing and doesn't fall off (2 ft off the ground).

5. Friends have come along: I know that they always do but flashing back to January when we moved, I was pretty sad to leave my special group of mamas that basically know Isabel from birth.  Well, God has provided several great opportunities to renew old friendships.  I have really enjoyed the comraderie and fun we have had exploring parks, farms and new and old haunts.  What I have loved the most though is watching Isabel make friends.  It makes my heart swell that when we get up on a Tuesday she basically knows that a play date with Lizzie. She even has a special chair at her table where Lizzie sits and she tells me in the morning "Lizzie's chair, mama'. To that I nod and assure her we will see them soon.  And yes, I am guilty of using going to see Lizzie as way to proven dawdling to the car.

6. We went upta camp: I spent more time upta camp this summer than I have in 3 years.  I especially enjoyed how Isabel loved all the things I did as a kid, running up and down the camp road, swimming, picking blueberries,boat rids, eating dessert at gram's and going for walks.  I have such special memories of Maine and my family that also cherish it. Gram and Gramp glowed when Isabel was around and my mom just loved running her all around. I loved the down time and soaking it all in.

7. Visiting with family has been my mission this summer:  I saw J's relatives that were living abroad when they visited for 2 weeks almost everyday. It was special to catch up with the kids and have them meet Isabel.  Their youngest and Isabel really hit it off.  Also, I saw my Aunt and cousin from out of state and my grandparents who were upta camp all summer.  Its so important to me that Isabel knows her family and gets to see them as much as possible.

8. J and I got some down time: whether it was a quick dinner out or a movie, J and I got some time together which is highly under recognized as being important to a marriage.  We also made some really awesome family memories including trips to the beach, even a picnic at night one time.  We took Isabel for ice cream and wagon rides as well as to the farmers' market.

9.  I got some snuggle time and walks in with my pups: Its been different living in a more populated area that its hard to walk the dogs and Isabel. So lately, I have been walking them alone after she goes to bed and J is home. It has been blissful soaking in the salty evening air and watching the boats going down the river, imagining one day we will have a boat. Also, Isabel has been sleeping better so I have loved snuggling the pups.

10. I have gained perspective as a mother:  At the start of the summer, I had trepidation about being home every day all day with a busy toddler. I was in a certain routine and afraid I would not be able to keep days stimulating enough for us.  Let's be honest, some days especially at the start or when the weather was bad, felt long and somewhat dull. However, as the summer evolved, I made each day an adventure and challenged myself to do different activities and new things.  It would have been easier to watch Mickey Mouse Club House 10x than lug all out stuff and Isabel to the beach or bake in the heat of the park play ground but so worth it.  I know she is young but we are setting up patterns and still making memories.  We bonded through our activities and her language is exploding. It is so fun to see what she will say and how she makes connections.

Ending this summer has been unexpectedly harder than I thought.

I figured I would feel sad and dread going back because I was in a new job and all that first day jittery stuff would get me.  I thought I would feel ready for her to go to school because after all we were getting on each other's nerves a bit.


Starting back this week has been rough.  Starting with Isabel getting her suit and towel first thing Monday morning and saying 'Beach, mama?' gah, that hurt.  Can't say I didn't cry hard after J took her to school and honestly its Wednesday and I am still crying.  Unfortunately, we are all sick with a cold now and she got several bug bites (none until now for the summer) so its has turned me into obsessive over protective mamma mode or oopmm for short ;-). I am so scared she'd get a mosquito born virus or hate school or something.  But just in Isabel fashion she surprised me Tuesday when we got to school she jumped down out of my arms and said 'bye momma' and blew a kiss.

I guess she was ready.

I should note that I am not working full times, but 3 days a week so I can savor the two week days we have. I am however, starting a new job that will be more intensive and stressful. So I am feeling torn over the whole start of the school year.

In the end I am taking stock in this summer. Leaving it on a high note and with many many many memories to cherish for my lifetime.

So its bittersweet but necessary.  In the end, I know my working is good for Isabel. I am starting in a career path that will help her become college educated and hopefully have a mom who is a good role model for her.

*sigh* but it doesn't make taking her to school tomorrow *feel* easier.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I said I wouldn't do it

Be that mom that tears up at commercials (i.e. PG Olympics commercials really got me oy!) or when they go off to school. But just the *thought* of Isabel going to elementary school brought me to tears this morning.

J and I were getting her ready for 'school' at her new daycare today I just marveled at how grown up she looks to me. J said 'just think in a few short years she will be off to school' gah!!!!! I just teared up and hugged her.

Growing up, its a necessary part of life and I am not trying to slow it down or squelch it but at the same time I can't ignore it.

I love every stage of Isabel's life so far. It just keeps getting more fun. That is not to say I don't have my moments of frustration with her like when she takes off a poopy diaper and runs around the house with it, or she reaches over and pinches me when she doesn't get what she wants, or when she refuses to nap or go to bed.  All in all though, the great outweighs the bad, as it should!

At the start of the summer when we changed gears and I went from p/t work to full time stay at home mom, I felt a little scared. I wasn't sure I could fill our days with activities, structure and enough fun to not be bored, frustrated and cranky at times.  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to find fun things to do and enjoy our days. It does take conscious effort not to wish away the day and to stay engaged. There were days where I didn't want to even look at play doh or finger paint.  But the days we spend at the beach are priceless, and fleeting.

I know this *tear*.

And yet, I am going to make the conscious effort to hold onto the good and precious moments and welcome the future ones.  I am trying to take this approach so that it doesn't sting so much when I look over and see my baby growing before my eyes.  Not that I want to go back to the newborn days but it just reminds me how fast time goes.

We visited where I will be teaching in the fall which is also my alma matter last week and it hit me that she will be in college before I know it.

I treasure my days with my girl and the more time we spent together, the harder it is for me to let her go. I find this to be true of all the people I love, especially my mom and sisters.  Its easy to get set into routines where we only visit a little bit here and there but there have been times in the recent past where my mom and I or my sisters and I have spent longer periods together and feel twinges of sadness when it is over.  I guess that's how you know you really love someone, when you long for more time together.

Anyway, I am happy to see my precious Isabel growing up but its not without a twinge of sadness. I wish I could pause time sometimes.  She's the best and I am so glad we had the whole summer together!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday well almost

Cherishing summer days:
When its the middle of winter, I will soak in the memories of sitting by the shore as waves lap Isabel and my feet and we built sandcastles and soaked in the summer sun

Idyllic day, picking blueberries and enjoying the day, these are the days I love

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Weeks like this week make me feel

Thankful.  Proud. Like a good momma.

Here is why.

I have been slowing down, really taking in the moments with Isabel. There have been so many little moments that just make me smile.

Here are few:
1. 'Sorry mama' Isabel looks into my eyes and says sorry if she thinks she has hurt me or if I cry (not often)
2. 'sicle? mama' Isabel loves popsicles and I don't even mind the stick mess it makes
3. Isabel loves her family, I love watching her give kisses and hugs to her family and talk about them even when we are not with them, and asks 'mimi'. 'auntie', 'nuno'?
4. Watching Isabel experience new things like jumping waves at the beach, floating in her life jacket at the lake and getting braver in the water
5. Watching her face light up on her first boat right with 'mimi' and great 'papa', loved that sweet moment in Maine.
6. Watching Isabel run around galloping after the dogs in the yard and giggling with glee
7. When she makes funny faces at dinner that made my MIL laugh so hard, harder than we have laughed in a while.
8. Seeing Isabel grow and change every day, including her word explosion, its turning into little phrases like 'beach, yay, ' waffles, mama', 'go outside'?
9. Listening to Isabel's conversations in her sleep
10. Picking her up from school and feeling her wrap her arms around me (she's starting to go 1x week until the far).

I have been struggling lately because staying home with a busy strong willed toddler is hard.  She tests my patiences, she has been trying to pinch me when she is angry and she has temper tantrums.

I want to be a good mom, that provides love, compassion and nurturing but also discipline and structure.  I want to be 'present' not just physically as much as I can. It is easy to use a TV show or my iPhone to escape during the day to give me a mental break but for the most part, I am there being her mom.

I know that if I can be consistent and remember the bigger picture, I will be able to do this!  This week, I feel like we are hitting our stride, we have fun activities and good family time and our days go by so fast.  At first I felt like when we started the start of the summer I it felt like it was going to be long.  Now I feel like every day goes by so fast, I actually miss her when she is asleep. Ha.

So I embrace these little moments and enjoy them and even feel like a good mom once in a while ;-)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Open letter to Rosie

This is for Rosie, the sweet golden girl that showed me how to love with all my heart and how loyal a dog can really be.

Dear Rosie,
I met you one spring afternoon when I went to visit J at his mom's while we were just starting to date.  You came over to me and instantly we connected. You put out your paw and we held hands all through dinner. Everyone trued to shoo you away from me to be polite but I didn't mind. You made me feel special, wanted and accepted and I looked forward to visiting because of you.

Visiting the future in-laws is nervewracking you know but knowing you would be there to break the ice and literally lend a paw broke the awkwardness as well as the silence.  Everyone commented on how you lit up when I came in, you'd jump, bark and your tail would wag wag wag.  Of course, I love Sophie (your sister the same) but you were so special to me.

Over the years, I have watched to you run, jump, play and enjoy life. You sure have a special mom that gives you the best, down to cooking chicken and rice for you for dinner even night. Lucky girl!

Your dad, J, and I got married and we adopted a golden retriever just like you. Heck, if I could've I would have adopted you!  But by some twist of fate, we adopted Ladybug who all can agree is just like you.  I was so nervous to adopt a dog, I never grew up with dogs and I was afraid. You showed me that I could love a dog. How they become like family, heck you are family.  You are loyal, loving and protective. You are a terrific companion and a source of comfort.

We love our Ladybug and now Liam and like you they have had health issues.  Man, those times are scary. We just want to know what is wrong and help heal you.  Its a helpless feeling and its gut wrenching.

Your mom has been saying that you have been not acting yourself.  Even at 12 years old, you still greet me and Isabel at the window when we come by wagon and Isabel would watch you through the window of the door as you played outside. Sometimes you'd bark to her, she'd squeal with glee.

We did keep Isabel and you and Sophie at a distance because we didn't want her to bother you. But I know you wouldn't have minded a pat or a squeeze.

Today, we came to visit you.  With heavy hearts because we know that your time on this earth is not going to be as long as we had hoped for.  You have a cancerous tumor and having trouble breathing.

To be honest, I wanted to visit you but I was nervous for the first time.  What if Isabel wasn't gentle or you didn't want to see us.

All that was relieved when I walked in the door.  You lifted your head like you had for J but then your tail just thump thump thumped like usual.

*relief* but a swell of sadness welled up in me.

'Its Rosie girl' I said as I always did.

For the last hour I sat with you, talked to you rubbed your side and stroked your nose. I felt the pads of your paws and the soft fur on your ears.  I told you were a brave girl, that I love you and that you should just rest.  You were calm and yet with me at the same time.

I didn't want to leave you but Isabel was getting tired so I am here thinking of you and hoping that you are still resting. It comforted me that you raised your sweet head again as if to say goodbye.

I don't want to say goodbye because even though you will go to heaven, I know I will see you again.

Its a comfort to know that but at the same time I know I will miss you terribly.  Some people can't understand how we can love our pets so much. To them I say you must not have a heart because these dogs are loyal, loving companions that are family.  If you can't understand it then you don't know the love of a pet.

Losing you reminds me how fragile life is and how much I love our Ladybug and Liam.  They both suffered a lot last summer with surgeries and Ladybug's cancer. They are young but its hard to contemplate them not being here with us.

I love you Rosie girl. You taught me to love without reservation and fear of getting too attached. You have been a loyal and faithful girl.  Be brave sweet girl and rest. I will see you again someday.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

God is good

Here is why,

He answers prayers.

We finally go to go to church this week. We are now attending the church where we were married and went before we moved. I had been putting off going to church because Isabel would likely only be good in the pew for max of 10 minutes and I was afraid she would freak out in the nursery.  But we mustered up the courage to go this week and decided to see how it would go.

She was like I predicted good in the pew for about 10 minutes. Complete with scribbling on the donation cards ha!

I took her down to the nursery and was greeted by two moms that were friends of mine growing up. It was quite reassuring. Isabel was ready to play but after leaving her there for another 10 minutes Isabel was crying for me. So I stayed with her in the nursery most of the time.

The sermon however, that I got to hear for five minutes was about how God wants us to have a relationship with Him.  That he is waiting for us to talk to him and open our hearts.

Its not that I don't know this deep down. On a day to day basis however, it is easy to just try to take over and be in control and forget that God is waiting for you to cast your cares on Him.

I needed to hear this, this week.

Good things are happening.

Its because of God.

I have been feeling really apprehensive about putting Isabel in a new school, how I will finish my dissertation and feeling sad about not having a big job to start now that I have my PhD.

Well, this week, I got offered a chance to teach another course and it will make me an adjunct which is perfect as I will still work part time but feel more like my career is being built up.  Isabel went to drop in daycare at her school and while she cried when J left, she did great  the rest of the time. Relief.

I have much to be thankful for.

I have a family I love dearly, I have a job and so does J.  Isabel is growing up and changing all the time.  Our dogs are healthy, Ladybug is doing really well (this is huge) and Liam's paw is healed. Yay for walks and family time.

I know that God has a plan in spite of me trying to get in there and 'do it myself'.  I am glad to be back to church and how God will work more in our lives everyday.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Radio flyer adventures

My mom noticed a few weeks ago that Isabel had a blast zipping around in a friends' wagon. I have given up on taking her for walks in her stroller because she would rather walk and or run.  It is generally no fun because about 2/3 of way into a walk she will get annoyed and want to get out.  We do not have a sidewalk nearby and it has bummed me out that I do not get to walk that much for exercise.

My mom bought Isabel a radio flyer. But not just any radio flyer, the cadillac version. It has folding seats, that have a removable seat cover, a waterproof fanny pack, cup holders for mom and baby, t-strap harnesses, an individual removable awnings on both sides.

She loves it, if she sees it in the driveway she automatically wants in and will not get out. She will ride anywhere and is content.

Thank you mom!

So I thought I would review our adventures so far:
1. Explored our neighborhood (I grew up nearby but never walked all the streets here)
2. Several trips to my In-laws
3. Downtown trip to Virgilio's with our dear friends including her BFF Lizzie
4. Visited the local strawberry festival
5. Walk on the boulevard, met many dogs and seagulls
6. Strawberry picking at a local farm
7. Several trips to the beach (mama will have buns of steal)

So many more placed to go but most of all, it has given us more freedom and chances to get out visit with friends.

Wherever we go, we get lots of comments on how this is such a special wagon and where did we get it?  Love it!

I have been quite protective of the wagon as mine and my sister's wagon was stolen out of our front yard when I was 4 years old. Not gonna happen!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Embracing the new

This is week two of me staying home with Isabel.  I will be honest and say that last week was a bit of an adjustment to being back home all day, every day with my sweet girl.  She is developing into a very independent lovable, albeit opinionated toddler.  Several of the days it rained which made the days feel very long, however with the good weather and more fun activities including a trip to pick strawberries with friends and a visit to Maine, it is all turning around.  Most days I can't imagine spending a minute without her.

However, I feel like she is growing up and developing a sense of self and is less dependent on me. All good things.

So, I have decided to try some some new things this summer.

First, I am transitioning Isabel to sleeping in her room all night.  For now, she starts the night in her own room and we leave our door open (our rooms connect) and when she can't sleep she comes and snuggles with me.  Its a good compromise for now.

Second, I am embracing changing my food habits. I am tracking my food and eating lower carb. I am breaking out of the food rut.  I don't want to be that mom that finishes her kids' chicken nuggets or last sip of juice.  So I have embarked on a South Beachy approach that keeps me from doing that. It is so hard not to cheat but I am finding ways to make it enjoyable.

Today is a good example. I whipped up garlic and tomato shrimp with a salad while Isabel naps.  It made me feel special and decadent and it was ridiculously satisfying.

Lastly, I am going to embrace the moment. I have finished my dissertation and now I can really enjoy my days with Isabel. She doesn't nap 'on time' or stays up late or sleeps in? No problem. I can go with the flow more now.

Ah summer, I embrace you too!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Showing compassion

I try not to dwell on the tougher aspects of parenting, especially managing toddler behavior in a willful child, if I did I think it might consume me.  I try to accentuate the positive and remember that these days are flying by and to enjoy the ride.

Tonight was a perfect example of that. I was down on the floor playing with Isabel, she stood up and pulled her etcha-sketch toy off the couch and I saw it coming toward me but couldn't move fast enough to get away (isn't that the worst?!) Well it hit my ear. HARD. I felt like I was bleeding and my head hurt. I let out a shriek but tried to muffle it because I didn't want to scare Isabel.

J came over to check on me and I asked for a bag of frozen peas. The shock of the hit wore of quickly and in the mean time Isabel, had dropped to her knees. Knelt beside me and was peering over me saying 'ok mama'? She was genuinely concerned and rubbed my head as I said 'ouch'.

I told her 'mama is ok' and she took the bag of peas and put it to her ear. She got it and was so sweet about it. I know it was an accident and she didn't mean it but this empathetic and compassionate side just melted me.  In that moment all she cared about was her mama and making sure she was ok. How's that for  a 21 month old?!  This for me is what its about.  Watching her grow, develop and put two and two together.  She may be intense and strong willed at times but this other side of her, this loving, compassionate, caring and empathetic side is wonderful and outweighs anything else! Its the silver lining.

Even at lunch she made friends with two girls that were eating lunch one table away. The baby made eyes at Isabel and waved all through lunch which made Isabel shy. But, by the end of lunch their mom and I talked as the 3 year old ran around with Isabel as they played chase. Isabel even offered a hug to the little girl which melted both me and the other mom's hearts.

Isabel is such a special girl.  Even the notes I got from her teachers as she left her school noted that and it just makes all the tough parts about being her parent worth it.  Its hard work to parent but the most rewarding especially on occasions like today.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I stink at goodbyes

After six years at UNH, I will pack up my office, clean out my lab and email my dissertation final draft to my advisor.  I should be celebrating.  Instead, I am feeling a swirl of emotions. I feel apprehension, relief, sadness and joy.  Its a strange combination. It is hard to leave a place that I have grown so much academically and professionally and celebrated milestones (got married, bought a house and had our daughter).  I have grown as a teacher and grown into my role as a PhD.  Its has been an adventure.  I even took a year off and came back to finish and it was surprisingly easy to come back (easier than I thought) and good for all of us.  

This year has been a big year.  A lot of transitions.

Isabel started day care, I went back to work and we moved. 

I am not a stranger to transition, I have been moving and schooling for the last ten years at 3 different institutions.  

This one feels different and here is why:
I spend more of my time here than anywhere else. This is the culmination of my career thus far and we have changed as a family.  i feel like I am leaving something behind this time, friendships, good memories and it sort of feels unfinished, lack of closure.  

It feels a little anticlimactic to pack up and go tomorrow, most of the faculty are out in the field and so are my fellow grad students so there won't be a big goodbye.

Maybe that is a good thing. I am not gonna lie, I have been emotional about leaving.

So tomorrow, I will pick Isabel up from school for the last time and head home.

I think I am more sad about taking Isabel out of school. Yea, me the one that felt such anxiety about sending her in the first place. Remember this? 

Her teachers have been giving me the sad face for weeks when I mention us moving on.  I know that they knew she'd only be in school until the end of the school year but it came so fast.  They have been amazing to her.

She has bloomed in school, I see her confidence growing, her indepence has bloomed and she is happy there. She has friends and she loves her teachers.  She dances, sings and has quite the vocabulary.  It warms my heart and makes me so happy.

I really wanted to keep her in a little longer but the reality is, her class is moving to the next room in a couple of weeks and I couldn't do that to her.  She is attached to her teachers and I think it will be hard to change too many times.  

I would be lying if I said I haven't cried about tomorrow.  I know that her teachers love her.  I have been in their shoes more than my 'mom shoes' because I have nannied before and I loved those kiddos.  

I am so happy that her school was a great experience but it is bittersweet.  Today, Isabel and I made a handprint thank you card for her teachers.  I hope they know how much we have loved them!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The moving finish line

It’s a warm summery- spring evening, the one I have been anticipating since we moved here, warm breezes ruffling the blinds and the sea air hanging heavy as the birds chirp and the sun sets in a blazing fire.

I want to be relaxing on the deck with a glass of wine and enjoy the quiet and relish my completion of my dissertation.

But wait.  I can’t.  I am not done yet.  I have revisions calling my name when all I want to do is sit and relax and drink in the ambience and yes, a little wine.

When I mustered up the courage to come back to work part time in the fall and put Isabel in daycare to do it, I had all kinds of expectations of grandeur. That I would just somehow sit down, with rock solid concentration and write my dissertation in six weeks like I did with my Masters. I figured I would need the fall semester and maybe the spring one for final touches and walk in May. Done. I was going to DO THIS.


Well just because I took one year off due to my c/s infection/PTSD and to raise Isabel, didn’t mean I stopped thinking and mentally preparing to write my dissertation. 

Here is what really happened and I will abbreviate:
1.     I had to ease into daycare with Isabel so I worked less that I had planned the first month
2.     I spent a lot of time re-learning statistics
3.     I got sick a lot, thank you Isabel
4.     Progress was slow
5.     I finally got on a role in January and pounded out my dissertation and in about six weeks (hey what do you know?!)
6.     My advisor is (not surprisingly) meticulous and slow to return comments (first snag)
7.     I have to extend my deadline to submit to my committee despite heroic efforts to make the deadline.
8.     I make the second deadline and submit (bliss, glory, lots of sighs of relief)
9.     I defended 2 weeks later, seminar was flawless, defense was grueling but nothing I didn’t anticipate (well a few doozies but I made it) and PASSED
10. But here comes the kicker(big snag), my committee decided not to commit reading my revisions even with an extension from the grad school, so try as I might, I can not walk.

cue lump in my throat and tears brimming in my eyes, stinging as I blink.

When my committee told me this, I thought two things: first, hey I am still going to graduate even if I don’t walk and second, man I really wanted to walk.

When I started my PhD. I was newly married, new house, and even a new pup, rarin’ to go and excited to pursue my dream work. It was a really great project and I got to teach and it was a terrific experience.

I didn’t think about graduation as the goal, but just a part of the package. I used my experience from my Masters to anticipate the steps I needed to take to graduate and took it one step at a time.  I managed to teach full time for two of the years and still complete all of my research and qualifiers on time.  When I left in the fall of 2010 to have Isabel, I had just the writing to do and I was in pretty good shape.  I needed maybe six months.

Ok, yes, having a baby is life changing and for me a little more involved with recovery and all but that’s not the way it usually goes, but that’s what happened to me.  I definetly had not planned to take a year off but that’s what happened and I do not regret a minute of it because that time was precious and special. 

The reality was though, that in that time, I lost momentum. I lost faith in myself. I felt doubt (did my peers think I wimped out? Was my advisor going to tap his foot and say I told you so? Could I ever think clearly again with the amount of sleep deprivation I was in? Could I leave Isabel with anyone?  Did I want a PhD. Anymore? Could I actually hack it and did I have what it takes to finish?) These were just a few of my thoughts at the time.

There were logistics to work out, like child care and the finances to afford it. But surprisingly they came together pretty easily.

Stepping back in to my work realm was a bit easier than I thought, it was like no time had passed when I was back and it was strangely comforting. I had changed a lot mentally and physically but life there had not.

I actually enjoy the balance I get from having Isabel at school part time.  (Who new right?!)

Well along this path of self discovery, the rubber had to meet the road and I knew I was going to have to dig deep and get this dissertation written.

But oh wait, right about then, we ended up moving 1hr away. Hmmm great timing?!

So, fine. I just had to commute and write and yes it was winter time.

I worked every nap, every weekend, every minute I was not watching Isabel for three straight months because my goal was to graduate.  It didn’t matter so much at first but heck if I was going to work this hard, I sure wanted the satisfaction and closure that graduation provides.

So after my committee returned the devastating news that no matter how hard I tried, they wouldn’t return the revisions in time, I have again lost momentum. I just don’t have it in me to try. I am not used to this feeling.

I think I feel more defeated because this isn’t just about me anymore, its about Isabel. I have her in my life and I put her first.  So on one hand in my daily life she is first, I also have to fit my professional life goals in because it benefits her in the end for me to finish and support her financially with the job I will get from my PhD.  I know all this in my head but my heart is aching.

I can’t believe how bad I wanted to walk. Its not the whole because I can’t walk, I want to walk thing, its that I worked hard darn it and it just feels anticlimactic to still do all my revisions and turn in them into the grad school, pack up my office and walk away. Because that folks, it was is going to happen in about 3 weeks.

I have been in academia long enough and through two graduations to know they are dull and long.  But the moment of joy I would have felt hearing my name called, getting my hood and handshake or hug from my advisor would have really made all my hard work and the sacrifices I have made to finish, when I will be honest, I reallllly didn’t want to finish.

Ok, pityparty for one is over.  I am not feeling sorry for myself or making excuses for not finishing. I needed to do the revisions and I my committee has the right to need more time so that’s the break.  I will get my diploma in August and I could walk next May (but I highly doubt I will).  So, I will muster the strength to finish the race, even if I feel like I am running at a slow jog and like my finish like keeps getting moved.  I have to be honest, its maddening to hear ‘you are so close’ when that finish line keeps moving.  Its tremendously stressful to keep trying to make deadline after deadline and I don’t think any human can sustain life under such pressure for so long.  I clearly can’t (I have had one illness after the next for 5 weeks straight).

Nonetheless.  Revisions are calling.  I am pacing myself. I am getting them done but I am not giving it every waking moment.  And I think that is ok.  Because in the end I will finish. I will turn in my dissertation, it may be a weighty tome that just sits on a shelf in the library collecting dust but I will know its there and I will know it will be my best work. 

I also know that graduation does not make the accomplishment, I did.  And I know someday after this is over, I will be able to look back and be proud of myself for finishing.  I know my mom is. I know Josh is and someday so will Isabel.  Because really, they are my reason for finishing.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Today I defend

I wouldn't lie and say I knew this day would come. It has been a longer haul than I imagined. But its here and I say bring it.  Seminar at noon and defense 1-4pm. Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Capturing moments in the busy life of a toddler

I have been so wrapped up in finishing my dissertation it has been hard to write about anything else lately! Fortunately, it will all be over soon and I can get back to a more balanced life!

Isabel is changing every day and I feel like it is important to capture the little moments because they signify bigger changes in her life as a toddler. Here are just a few sweet moments:

1. She's becoming a problem solver: my IL's gave her a bubble machine (she loves bubbles) and one day it ran out of bubbles so I poured some bubbles into the tank and figured she would be delighted to have it work again. Nope, she *had* to have the bottle of bubbles and *had* to pour it in herself. I didn't realize what her fuss about and just closed the bubble bottle and turned the machine on. She collapsed to the floor in tears, then rolled over turned the machine off and wandered off. I was in the middle of making dinner so I turned my attention away for a minute. Only to see her with the bubble bottle hunched over the machine trying to pour more in (bottle was covered) to where I had poured. *melt* she watched and learned and was trying to do it herself. I knelt down, opened the bottle (figuring a mess was about to ensue) and let her try to do it herself. She did it, with one hand. . I hated seeing her cry and struggle but was elated to see her not give up.

2. She's becoming a cuddler: I have been working long hours and even on weekends. The toll has been felt on both ends and I keep reminding myself 1) its short term 2) I am fortunate I only work p/t because although Isabel is adjusting more days at school, it shows in the time we are together. She's been hugging me and clinging to me and just wanting mama time. To the point where I took a day off just to snuggle because even her teachers were noticing a difference. *Gosh, cue the mom guilt* On one hand I am glad she can express her emotions and needs, on the other I hate that she feels the need to be snuggled more b/c she is missing me. I am glad she can get love from her teachers, dad, grandparents and aunties in my absence.

3. She stands up for herself: Her new word is 'No' and though I groaned when she learned it, I am impressed with how emphatically she uses it and how she knows how to use it. For example, in the morning she likes to eat her waffle on the go and the dogs follow her around and she just replies "NO"! And they stay away! Ha! Also, at school, a bully has been identified and he has scratched her because he likes to push and she wouldn't let him so she stood there and got scratched as she said "NO"! To him. I am so proud she stuck up for herself but it ripped my heart out that she got hurt. I know its bound to happen but still, it was hard to take.

4. She's a little conversationalist: Her vocabulary is building and she is putting two words together like 'all done', 'I sorry', 'go outside', and 'hi mama'... its so nice that she is 'getting' what we say and I am 'getting' what she says. Its amazing actually, she's only 18 months!

5. She knows her mama: At Easter dinner at my sisters' she milled about while we ate, and she came upon a picture of me on my sister's end table. She kept pointing and saying 'mama'. I thought she was just calling me and so I responded 'what?' then my mom pointed out, she was pointing to my picture. I seriously teared up. She knows her momma in pictures, how sweet is that?

Like I said, its been a haul to get through my dissertation and I am missing my girl while I do it but these sweet little moments remind me just how fast she is growing and just how much I love her. Its all for her, she is my inspiration and the reason I am working so hard. I want to give her a good life and hopefully someday she will be proud of what I accomplished.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Three days in a row is clearly too much

For Isabel to get used to for daycare/school routine.

I know that there is something else going on with her because she is whiney and clingy every.single.morning and is only ok if I sit with her on the couch for a while.

This tells me she is tired. She's not sleeping 6:30pm-6:30am anymore its more like 7-6am and then her naps are later even if she is tired she just whines. If she would sleep 6:30pm-6:30am I know she would feel more rested and be happier but even when I try to keep it to that schedule she ends up getting wound up sometimes and bedtime gets pushed back.

So, this morning was WWIII getting her ready and into her carseat.

I hate mornings like this. It triggers major mom guilt for having to put her in the car and take her anywhere really.

I just wanted to go back in, crawl in bed with her and snuggle.

That is not what we did, we forged on and went to school which got better about half way there when she ate her snack and smiled and laughed with me. (there's my lovable girl).

I thought drop off at school was going to be tearful but she went right to her teacher and was fine *phew*

I am at school 3 days in a row this week because of the snow and the NEED to finish writing my dissertation within four short weeks.

So, I have had to up her daycare to 3 days and do this ride 3x instead of 2x.

God has been good by blessing us with a snowless winter and illness that somehow has not affected daycare days. Really it is miraculous. He has protected us on the all the roads we travel and made each trip relatively painless.

I do feel the guilt that comes with having to juggle this deadline and taking good care of Isabel but I know she needs to go and really likes it there. Really, if I didn't send her to any daycare/childcare she would have an even harder time separating from me in the future. I know that for a fact. At the same time, I wish it would get easier for her. I know she loves me and we are bonded for sure but I hate that this is hard for her and in turn its hard on me.

All I can say is ONWARD.

I know this routine will be only hectic for the next 2 months but it still feels like a struggle. In the mean time I am going to have to work on her bedtime so she can get more sleep.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

All about Isabel....she's 17 months!!

This little 'girl' is so much fun these days!!!

I feel like she is growing up into her own little person with her own independent mind and spirit (well she always had that).

So what is new?

Words Words Words:
She has a lot to say. I feel like I need to write them down to keep track! She seems to be accumulating them at a rapid pace now! It is so much fun!
All done, apple, book, baby, ball, bubble, cat, dada, duck, dog, ear, eye, hi, mama, kitty, this, that, no, socks, shoes, slide, outside, up, uhoh, yes and she says 'nana' for something she wants and signs 'more' when she wants more of something.

Following directions:
She loves following directions if we make it a game but she also loves to ignore me if I am telling her NOT to do something, isn't that always the way?!

Showing affection:
She will randomly come up and hug, kiss or pat me and J and if you or most people she knows asks for a hug/kiss she will do it willingly. It is really sweet.

She is a little monkey. Her new favorite past time is pushing a dining room chair to the table and climbing it. Or using her table/chair set to climb over onto the couch. It is an endless battle but we are working on 'rules'. Mostly she gets when I say in a stern voice that she is to stop she will, or I have to physically re-direct/distract her. Most of the family knows the rules and helps me enforce them so we can stay consistent at home and when are out!

Favorite foods:
I have a pretty adventurous eater. I sometimes forget to re-intro foods we have tried in the past that she didn't like then but she has has pleasantly surprised me with her likes.
Including: clementines, cottage cheese, couscous, cream cheese, cherry tomatoes (oh, just wait for summer), cupcakes (thanks Jolene ;) chocolate and apple juice (she only takes a sip or two which is A-ok).

In general, I think she is going through a 'clinging mommy only phase' its hard to know for sure because she's clingy when she hasn't been before but it could be because she seems more family than ever theses days and a little less 'just mom' time. Also, she is dropping a nap and gets super over tired sometimes and her naps are just out of whack. Hopefully, she can get back on track soon. We are at school/day care three days a week for a March/April until I defend so that might keep her on track for a bit as long as we stay consistent the other days (which is hard if we want/need to go anywhere- the blessing and curse of a good car sleeper!)

She is just the best and as I sit her at work, I miss her. I think it is good to miss her sometimes because she can become all consuming and while that is the awesome part of motherhood, every person needs a little break. I honestly think she can get a little sick of me and start taking me for granted so I don't mind her going to school for a bit because its me and her the rest of the time!

Monday, February 27, 2012

A new perspective

Sometimes I feel like my weight and the perception of what I must look like to others holds me back from going out and being me.

Pre-Isabel I could doll myself up and pump myself up and pretty much go or do anything despite how I felt about myself about my weight. I could still shop for cute clothes, high light my hair, get a mani/pedi and just GO.

I always worked out regularly, fought to stay on a low carbish diet and pretty much battled my weight to stay under 200lb. and I felt like I was WINNING. I remember the times I would weigh in at WW and the leaders would be shocked I weighted what I did. I guess I always 'wore' it well.

I think a good weight for me (my slimmest and healthiest) was back in college when I was 175lbs. and if I looked at BMI chart that would OVERWEIGHT. But for me it was perfect. Well folks, I am about 50lbs away from 175lbs now.

Yuck. I can see where it is, on my hips, inner thighs, bootie, boobs, upper arms and chin. Yup, its there.

It is hard for me to hide in clothes, one because I have a very tight budget, very little time to shop to keep my wardrobe in style and I really do not dress up often because I am mostly a mom.

Maybe this sounds like a litany of excuses for why I can't keep myself up but if you are a mom and even remotely try to keep it together you know what a struggle it can be to just brush your teeth 2x a day much less, shave, wax, shower, blow dry, apply make-up, and get dressed on a regular basis. Forget going for hair cuts, mani/pedis or the gym on a regular basis.

At least that is my life.

I don't begrudge where I am. I feel like a mom, I look like a mom. Its not what I had hoped for. I didn't want to be that mom that didn't look together BUT I do have a kiddo that always looks her best with a wiped nose, brushed hair and cute outfit. I feel like that that is more important.

But I am not going to lie that not keeping myself up doesn't take an emotional or physical tole. Let's be honest, people are judged first on the cover not the book. Its human nature. I think moms are the most critical of other moms and themselves. I think we are all a bit insecure after having a baby, of our new stretched out bodies, how we appear to your husbands and how we look to the world that seems to be looking just a little closer at EVERYTHING we do with a kiddo in tow.

You could be judged for being 'too' put together after a baby suggesting that you put yourself first, You could be a disheveled mess and you would be judged for letting yourself go. Or you could be fighting to be in the middle, looking average and thus avoiding judgement either way. <------ This is me.

Unfortunately, the weight gives me away. It is becoming an uphill battle. I think despite being at pre-baby weight. Things have shifted, my thighs are thicker, boobs are bigger and bootie is rounder. I think some of it is because of the nursing. I have heard that once weaning happens the weight in those areas go away. Fingers crossed!

Now that we have moved, I am figuring out how to find help in getting a little me time (the guilt for taking me time is there but that is another post).

This weekend J, was away and my mom helped watch Isabel while we shopped and I got some cute clothes and it was start in there right direction. I will be cutting my hair this week and maybe getting a mani over the weekend.

Its the little things.

But with all this going on, I have a hard time just pulling it together to go out. I just feel no motivation.

Like yesterday, I had a baby shower to go to for a dear friend. I was dreading it, not because it was a shower but what was I going to wear?

Ugh, I am embarrassed that I think this way. I am NOT a shallow person. I just feel like my new body deceives me and I just feel like I know myself in it.

I managed to get dressed up and put makeup on and GO. March myself in with Isabel and we did it.

Guess what?

We had a blast. Made new friends and actually *gasp* enjoyed ourselves.

That never happens! I am glad that I got a little confidence from a new outfit and an adorable kid to boot to just do it. It was confidence booster and a motivator to just do it.

I am not saying I love how I look right now but my new goal to just accept where I am at right now and just be ok with me for now. I can't just stay miserable and home cooped up. I am going to make the best of it until I can make the CHANGE I need to.

Its going to have to wait until after my dissertation is submitted but that is weeks away. For now, I am me and that's ok.

Here is a sweet picture of Isabel holding my hand at my sisters after the shower. Of course I could obsess about my double chin and hair that needs to be cut but I will choose to enjoy the moment that my sister captured with my sweet baby girl.

On Ward!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So I have been MIA


This month has the been the month of sickness! Bronchitis, stomach bug and now colds. I am sick of being sick.

I kind of saw it coming: mild winter + day care + force hot air (change from base board heat) = sickie sickness!

It is in a phrase: getting old.

I am thankful for J, he didn't get sick with the stomach bug so he nursed me and Isabel and even took the day off when I felt like death so I didn't have to take care of her alone.
That's the worst!

I will be MIA because I have a defense date!

April 5th!!!

Sounds like a ways off? Nope! Feels like tomorrow!

Ok, so no more sickies, I am seriously purel'ing, clorox'ing and cleaning everything!!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Transition to a new pediatrician

It was bittersweet saying goodbye to the doctor that was in the operating room and delivered Isabel. Watched it all unfold and was a reassuring third party that we trusted a great deal.

I at least felt comforted that I could take her to the practice I went to from birth to 18 yo. Granted I was in the NICU and a preemie/triplet but still they were awesome and the dr.s that took care of me still practice there (they were just out of med school)

Today was our first visit and it was because she is sick, I suspected bronchiolitis (baby version of bronchitis) and a possible ear infection. I figured they would check her out and send her home with an Rx.

They have since moved the office and it was in a new bigger building with many more practitioners. She is seeing one of the pedi's that took care of me but not today. Even went into the room I was impressed. It had a 'sick' waiting room and 'healthy side' it was a beautiful facility.

Our old pedi was in a pretty old building and it was run of the mill despite having awesome pedis!

We have a quick intro and run down of her medical history and after meeting a few minutes we had a plan with the new pedi she wanted to get some blood, a chest x-ray and do a nebulizer treatment.

Um really? Seemed like over kill to me, especially because she had no ear infection after all.

She's had bronchiolitis 2x before and never had any of that.

She said she suspected pneumonia so it was important to rule it out.

It was just me and Isabel and never did I want DH to be there so bad. She was ok for the chest x-ray, I helped hold her. The finger prick was fine but she was hysterical while they filled the little capillary tube. The nebulizer was the worst! I had to hold her squirming, bucking hysterical (and strong) body for 10m while the nurse held the mask on. Her little body fought me hard despite being sick and her eyes were red from crying. I hated every moment and felt rushed like I didn't have time to explain to her what was going to happen. I think she would have been more cooperative if that was the case.

However, the treatment worked and she was breathing better right after. They sent me home with one (oh joy) and said to watch her and if her fever spikes it probably pneom and bring her back.

I was kind of traumatized during the whole apt because I wasn't expecting this invasive testing. However, in retrospect I am glad they were throughough. I am concerned that they do testing just because they have it available (unlike the previous practice).

Anyway, it was exhausting for both of us (I am getting whatever she has) and she went to bed at 5:30.

I guess I just needed to vent. All of these changes of medical providers is harder for me than I thought, I bonded with her old pedi and trusted the practice. I also miss some of the staff from my old PCP and even my OB (not the dr.s) but the support staff. I guess its all part of the transition.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Things I love about Isabel

I am having sort of a rough morning and cried on the way to work after dropping her off because she buried her sweet little head into my shoulder and clung like a koala when I dropped her off today.

So, I thought I would do an ode to my 16 month old sweet girl:
1. I love how affectionate you are, giving hugs and kisses when I ask for them but also just because, you even purse your little lips!

2. You are amazingly fast and rambunctious which I love! You are quick on your feet and even the monkey business of climbing on the chairs and sofa though it worries me, is awesome to see you marvel at your new abilities

3. I love that you can kick a ball and call out 'kick' as you go.

4. I love all the words you can say now: mama (my have), dada, kitty, doggie, sit, up, down, yes, outside, slide, all done, hi_____kitty/mama/daddy, this, that and sometimes no ;) (lets keep it that way).

5. You have become more adventurous with eating, you now like mango chunks, couscous, cream cheese and clementines

6. You are so independent that you roam a little more than I would like sometimes but I love that you feel 'safe' and even do well with your aunt/uncles and grandparents without me (my big girl)

7. I don't dread car rides anymore because we can banter back and forth and you don't cry as much. It makes the long rides to school easier (most days)

8. I love looking at your picture on my desk at work because you are my inspiration for finishing my dissertation, mama is working hard little one but your daddy and I will give you the best life you could ever want. I want you to know that you are the light of my life, my joy and being your mom is the best job, I could ever want!

Love you my sweetie pie! I even called to check on you today after I left and they said you are painting, hmmm maybe we shall try that at home, if mama is brave enough ;)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Doing the mom thing on my own for a weekend

J had to travel this weekend which is unusual for his work and harder for me since we moved in some ways because I am still getting used to the new house and all.

My mom and J's mom were great help this weekend but I am beat and want him to come back! It made me admire moms that do the singly mom thing. Its hard being their all even though most days J only sees her for a bit in the morning and evening it makes a huge difference.

I do feel like Isabel behaves differently when both of us are together than when its just me. She actually whines more when we are both home and I am doing stuff (like dishes) even though J is right there.

This weekend she was good, she let me do what I had to do. Played with my MIL and mom when they visited and went with the flow. I think she 'knew' that things were different. We have a routine and I just kept it the same for the weekend like I do during the days we are home during the week together. That really helped.

She definitely missed J, she stayed up late for me waiting and when he called as she was dropping off to sleep she jumped up and when I answered the phone she said 'hi dada'. He sang to her which riled her up but she dropped off right after.

They will need some daddy/daughter time when he gets home! Mama needs a little break too!

Saw this today and had to post it, because this is where I am at today!

Pinned Image
#9 and #10 are so true

Friday, January 20, 2012

Note to self

Do not try to take a toddler out for an activity no matter how good she is being if its close to nap time.

Today, I experienced the most epic tantrum out of Isabel. I am almost embarrassed to admit it.

We went to the children's library where she could roam free and check out the surrounding and sit on the little wooden chairs, color with crayons and race up and down the rows of books.

Fun right?

She even got to walk the sidewalks holding my hand and everything!

I thought she was doing well as she took a rare mid morning nap.

However, it was clear she was tired and so I scooped her up and tried to get her out the door to sidewalk thinking that even if she protested going to the car the walk there would make up for it.


She would not hold my hand and want to run in the snow and basically do anything I didn't want her to do.

Sound like a toddler?

Yea, that's her and for the most part her independence and her will is what I love about her.

Today, it was just exhausting and frustrating for me. I ended up half carrying her to the car and strapping her squirminess into the car seat while she wailed.

We got home quickly (thank you, new close to everything home) and she was fine when we got home. I hugged her and tried to tell her I understood how frustrated she felt and that I think she is tired.

Soon enough she hugged me and smiled then pointed to the stairs and she was asleep in minutes.

So lesson learned, wait for trips out until after a nap.


I don't want this to mean every time we go out=tantrum.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I had this thought yesterday

"I want to go home"

Sad right?

I AM home. This is our home.

I should be grateful right?

I AM grateful, thankful and fortunate to say the least but it doesn't mean I don't still feel somewhat unsettled.

Its funny, just as Isabel craves routine because it helps her to know what to expect and avoids fear I am the same way.

Maybe its human nature but even though we can pretty much do what we have always done just in a new location AND with family (huge plus)

Its still weird.

Maybe its that I feel like a freakin' celebrity just to go grocery shopping. I mean that's exaggerating it but, I am from a town where everyone knows everyone and people don't leave after high school as the norm so when I am back in town I am sure to see at least someone I know.

Don't get me wrong its kind of nice to 'bump' into people but I guess I kind of liked being anonymous. I was able to shed my 'high school' persona and define the real me, NOT the one that I was back then.

I have grown up, changed and experienced life. Not that folks here have not but I don't want to feel cast in the shadow of how I used to be. Its not that I am ashamed or anything, I just changed like everyone does.

I think the other part of it is is that I moved in January. Even though we don't have a lot of snow, its too cold to enjoy a lot of what I love about this town. Especially with a toddler. Like the parks, beach and lots of walking places.

To make it better, my good friend met me at our N&B story time instead of going to the one we usually go to and hung out at the mall with me. It was nice, comfortable and familiar but in a new location.

I know I will make new friends and get re-aquainted with old ones and life will go on. For now, I am just mourning the loss of my 'old' life and I bet I will look back in 6 months and wonder why I ever felt this way at all.

At least I hope this will be the case!

Friday, January 13, 2012

We've moved

It was harder and easier that I thought it would be for me.

Obviously, the anticipation and the stress of packing was worse than the actual doing it. Isn't that usually how it goes?

On the move day, we kept everything routine for Isabel and sent her to school while I finished packing like a madwoman. The movers arrived at 7:55am and literally packed our entire house onto the truck in 2 hours.

They were in a word AMAZING! Movers are worth their weight in gold. So worth it!

About half way through the move, I went upstairs to see the empty rooms and see what was left. I went into Isabels' room and found her green infant paci on the floor (was behind the dresser). That's when I lost it. I cried huge fat tears and just ran my fingers over the wall decals and curtains. Seeing her empty room was the hardest. I just slumped down against the wall and cried. Until, my sweet pups and loving J came and comforted me. I have the best memories of preparing the room, J painting it like he was Picasso and though she didn't sleep a lot in that room it was special. I just didn't realize how hard it would be to let go and move on. But what I said to J and actually believe is that family is where we are not the four walls of a house. We will make new memories and be a family where ever we are right?

After J and the movers left, I cleaned and tied up loose ends at school and brought Isabel home from daycare. The drive gave me an idea of how the ride will be from now on since I have decided to keep Isabel in school 2 days a week until I graduate.

Honestly, the decision is what saved this move from being gut wrenching. I know funny right? Me, who agonized over daycare is going to extreme lengths to keep her at that school! What can I say? I like routine and consistency just like Isabel! Truly, it is helping me feel like not everything is changing for me and her.

I have moved enough to know that it helps to have something to look forward to, and you can dress any place up and make it feel like home when your stuff is in it.

Thankfully, the movers got everything into the new place quickly too and when Isabel and I arrived it looked kind of like home. J had set up the living room and our bedrooms and it looked down right cozy. This really helped too.

I kept Isabel in her normal routine and it was fun having my dad and J's mom just stop by for a little bit. Actually, that was awesome.

We sent Isabel to school this week so we could clean the house (thankfully we did this early in the week before the snow) and then unpacked.

Unpacking is way slower with a toddler, isn't anything with a toddler slower?

Anyway, today we closed. This was hard too. We faced the buyers for the first time and I can barely picture them in my house. Ugh. I loved our house and our neighbors. I could barely talk to them for fear tears would well up. Its been an emotional week. Even today before the closing we saw our neighbor because we came up and shoveled the driveway for the buyers just because it was the right thing to do and Allison just looked wistful and sad. I am good at keeping in touch but I loved having a neighbor who was also a great friend!

I can't say I didn't cry today because I did. I have been crying on and off all week. Honestly, I am a little surprised at how emotional I have felt. Even driving past the vet set me off.

I guess it is because I connected to my community and made friends and lived there for 5+ years. We settled there. Even though we didn't have family there I made friends there my family and put my trust in the vets and doctors that cared for all of us. My work life is still there to some degree and Isabel's school. We started our married life there and lived there together for the first time in our relationship. We brought Isabel home to that house. All this is big stuff. Lots of good and some not so good memories in that house.

I know as time goes on and we discover new things about our new location and enjoy our families it will feel better. I also think that we will feel less stressed financially (huge) and be able to find a better balance between work and home. I also won't miss the long drives to see family or J's long commute in bad weather.

All in all it will be good and the move was really smooth its just bittersweet. That is the best way to describe it!