Thursday, April 30

Sleep story

Over at one of my new favorite blogs, girlsgonechild dot net, Rebecca posted a sotry about co-sleeping with her adorable daughter. It brought back so many cherished memories of those kind of nights and mornings with Ava. She asked for the readers' sleep story to be entered into a giveaway. Not that I need the bouncer that she is giving away, but I love contests and I love my sleep story so I posted and I thought I would share with you what I wrote.

My sleep story is more of a no-sleep story.

Ava has been sleeping with me since the night she was born. She is now 2.

When her father left us in the hospital the day after she born the only thing that kept me going was Ava. I never wanted to let her go because she was literally my life. The nurses all yelled at me for letting her sleep in my arms. For some reason it was against hospital policy for babies and mothers to sleep together. WTF? I didn’t listen, she slept with me ever night for the week we were there.

Then when we got home I couldn’t even think of not being close to her. It made nursing much easier and we both slept better cuddled up with each other. Sleeping completely alone at that point would have broken me. Her room was so far away, and what if I didn’t hear her? That was not a chance I was going to take.

I started dating Justin when Ava was 3 months old. We didn’t start having over-nighters for the first couple of months but when we were ready for that I really wanted to have the privacy that we needed to take our relationship to the next level…plainly said we really wanted to jump in the sac. So I started training Ava…but somehow she always knows. The minute I walk past my bedroom door towards her she awakes. What? I thought you were sound asleep but you were secretly counting the number of steps I took so you would know which room we were entering? Kids are too damn smart for their parents’ own good, even at that age. But somehow I managed to get her into her own bed for a couple of hours each night, just long enough for me and Justin to spend some time together…alone. But Ava always wound up right smack dab in the middle of us. Neither of us seemed to care though. I loved sharing a bed with the two loves of my life, and Justin was totally embracing being a family.

Ava did sleep in her own bed for a little while after her 1st birthday. It took a lot of work but we got her there. Now she is back in bed with me and I am lacking in the sleep department more than ever. Cuddling doesn’t happen anymore. Ava loves to sleep with my pillow, loves to sleep on my side of the bed, doesn’t want to be touched or bothered, and rolls around like crazy. It isn’t anything for me to get kicked in the face (several times) in the night because she is tossing and turning, I still love feeling close to her but I’m not partial to black eyes. So we’re back at square one and trying to find a way to get her back into her own bed,…for good this time.

By the way…your post is beautiful and captures so well the exact way I felt when Ava was sleeping with me at that age. Waking up to that sweet smell and baby kisses is one of the best feelings ever. Thank you for taking me back to that place.

Anyone wanna share their story? In the mean time how about this adorable sleep picture?

Tuesday, April 28

It's true what they say

Practice really does make perfect.

Okay, well not really perfect. At least not for me. I've been working on a camera strap slipcover. The first one I mad was too small, the second too big, and the third too small. I put a new stitch in the one that's too big to make it fit but wanted to try again to satisfy myself. I don't like failing at crafty things.

So I made a fourth one tonight, and it only tookm about fifteen minutes so I guess I'm learning. And it turned out and I am so excited. I will be making lots more in all sorts of different patterns.
Next project....adding on a lens pocket and a memory card pocket.

The littlest mommy

When I was young I loved playing “house.” It’s so funny the way kids play things acting like they are adults. It happens so often and in so many different manners. I played with barbies, baby dolls, and little people. All of them had little families and every day lives that as a child I thought were typical of grown ups. While riding bicycles we would have different parts of town that we would drive to and from. McDonalds, the school, the pool…and every once in awhile we’d even get pulled over by the police. The more I think back on it, and they are actually very vivid memories, the more I realize that all of the things I played were based on an adult life that I was aware of. I don’t remember what age I started playing these games but my memories go as far back as I can remember.

Ava just turned two and is already playing these games. A few days ago the babysitter told me about the kids playing. Her 3 year old daughter and a little boy around the same age were pretending to be Ava’s mommy and daddy. They took her to McDonald’s and got her French fries and nuggets. Ava played right along. At home she plays with her baby dolls and stuffed animals. Yesterday she was rocking her stuffed Ming Ming patting her on the back and saying “shhh.” Then she laid one of her babies in the bed and got the bottle and said “here baby, gulky.” It is the sweetest and cutest thing ever.

She is only two, yet she understands some of the basic aspects of life. Babies have mommies and daddies, like to be rocked to sleep, and love their gulky. She pushes around her stroller with purse in hand, sunglasses covering her eyes, shouting “bye mommy” and it melts my heart. I wish I could hold onto these days forever.

Who else has little ones pretending to be grown ups?

Thursday, April 23

a trio

I have a ton of really great friends that I rely on for support, laughter, fun times, adventures, and great conversation. I really don’t know where I would be without my friends. I know a lot of people say that and that their friends are the best around, but I truly feel like that. They have picked me up when I’ve fallen, laughed at my bad jokes, fallen in love with my daughter, and been my family when I felt like I had no where else to turn. To say I love them is an understatement.

One of my nearest and dearest friends lives in California. She has been on and off living there for about 3 years and finally settled in permanently sometime last year. Before that she spent mostly summers there and there wasn’t any way I could visit. She comes home but it is becoming less and less often as the time passes. Life without her is very strange. I miss being able to pick her up and drive around til the wee hours of the morning. The 3some that she and I and another dear friend makeup are missing its artsy fartsy, weird food-eating hippie, and I say that in the greatest ways.

So what are we going to do about it?

FLY TO SAN FRANCISCO!!! That’s right! Me and my girl are going to fly cross county with my 2 year old to see our other girl. The excitement that I have is indescribable. All I can think about is our tearful reunion, because it always is, trolley cars, bays, sidewalks full of strangers that I want to know, Victorian houses, claw foot tubs, and gab sessions with my two besties. It’s going to be an amazing vacation and I am just counting down the days and trying to raise the numbers in my bank account.

When we finally get to San Fran and see the other third of our trio it will have been 8 months since I last saw her pretty face, in person. That is INSANE! Honestly, having to go that long without seeing one of your best friends is heartbreaking.

But I won’t dwell on that.

I need some help though. Ava has never flown. I am desperate for tips and advice for flying with a 2 year old. What are the essentials and the best recommended products to have on board with me?

Wednesday, April 22

My daughter's obsession

Ava is mildly obsessed with milk. Okay so that should really say, Ava is wildly obsessed with milk. Her entire life revolves around it. And you know how kids have their own way of saying things? Well Ava’s word for milk is “gulk.” I have no idea where she came up with this but every other word is gulk or gulky. I’ve tried teaching her to say it the correct way by putting emphasis on the m because she can say any other word that starts with m. It goes something like this,

Me: Ava say mmmmmmmmmiilk
Ava: gggguuuuuuuuuuuulk

It’s so adorable and I really love how she says it in her little two year old voice. But Justin is convinced that if we don’t start teaching her to say it the correct way then she’ll go to kindergarten asking for her gulky. I’m not convinced however.

Since she is obsessed though, gulky is always on her mind and she is always asking for it. Even if she doesn’t want it for drinking, she has a need for it to be in her hand. “Where my gulk?” she says…..ALL. THE. TIME.

I’d love to hear some stories of something your kiddo says wrong in such an endearing way that you don’t really mind. Come on, I need a good laugh today.

Sunday, April 19

A day at the park.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking pictures for a beautiful and inspiring little family. It was a great day for pictures, warm and sunny. I haven't had much practice working with families and kids outside of my own so I am so appreciate to have had the opportunity to work with this family. Aren't they so adorable?

Amanda and Denny are the wonderful parents to these two little cuties. Zach has a great imagination and tons of energy like the typical 2 1/2 year old. If he hadn't saved me from the dinosaurs I'm not sure where I'd be today ;) And Bri is such a little fighter and her story and achievements are very inspiring. A blessed family indeed.

Amanda recently started up a business making tutus for little girls...or big girls. They are so adorable and even better, they're affordable. Check out her site for more information on tutus and bows.

And check out this pic of their little angel, Bri. I just adore it.
Hope everyone's weekend was as enjoyable as mine. Back to the work week...and from the sounds of it, icky weather. Let's all hope that the warm sunny weather is back agin for the weekend.

Thursday, April 16

A whole new World...the next chapter

That song from Aladdin resonates through my mind when I think of a whole new world. But the new world I’m talking about was anything but a sappy love-song from a Disney movie.


Simply stated but a complete understatement.

Part Deux.
After finding out I was indeed pregnant I wanted to let sperm donor know. That wasn’t going to be so easy though considering he had my means of communication and transportation. For some reason I thought that if I told him immediately then he would leave the party and the life he was living and come straight to me ready to change his life for me and this little person growing inside of me. I can’t remember why now, but MJ and I went to wal-mart and I used a pay phone to call sperm donor. In true sperm donor fashion he was a complete ass and didn’t even believe me. I went back to MJ’s with her and slumbered into a deep hole on her couch until the wee hours of the night when sperm donor came rolling in drunk as a skunk.

I rarely regret anything in my life because I see all mistakes as an opportunity to learn and mature from. However, this is not the case in the decision I made to stay with sperm donor. I really thought that I could change him and that we could live a happy life. Who wouldn’t want to change their life around for their own child? There are so many pieces of me that wish I would have walked away right then and there. Before he had the opportunity to bring me down or walk away from us. I didn’t walk away though. Instead I tried to hide everything that he was and what he was doing from everyone who loved me and all those who had already done so much for me. And I have to live with that.

Bars and Hospitals.
Sperm donor showed no improvement in the early days of my pregnancy. I was searching for him in random bars across town and fearing for my life and the life that was growing inside of me while he was out spending money I had earned.

I was extremely sick for most of my pregnancy. Morning sickness turned into all-day and night sickness and lasted most of my pregnancy. I was hospitalized around my fourth month for a kidney infection and while I was lying in a hospital bed he was gambling and drinking. I had no idea how bad things were.

The Sober Month.
We moved into a bigger apartment in a better part of town and for awhile sperm donor was actually sober. At least I believed he was. It only lasted a few weeks though. And in those few weeks I really thought that something had changed in him. That maybe he realized how precious the life growing inside of me was and that he needed to change his life for her and really for himself. For three weeks he was the sober person that I had been looking for, for months. I was able to convince all of my friends that he was doing better, attending NA meetings, and was on the road to recovery. We had a nice Christmas and were able to afford getting gifts for each other and for our families.

It didn’t last at all.

We were scheduled to make a visit to his family over New Year’s. The night before we left he went out and didn’t come home. We still managed to make the trip to Philly but I was angry the entire time. I wanted to tell his family so badly but I didn’t want to ruin the trip.

When we came home he kept getting worse. I was hospitalized again and this time I needed surgery. After my surgery he was gone again. I can only imagine the things he was doing. My family was starting to notice that I was always depressed and that I was making excuses for his whereabouts or why we didn’t have any money. He had gotten laid off from work and our only income was unemployment and some money I was making from babysitting occasionally. His mom sent us money so that we could pay our rent and have a little bit to live off of until he found a job. He went to the post office to pick the certified check for $1000 that she had sent.

I didn’t see or hear from him for a week…

Wednesday, April 15

Flat on my face.

Sometimes things happen in life that make you fall flat on your face. That happened to me today. I felt like I was on top of the world because things have been so well lately. But I guess a good high can never last too long anyways and you just gotta find something to get you back on top again.

I interviewed for a full time position at work and found out today that they chose someone else. I feel like such a dumbass; embarressed and ashamed. After being with the agency for more than a year I'm not good enough yet to be hired as a full-time employee? What a kick in the ass. I'm sure that whoever they hired is a great candidate for the job but I love my job. I'm dedicated to the agency and have worked my ass off so hard for this past year just waiting for this opportunity and then it comes and goes just like that. I'm so sad and pissed off.

So now I'm stuck trying to find something else that is going to make me feel good again. I fell off the weight loss horse that I've been riding so I'm determined to get back on it and lose weight in time for my weigh in on Monday. I'm also starting school in two weeks which is exciting and scary as hell all at the same time. I'm ready though. This is the challege I need right now and I'm finally at a place in my life where I feel good about school.

Other things to keep me busy: I'm going to attempt to make a camera strap slipcover for myself. I haven't sewn in years but I am determined to do this and make a beautiful strap. I have the walk for MS on Saturday, and even though I'm like $100 away from my goal...yeah.

So I'm going to sulk the rest of the day and evening but tomorrow I'm going to wake up with a smile on my face and remind myself of all the wonderful things in my life that I have to be grateful for...but as for now, back to bitterness and maybe a margarita :)

Monday, April 13

Pink Eggs & Ham

Ava’s third Easter has come and gone faster than I ever could have imagined. I look back at her first Easter and see how far we’ve come and am amazed and feel so blessed. Her first Easter was spent in the hospital; she was healthy but mommy wasn’t. I tried so hard to be out of there so that we could be home for Easter but it just didn’t happen. Instead we enjoyed most of the day together cuddling and nursing building that special mother daughter relationship.

This year she probably could have cared less if I was there to witness her running around with all her cousins in search of eggs. She is so independent and lively. I sit and watch her and just try to absorb it all in. Those moments are so easily forgotten which is why I snapped a couple hundred pictures. Like this one. And then I see the special moments that she has with my man and my heart melts like a chocolate bunny in August. I am so grateful to have been able to spend the day with our families and my perfect little family. It makes all those days that seem so-so worth it. Like we are saving all those perfect moments for one special day in which they just start exploding. A domino effect of perfectness.

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter spent with family and embracing all of life’s greatest gifts.

Thursday, April 9

What brought me here.

Lately I’ve gotten into reading other people’s blogs, mostly single moms and even a single dad. I’ve found their stories relatable in some ways, inspiring in others, and feel some sort of connection to them being a single mother also – this is assuming that being a single mother means unwed because that is the only way in which I could possibly be considered single.

I am in a relationship with a man that I love incredibly. There are times when I don’t have all the burdens that 100% single moms have because I have my man, and he adores my baby girl. He is willing to watch her so I can go to aerobics or to dinner with my friends. He enjoys giving her baths, reading books, and tickling her until she goes into a completely infectious laughter. I am blessed to have found such a wonderful man to love me and my daughter. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t endure other aspects of being a single mom. Late nights with a fussy girl who can only be soothed by her mama, her blanket, and milk…in that order, embarrassing shopping trips with an out of control two year old, and drama from the sperm donor.

I’m more than happy now and although some don’t see our story as a fairytale I still do because in the end I found my prince – but before I found him, my life was anything but a fairytale. I was lost, lonely, insecure, and abandoned. Two years after my daughter’s birth and three since this whole charade started, I’m ready to tell my story. Some know it but others may be shocked, but what’s a good story without a little shock factor?

I was almost 20 when I met sperm donor, three months later I was pregnant. I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this guy. I am so ashamed to say that I bought into what he was selling me. We went out a couple of times to parties and I saw that he was into drugs. I never thought it was a problem. I needed all of my fingers and toes to count how many people I knew that had used or were using some form of recreational drugs. I really didn’t think it was as big of a deal as it was. Pretty soon he was stealing my car and money, disappearing and leaving me deserted, and accusing me of cheating and ruining his life. If the unexpected miracle of life hadn’t of happened that would have been the end of me and sperm donor. I would not have had a reason to stay, but it did, and I thank God every day for the miracle he blessed me with.

Achy boobs and beer.
The first week in August I went to Myrtle Beach with my friends. Little did I know it was sort of my last hooh-rah. Before the trip I had dreamed two separate times that I was pregnant but I really didn’t think too much more about it. I was so relieved to be on the trip, especially since sperm donor had taken all of the money I saved up, but I was worried the whole time about what he was doing back home with my car and phone. During my week at the beach I noticed some things were different about me. I lacked energy and took advantage of lying out in the pool or on the beach. I wasn’t hungry during the day, instead food made me feel nauseous, but by night time I was famished. A couple of times I tried to drink beer or mixed drinks but it also made me sick. Then I had yet another dream. I think I knew that I was preggo, but wasn’t ready to admit it.

The test.
The night I got home from the beach I was expecting sperm donor to be waiting for me at his apartment. Instead he was missing with my cell phone and my car. I was stranded because I’d sent my friends home in a desperate attempt to keep this all a secret from them. I was so embarrassed with what this had all come to. After walking to a nearby gas station, in a not so great part of town, I was able to reach another friend, MJ, to come and pick me up. She was 8 months preggo at the time and was a dear, dear friend of mine and I had relied on her so much already. In times like these you really find out who your friends are.

So anyways, I was really down due to the fact that my boyfriend was a drug addict and verbally abusive. I brought a bag of beer with me, yes a bag – I’m classy, to drown my sorrows into and share with her boyfriend since they were doing so much for me. I started drinking a beer, got about a ¼ of it down and then threw up. This was a sure sign that something was not right; I could always “handle” my beer, especially the first one. I looked up at MJ my arms still hanging over the toilet and said, “I think I’m pregnant.” Those words were so deafening and the last I thought to be coming out of my mouth. She scurried around the house looking for a pregnancy test she knew she had, and then I peed on it.