Friday, September 21, 2012

2 year angel-versary

My sweet angel Jack,

Tomorrow will be 2 years since we said goodbye to you. Two years since I last felt you kick me. Two years since my heart was ripped out of my chest, and I experienced a type of heartbreak that can never, ever be replicated. Two years since my big strong boy became the angel that you were always meant to be.

Since that day two years ago, so many good things have happened to our family. You have a baby sister, who I know would look just like you. We both have new jobs. Both of your aunts got married. We have fantastic friends, and a loving supportive family. Life for us is easy, happy, and fulfilling.

But you're not here, and there will always be a part of me that is missing.

"Jack" is a very common name out there, so every time I hear it, I get that familiar tug at my heartstrings. How badly I wish I could call out the name "Jack" and have my sweet baby boy toddle up to me, look at me with his big blue eyes, and call me Mama. Two years later and I am still wondering why I can't have that.

Tonight I am walking in the March of Dimes Night Moves event with your daddy, little sister, and some of our friends. We made a team in your memory, and I can't believe how coincidental it is that this event would take place this weekend. Last year at the walk, I was pregnant with Emerson, and still praying every day that I would get to take her home. This year for the first time, she will get to play a small but important role in preserving your memory. She's too little to understand, but make no mistake that she will know about her big brother, and how blessed we are to have had both of you in our lives.

Not a day goes by that I don't think of you. Every single day I try to be the person I know you would want me to be. I don't always succeed, but if being a good, kind person means that I could have the chance to see you again someday, I am willing to do anything.

I hope you are having fun up there with your friends - I know of a few angels that you are keeping good company with, and I know you are making them feel welcome. I want to tell you how much I wish you were here, but ultimately I know being an angel is a much more important job.

I cannot thank you enough for looking after our family. Losing you has made me a more cautious, more anxious person, but knowing you are watching out for us truly helps me sleep at night.

I miss you. I love you. I am so proud to be your mom.



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reasons why I'm more of a child than my child

1. I fell asleep on the couch at 7:30pm last night. The Average bedtime for American adults is 10:53pm.

2. Instead of eating my vegetables, all I can think about right now is dipping french fries into a chocolate/strawberry milkshake from Steak & Shake (obviously my sugar post has cursed me!) The seaweed salad I had for lunch is NOT cutting it.

3. I laugh when people fall down. I'm sorry, but as long as you're not hurt, that mess is hilarious!!

4. Every time the Disney World commercial comes on, I stop everything I'm doing, stare longingly at the TV, and whine to Jon that he hasn't taken me there in THREE years. To top it off, he thinks we should wait until Emerson is five before we take her, so she "remembers" it. Nonsense!!!

5. I eat my pancakes and waffles with my hands. Cutting them up into bites takes too long, and I don't use syrup so no fear of sticky fingers here!

6. I know with certainty that Chuck 'E' Cheese has delicious pizza.

7. I can recite every single line of the following films: Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast. Which is all well and good, except for the fact that I cannot name one current Supreme Court Justice.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Infusing pop culture with parenting

Here are the ways I am proving to embrace technology and innovation, while also instilling fundamental values into my daughter's life.

1. Communication

Emerson plays this trick on me.

Me: Say Mama
Her: Dada
Me: Say Mamamama
Her: Dadadada
Me: Say Mama. Say MA-Ma. Say Ma-MA.

So when I first heard the song 'Madness' by Muse, I knew I found the solution! I changed the lyrics of "Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-mad-madness" to "MamamamamamamaMAMAMA"

We're still working on it...

2. Visual Arts

I pre-ordered the iPhone because I am certain there are apps on there that one cannot find in the classroom. I feel like I've learned so many valuable lessons as an adult by playing Angry Birds.

3. Fashion

I read 'Suri's Burn Book' daily, and one of the most important lessons I've learned is to never let Emerson leave the house barefoot. That's a big faux pas according to Suri.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sugar sugar (Oh honey honey)

About, I don't know, 6 weeks or so ago, I decided to give up sugar. Not all kinds of sugar (because believe me, it's in everything) but just those obvious, processed kinds. Sugar takes many forms and has many names in the foods we eat, and in taking on this challenge, I cannot believe how much I was consuming in one day. I thought if I went a day without a brownie I was doing good, but no no no. Ever see the words high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, or dextrin when reading food labels?? Yep, it's allll sugar, folks.

Which really, who cares? If you want to eat sugar, eat it. I'm not here to judge. But, I was eating SO much of it all day long. For example:


Coffee with Cinnabon creamer (High fructose corn syrup)
Greek yogurt with strawberries on the bottom (Sugar)

Blueberry Nutri-Grain bar (Sugar)

Subway turkey sandwich on their cheesy bread (Sugar)
Handful of M&Ms (All kinds of sugar possible)

Vegetable Lasagna with jarred marinara sauce (Sugar)

Brownie-in-a-mug (an ass-load of sugar...damn you Pinterest)

So on the surface, my daily meals didn't look too bad right?? I was getting my veggies/protein at every meal. But every.single.thing I ate all day had sugar in it. You've heard the phrase: "Everything in moderation" right?? Well eating something that is known to be bad for you (when consumed in excess) in every meal... I just don't see that as moderation.

I was looking for a way to curb my sweet tooth while also get over my weight loss plateau, so one day, after having my brownie-in-a-mug for the FIFTH night in a row, I literally decided "Okay Audra, no more sugar for a week." So I did it. And I felt okay. So then I did it a second week. And a third.

And now here we are. I'm 7 lbs lighter, my skin is clearer, and I have truly lost that violent, pleading urge to have a cookie/dessert after every meal. Don't get me wrong, I still use Cinnabon coffee creamer and jarred pasta sauce. But actually reading food labels has made me much more aware of what I'm putting into my body, and I'm happy to have kicked the sugar habit. I now make a conscious effort to choose foods in their most natural state, as often as possible.

So why am I telling you all this? Well a few days ago, I had to complete a Biometric Health Assessment as part of our health plan at work. I have been worried about my cholesterol levels because a) high cholesterol runs in my family and b) For the last few years, it's always been over 200. Over 200 is a danger zone. I think 210 was my highest point, but still... who wants to be labeled as someone with high cholesterol at 28?? My blood pressure has also been high for the last year or so, and in all of my OB checkups when I was pregnant, which was scary but I chalked it up to pregnancy anxiety.

So anyway, I take this health assessment yesterday, and when she gives me my numbers, I about peed myself:

Since my last test in March of 2011, my cholesterol went down a staggering 30 points. Blood pressure went from 130/80 to 100/70. My trigylcerides went from 105 to 55. And my BMI went down 2 points. And this is after being pregnant.

I wanted to cry. I didn't think these numbers could change so significantly, but it has absolutely shown me real, concrete proof that your diet and your lifestyle can have a huge impact on your health. Sometimes I need physical, tangible evidence that choosing whole grain over white bread is the best option, and this is exactly what that did for me. 

I am not telling you this because I think every person out there reading this needs to ditch sugar. Sugar is delicious, and I'd be crazy to suggest that. I'm just sharing my story, and how reducing sugar in my diet has made me healthier. Just my .002.

Since I began this post, after putting in the title, there is one song that will not get out of my head. Who remembers that movie "Now and Then"? Classic coming-of-age flick from 1995. I had never heard of the "Sugar Sugar" song before, but whenever I think Sugar, I think that song and whenever I think that song I think of this movie. Totally random, but that's what you get with me.

Such a sweet movie. Get it??

Wednesday, September 12, 2012



This is the part being a "working mom" kills me.

Emerson woke up around 7:00am this morning; I normally leave at 7:05am. But I played with her for a few minutes, we giggled, and then I handed her off to dada so I could go to work.

The moment I set her down, she started wailing.

I left the room, the wailing got louder.

I peeked my head back into the room, she stopped crying and started crawling toward me. I gave her another quick kiss, and told her she was going to be okay. She smiled.

I left again, and the wailing continued, louder this time.

I realize that she'll never remember this, and Jon said she was fine shortly afterward, but this is the kind of thing that CRUSHES my heart. I wish I could be around her all day, every day :(

Mommy sob story over. Excuse me while I cry into my coffee.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Photo Dump

Catching up from our weekend away has been stressful, but I hope to get back to blogging next week! The wedding was AWESOME and my lovely sis was a beautiful bride. Now they're off to their honeymoon in Aruba and I'm trying to catch up on sleep. So until I have time to formulate some cohesive thoughts, I offer you all of the pictures I took on my phone whilst in Nashville. Note the blurriness. Photography is clearly not my strong suit. Enjoy! :)

And we're off!
The face of my little one at 2:00am when we arrived - are you serious?!?

Rehearsal Dinner outfit
Is there anything more precious than a sleeping baby?This was 10 minutes before the ceremony. I thought for sure the flower girl was going to sleep right through the wedding! Luckily (?) things ended up running about a half hour late due to weather, but it was perfect!

No, I did not give her that coffee to help wake her up. That was for me.
 Her first hotel stay! She loved the soft blankets.

Happy Friday!!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

8 months

Dear Emerson,

I know I start out each of these monthly letters by telling you "Oh, this is my favorite stage...... You are so wonderful at this age.....This is the best age so far...." or some other variable of that. But I swear, this time I mean it. At least until next month.

I am just loving every single about you (as if I didn't before, but still, I need to get that point across). I am finally starting to truly understand the concept of parental love. It manifests itself in so many ways, but I know for sure that I am a different person now as your mother than I was before, because of how little other things matter now that you're here. I just don't see how you could ever do wrong in my eyes. I know you'll make mistakes, and I may even be angry with you some day... I shudder at the thought. Darn you adolescence. But I can see how parents defend their children until kingdom comes, because that's what motherhood does to you. Your dad and I go to bed each night, look at your sweet face on the monitor, and give a contented sigh. Daddy says it best when he says "She is the best thing I've ever done - how did we do so good?" Some day you may think your parents are crazy, but just know that we made you, and that proves that we've done something right in our lives.

So what are you up to this month? Well, a better question would be "What are you NOT up to this month??" You are definitely finding your independence while also proving that you need/want your momma around. You have started to understand that when I leave for work in the mornings, you won't see me again until the early evening, and for the last week or so you've cried when I left, and I have to come right back and snuggle you up because it breaks my heart. I know 8-9 months is a typical range for separation anxiety, but I die a little inside when it happens. Luckily, you rebound quickly and then get to play with dada and your friends at daycare all day, and you come home with this big smile on your face.
Look at you, reaching out and tugging on my heart strings

You are becoming so mobile. You can go wherever you want now, and find unique ways to get there too. Your favorites are "worming," crawling backwards, stretching and rolling, or, your most favorite, having us "walk" you somewhere. You've been doing that for months now, but it seems like you're constantly reaching your tiny hands out to grab my fingers, and grabbing my fingers enables you to pull yourself up so you can walk somewhere. I think you've realized that "walking" is faster than crawling, so apparently that old adage "Before you can walk you have to learn to crawl" doesn't hold true in your case - a trendsetter already!! You can even stand while only using one hand, and you're getting really good at "cruising" along furniture.

You are just SUCH a happy baby. So happy. All the time. If you're not happy, it's because there is something very simple and easy that's upsetting your perfect balance (hungry, tired, missing mama) and once that's remedied, you're back to flashing that wide-mouthed grin. You also understand the difference between "Mama" and "Dada" and you melt our hearts into pathetic puddles when you reach your hand out and ask for us by name.

You're so curious. You want to see everything, touch everything, crawl everything, move everywhere. If there is anything in someone else's hands, you will claim it for your own. And most people oblige, because you're so cute. We may be buying Aunt Lindsay a new iPhone this month. But at least you're happy, right??

You're just so sweet. You love your family, you love animals, and you love exploring. You're calm but not shy. Just look at this picture. It looks like you're pondering the weight of the world, when really, I'm sure you were just looking at the neighbor's dog.

You're becoming such a good eater! I care alot about what types of food we give you, because I feel like it's my job to make you an informed, responsible healthy eater. You've never had jarred baby food. Between your grandma Bev and some late night oven cooking, we have enough homemade food to last you until you're 2. But we also recently started giving you finger foods, and I am so impressed with how quickly you picked it up. It took about a day, but now you can eat anything I put in front of you. Whole wheat pasta. Black Beans. Broccoli. You grab a handful and you gobble it right up! Who knows, maybe you won't be a picky eater as a toddler too?? <-- Wishful thinking, but we'll go with it.
You're a beautiful baby. Those blue eyes. That blonde hair. Those cheeks. Those pouty lips. I could stare at you all day. I don't know how you're my child. If I didn't actually give birth to you I would think that daddy found a supermodel to make a baby with.

Some days I wish I could freeze time and have you be my sweet 8-month old forever. But I can't, and I know it's for the best because I love watching you grow. Just know that whether you are 1 or 20 or 60, you will always be my baby, and I will work my entire life to make sure that you know love and feel love every single day.