Baby, Life Changes, Love, Mom, Motherhood, NYC, SAHM

The Start of the SAHM Life

I have been meaning to write this for almost 8-months now, but every day I say I’m going to do it, the day ends and merely the thought of writing is all that has happened. Such is the life of a newly inducted SAHM (that’s Stay At Home Mom for those of you who don’t know).

I didn’t always think I would be a SAHM right off the bat. I mean, I wanted to be one eventually, after I had all the kids I would have, but right away – meh. Then my Little Roo was born. Really it was even before that moment that I knew I would be beyond 100% satisfied with my life if I stayed home. And did I know it would be hard? Yeah. I had no doubt that when people told me it was one of the hardest jobs they have ever done that they were telling the truth. But to actually experience that personally took that belief to a whole other level.

 

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I’ll be honest – I already don’t remember what my job entailed those first couple months. I was a complete zombie who apparently kept a very happy demeanor (according to my husband, who didn’t tell me that until after, just in case a comment like that made me explode, haha). Once my husband went back to work I was sure I would be able to keep up with my old schedule. I mean, the baby just sleeps 90% of the time, right? Well, all I could ever answer when he would come home asking what I did for the day was. . . “I don’t know”. As along as it wasn’t too negative temperature-wise outside I knew we went for a walk, but the rest of it – well my memory decided to go the way of Dory.

Fortunately for my sanity (that was probably on the brink with the lack of sleep, even if I wasn’t aware of it), we were blessed with a good sleeper who was sleeping through the night by 8-10 weeks. That was at least one really hard part out of the way, but that by no means made the list of hard things smaller. I tried making a schedule, writing down exactly what I wanted to accomplish (I’m a total list person). I pinned everything on fun things I could do with my Roo, and yet I still felt like I was being inadequate as a mother. My job was to stay home, enriching her life but also make the home clean and comfortable for us all – why was this so overwhelming!?

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Almost 8-months have gone by now, and while there are still days I feel completely overwhelmed, desiring to do nothing more than to crawl into my bed and sleep everything away, I wouldn’t trade any of these last months for anything. Being a SAHM is the dream job I didn’t fully realize I wanted but it’s a job I can’t imagine not having and not giving my absolute everything.

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Baby, Birth, Husband, Love, Miracle of Life, Motherhood, NYC

That Moment

Do you believe in love at first sight? That moment when you make contact and the whole world stops. Where a breath is impossible to take – words indescribable in the moment.

I knew I loved you before I met you. I knew we were meant to be before I even knew you existed, and it took only nine minutes to prove my feelings were true. For the second time in my life I was completely, helplessly, madly in love.

Looking at your face I needed to memorize it all in that moment – I didn’t want one detail to slip by. Your nose. Your lips. Your eyes. Your ears – perfection. I needed to touch them each a hundred times and then a hundred times more just to reassure myself that what I saw was real.

Once our eyes met. Big and beautiful, they pulled me in, captured me heart and soul.

Then I saw you in his arms. Stars exploded, worlds collided – there was nothing else in the world that could compare to my two loves. My world was rocked once six years ago, and now it had been jolted again. How did I get so lucky? What had I done to deserve this?

My husband stood before me holding our daughter. It was a moment I had envisioned over and over, imagining how perfect it would be. This man who had enraptured me from day one was standing, smiling, gazing down at this little being, this beautiful little girl we had created. He was perfect. She was perfect. Life, in that moment, was perfect.

My world has been stopped twice and twice I have been completely without air. And words – there aren’t enough to adequately describe these moments. So I just sit silently, letting it overflow my heart and fill up my world.

CP Family

I believe in love at first sight.

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Birth, Judgement, Life Changes, Miracle of Life, Motherhood, NYC, Pregnancy

Judge Ye Not. . . A Birth Story

It is unique to human beings. No other animal is so harsh to one another. So callous and cruel. Humans are constantly trying to one up one another, pointing out how they are better or superior in some way or another. This is shown through clothing worn or money earned. Where one lives, what one drives and even how one eats.

Since becoming pregnant (and now becoming a mother) I had become even more conscious of the human species viscousness through their judging of one another. And while I had made an effort before to not be so quick to judge another person, I was adamant to be better after judgement I have heard and received over the last nine months.

Pregnancy judgment begins the day you choose to announce to the world (or even close family and friends) that you are expecting. The happiest moment in your life (well, at least until that Little Roo is born), immediately becomes a harbor for constant worry and constant scrutiny from others.

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The moment I started telling people that we were expecting I was bombarded with questions. While ‘congratulations’ was the first thing to come out of people’s mouths, it was quickly followed by; “do you have a birth plan?” or “are you planning on having a natural birth?” and even just the advice of, “you know you should breast feed for at least the first year”. People, my baby is the size of a pea and is indistinguishable between that of a tadpole – CALM DOWN PLEASE!

Fast forward to week 25 or so and I was that lady the people were afraid to ask if I was pregnant. Really, I just looked like I had gained a few pounds. I really had the prefect example of a spare tire. When people did choose to ask and I told them how far along I was I immediately got looks of concern. “Are you sure what you are doing here {at the gym} is ok for you?”, “Are you sure that’s how far along you are?” (no, actually, it’s not a perfect science, you get an ESTIMATED due date, not an actual – doctors are good, but not that good). I even had people have the audacity to tell me they didn’t think my pregnancy, or at least the baby, was healthy with how small I was. Here is what they didn’t know:

At week 13 I went in for routine test looking for downs syndrome and chromosomal abnormalities. While almost everything came back looking great, one blood test made my doctor a little concerned. I even had to have the discussion with her about what our decision would be if the additional blood tests showed the same result (scariest discussion I have had to date). Everything, thankfully, came back fine – but there was a, shall we call it, a side-effect to this red flag. Come week 28 I would be going in frequently for additional ultra sounds and non-stress tests. I was a ‘high-risk’ pregnancy. I found myself immediately being judgmental and had to catch myself. ‘I can’t be high risk, I’m too young. That’s only for those people who choose to have babies later in life’ – massive error. I don’t know what leads people to have a baby later. Maybe they have been trying for 10 years to get pregnant. Maybe they had such a wonderful job that they couldn’t imagine leaving it just yet. Whatever the reason, they were choosing to bring life into this world and that’s all that matters.

Every time I was asked if the baby or just everything was ok I would just smile and say, ‘yes, everything is great’. And it was. I was lucky. Every test I had taken looked great – my baby was smaller than average, but not dangerously so. We just really were going to have a little Little Roo. But did that reassurance help me when constantly getting asked about our health by others – no. Every time it made me a little nervous.

Now let’s go to the birth. I had a c-section. We chose to tell very few people this. People push the whole natural birth thing so much these days that having a c-section is practically frowned upon by many. Did I want to have a natural birth? I most definitely did. Some crazy part of me wanted to feel that euphoric pain that comes with a natural birth. But do you want to know what I wanted above anything else? A healthy baby. Before my baby’s birth I had more random people give me advice on what the baby’s gender was and how I needed to birth her. I had one man (yes, a man) tell me that I HAD to have a water birth. It was the best for a baby. Hospitals were not a good place and if I wanted to, he could give me the info for the place his wife birthed their child. I had a woman in a nail salon tell me it needed to be ‘au-natural’ as well and that a Doula was necessary; “especially since you are from Utah, you definitely need a Doula” (um, what? What does Utah have to do with anything!?). The c-section was not my first choice, or even one I wanted to even choose from – it was, however, the safest choice. My baby was breach, and even though we attempted a version, our Little Roo wasn’t budging. It was much more content kicking my bladder constantly.

Now some of you reading this may think, “well yeah, it’s safer, but you can still at least try a breach natural birth”. True, this is something you can choose to attempt. To me, the thought of going through the stress of actual labor to have the chance that something goes wrong that they do an emergency c-section anyway wasn’t worth the risk. I would enjoy my birth experience no matter how it happened. My husband and I were having a baby! That’s the ONLY thing that mattered.

It’s funny, now, to hear people’s reactions when I say I had a c-section. I even catch myself defending my reasoning. Why should I have to give an excuse for why I had a c-section? There are people who elect to have them all the time. I think I do so because, in the back of my mind, I am still worried about the judgement people will place on me for that decision. That I wasn’t strong enough to go through labor, that I wasn’t willing to do more, to try more to make a natural birth happen. But I shouldn’t have to defend my choice. I grew a human being for heaven’s sake! I created life. I altered my body so that it could harbor this miraculous being, and regardless of how it was brought into this world, it is still a little miracle. My little miracle.

So next time you are walking down the street and you see something different than what you personally believe in, stop you brain from even starting to judge. But if you can’t quite quit judging cold turkey, at least start with not judging the lady with the belly. Tell her congratulations. She is creating something miraculous and her body will change in whatever ways it sees fit. You, at one point, were that little miracle too – you still are, that’s what makes you, you.

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Adventure, Baby, Life Changes, Mom, NYC

Mommy In the City. . . ?

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The crib sat in a corner adorned with Great Grandma’s handmade quilt. The white wicker rocking chair, the same one that I had in my room as a baby, sat in another corner surrounded by some stuffed animals and a small basket of toys. The walls were a soft pastel and the large bookshelf was stocked with every book my Little Roo would need for years to come. It was my perfect nursery room just as I had always imagined it. . .

And then I moved to New York City

Like so many women, I had this vision of how my life would go up to mommy hood. I would leave my home state after college, live in a big city for a year or two, find my dream man somewhere, move to a nice house in the burbs (probably back in my home state), get married and have children. We would live in a beautiful little neighborhood with BBQs and a park nearby for morning walks/runs. Yeah, a little too idyllic, perhaps, but a girl can dream!

Of course I have gotten some of those things. I found my dream man (seriously still wondering how he picked me – so so lucky), and we had begun searching for our dream suburban home in the mountains of Park City, Utah. I hadn’t moved to a big city after college, but I had found my husband, so that was totally worth it. Then, just months before our marriage, his company informed us we would be moving to New York City. My weekends of teaching skiing, evening trail runs/mountain bike rides out our back door after a long work day – all of that and more was about to disappear.

Fast forward to ten months of ‘big city’ living, adjusting, shock and change – the biggest of which will come mid October when we welcome our Little Roo (gender TBD upon arrival) and that dream nursery room has now become a 7x7sq.ft. space in the hallway to our bedroom. There are no neighborhood BBQs, no non-crowded little (or big) parks nearby and no baby’s room akin to Father of the Bride II. And let’s be honest here, I’m terrified of being a Big City Mom.

Perhaps I’m overthinking this Big City Mom thing (ok, I know I am). I spent my life in the mountains, and while I enjoyed traveling to big cities, I have never been one of those people who have thought while there, ‘now this is where I could spend my life’. Spend a year and have that ‘big city’ adventure – definitely. But be the place where my family would start – not in my wildest (or even tamest) dreams! I was completely content being a small town girl and eventually a suburban mom. I would find my mommy neighbors, go play in the park, have a great, small school district for me to work in and my kids to go to and fall asleep every night to cool mountain air and the sweet silence only nature can provide.

The lack of mountains and outdoor space (which has also made me very aware of my complete lack in sense of direction) makes me more homesick than anything, but here is what I’m really afraid of:

In ten months my husband and I have yet to make friends (let alone really meet) with anyone in our building. I even recently met a man in our elevator carrying two chocolate shakes. I inquired as to why he had two in which he responded his wife wanted one so he figured he would get himself one. Asking if she was pregnant (his response yes) I said I was too, hoping to strike up a conversation and perhaps even start a new friendship. His response – ‘oh’. End of that conversation, start to an awkwardly long last couple floors. I didn’t want to be that pushy person forcing something that obviously wasn’t there so I just stayed quiet.

The lack of our ability to make acquaintances with anyone in our building within childbearing age isn’t the only thing that makes this mountain girl nervous for this Big City Mom life. While I have been impressed with the amount of parks New York has with seemingly such limited space, the idea of waiting in line to swing and then have an actual swing time limit is completely ridiculous. There is no backyard to have adventures in, no pond to play in or mountain trail to venture through. To find outdoor space requires packing up for the entire day and trekking across New York traffic (which I’m terrified of which means I’ll really going to be a mess with my child). Yes, moms do this here every day and can’t imagine doing it any other way. I even had one say she doesn’t understand how suburban moms do it –

“I mean I can’t imagine having to pack up your car every day just to go somewhere.”

As I listened, all I could think of was the convenience of a suburb with its proximity to open space and the stroll around the neighborhood that does not require you packing up your life (and yes, after living in New York City for a bit, I do admit there are some major convenience factors, I’m not crazy).

Now before you think I am just the biggest Negative Nancy of city life, let me tell you a few of the things I am definitely looking forward to with a baby in the city – at least for the first couple years (the city school fiasco is a whole other topic).

Culture. This is one thing I will openly admit Utah does not have a lot of that New York is overflowing with – and it’s AWESOME! Everywhere you turn there is someone different, someone new, something different, educational and fun to experience. This city has a parade or small festival for everything, and I mean everything.

Museums. An annual pass to the Museum of Natural History (my personal favorite) and the MET are definitely going to happen. Once the weather gets chilly we are going to need an indoor adventure spot. An apartment can only provide so much entertainment, and if there is no snow (I’m from Utah here, so I’m talking Real snow), at least there are amazing, visually enriching, fun and educational places for us to experience.

With so many things New York City has to offer I know I am going to have so much to offer this Little Roo of mine, I still can’t help but be terrified. I just don’t see the little Mountain Girl in me succeeding as a Big City Mom. Perhaps I just need some more time, some more solo adventures before the bundle arrives to get my bearings (at least a little bit, still directionally challenged in this place). I’m a Mountain Mom at heart – but perhaps we’ll just play make believe for a couple years – being a Big City Mom could be one of our best young adventures together.

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Dating, Moving, NYC, The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons Test

I used to joke with some of my girlfriends that you had to date a guy through all four seasons before even considering marriage. How else are you going to know their different habits in the winter vs the summer, the things you can’t stand or even the things that make you that much more attracted to them? New York City and I have made it through four seasons. We have survived each other and have found numerous likes and dislikes, but I think we just might get along – for a little while at least.

FALL 2013 – Our first couple months were a whirlwind of moving, fun and fall. Living in the Financial District for our first month was entertaining and scary – I don’t think I was able to go home the same way once, it’s so confusing down there! But he did have fun running around the point of the island, experiencing Oyster Fest (our first weekend in New York, way to draw us in!), going to Governor’s Island and more. When the end of October came we were moving into our midtown east apartment, talking jogs through the millions of paths in Central Park and getting a small peek at an East Coast fall (I have since heard the real ‘East Coast Fall’ is really experienced by traveling upstate or up north a bit). As overwhelming as it all was, what with the millions of people everywhere, New York had given us a great introduction and we were quite excited to see what lay ahead.

WINTER 2013-2014 – We were excited about what lay ahead. . . until winter came. At first I was just laughing a bit quietly at others. When the first “storm” came in, the meteorologists predicted a snowfall of three inches. Psh, three inches. Well according to the completely empty shelves at the grocery store and the 1hr check-out line (that’s Not exaggerating!), three inches of snow may have well been the start of the next ice age. Really I was most sad that my backyard of mountains was gone, that skiing would not be available to me within 10minutes when I wanted (how spoiled, I know) – and then came the wind and wet. I have been cold before. I have stood in a full body spandex suit in -27 degree dry temperatures. That pales in comparison to the wet wind that whips through, around, over, under, really any and every direction possible, through the streets of Manhattan. I HATE New York City Winters. In the four seasons test this was truly a potential breaking point. I have let it pass this year because I had to be fair – I had to give New York City the full year to see where our relationship would end up.

SPRING 2014 – Thank God New York Winters are not as long as Utah winters. While I almost went crazy, I can handle (at least I think I can, ask me again at the end of this winter) 3.5months of gray-brown snow and bitter cold (compared to the Utah winter of 6months, which I actually Love!). I cannot begin to express my delight as the snow and cold turned to rain and milder temperatures. Birds began singing (in Central Park that is, I don’t hear birds elsewhere), buds began blooming – the city was coming to life again. I began braving running outside again (my outdoor running threshold completely changed here, I will completely admit I became a pansy and learned to almost like the treadmill). While I was dreading the summer coming (all I heard was how hot and humid it is), I was really thoroughly enjoying this East Coast spring. If I wasn’t going to get my spring skiing, I certainly could enjoy a true spring of flowers and green and things that Utah just sometimes seems to miss.

SUMMER 2014 – The months creeped away and suddenly it was summer time. I would look out the window of my apartment and take a guess at how quickly I would just sweat through all my clothing. . . but then it never really came. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was humid for me, but that’s not saying much. When it is 25% humidity in Utah I feel like i am going to melt whereas in New York City people say, “oh it’s only 65% humidity, it’s really rather dry” – HAHAHA, dry. Funny. But those 95 degree temperatures combined with the 98% humidity never came. I avoided the state completely for the month of August just to avoid this dreaded, ‘East Coast Summer’ but going to the mountains and all I missed was beautiful, perfect weather. And then the beginning of September came. . . if September is all I have to deal with for a New York Summer, I will easily and gladly survive. Yes I felt like melting a couple days, but they were nothing worse than what I would experience visiting my grandfather in Houston, Texas (you want humid, melting death – try a day down there!). Summer, you made me like New York quite a lot – this relationship, while taking awhile, is slowly getting stronger.

FALL 2014 – Here we are a year later. The ‘Four Seasons Test’ is complete – so where does our relationship stand? Well I’m not ready for a breakup yet. New York, while she took awhile, finally introduced me to some amazing new friends, given me mostly good, enjoyable weather, and above all has introduced me to an experience that I will be proud and enjoy sharing no matter where we end up down the road. However, even after a year has passed, I am not ready to say we are in a fully committed relationship, I’m not ready for those, ‘three big words’. I do know that we are in a long term relationship, and while I know it will not be forever for us, I still look forward to seeing how long of a commitment this City pulls me in for and if she will every pull those ‘three big words’ out of my mouth for her.

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9/11 Memorial, NYC, Uncategorized

My JFK Day

As I was about to turn off my radio to head to school the host starts laughing and says; “get this, some idiot ran their plane into the World Trade Center in New York City. Buddy, those are pretty big and hard to miss {chuckling with co-host}. . . . . . . oh wait, we just heard this is quite serious, we will keep you updated as we know more.” The time was 6:55AM in Utah (8:55AM in NYC).

Every T.V. in our cafeteria was on, every student was silent. They were replaying the second tower getting hit over and over. It wasn’t real. It couldn’t be. The T.V. stayed on in my first period class for about 10min before my math teacher decided there was no reason to watch anymore. We argued then proceeded to ignore everything math related until a science teacher came by to tell us that the Pentagon was just hit and nobody was teaching.

My generation had just encountered it’s JFK day.

Sept 11 Mem

Walking down the stairs I feel a breeze rush past me. “Just get out and run”. Some pillars still stand, adorned with patches and pictures, memories and an unmistakable pain and burden. Videos are on, surrounding you, calling out all the details over and over. You want to move on but you can’t, but there is more so you do. Going deeper the blood starts flowing faster, harder. Whispers, echos, penetrating and yet emanating from everywhere. A quilt with words of encouragement from an elementary school in Colorado lines one wall. Behind, the whispers become louder. Closer, louder. A mother, a brother, a son, a sister. They all have something to say. A memory, a message. Every face, all 2,977 of them smile down on you. You want to smile back, but it hurts so much.

Deeper still, reaching past the heart and into the soul. But there is one corner that seems it should be reserved for Hades. It’s dark, it’s filled with doom. It is the worst thing you have ever witnessed. ‘Turn away, it’s not right to look’, you tell yourself out of respect, but you can’t. They stand outside windows, waving t-shirts of white, searching for a savior that will never come – and so they jump. They fall, they plummet, they know what’s coming. But it’s only their bodies going to meet Hades at Styx, because the moment they took that last step their soul ascended, free from the smoke and pain and fear.

The details are endless. You could go through 100 times and still see something new – and each time will not be easier, but harder. They tell you to give yourself 90minutes to go through. But how can you only give this 90 minutes of your time? It will take days. It will take reading every little detail, it will take telling everyone around you to go see it.

Eventually I will be bringing my own children here. They will probably come home from school one day, asking what I remember about that day. It will strike me how strange it is that they don’t know. How could they not know? Then, while I tell my children everything, I will pray that they never have to experience anything like this. Yet in my heart I think I know this isn’t true. For every generation seems to have their day in their history that shakes their world, so I will just hope that they can take it all in and remember it all like I have. We can build a memorial and a museum, make documentaries and docu-drama movies to be passed down through the generations, but it is up to the individual to hold those memories in their heart. To never forget but always remember without the aid of a memorial.

The true memorial should always reside in your heart.

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NYC, NYC Dining, Uncategorized

Bites with Budda(kan)

When you go out to eat you are not only looking for good food. Sure, that may be the first thing you think about, but location, atmosphere, energy, etc can truly become what makes the experience complete (unless the food is horrible, then all these other things are negated).

Think about your most memorable dining experiences (the positive ones). Close your eyes and open your senses. What do you see? What do you smell? How do you feel?

The Jailer escorts you to your table. As he opens the cell you slide on to your cold, metal seat. Soon the sweet aroma of BBQ ribs wafts by and you remember you’re hungry. After you fill yourself to the brim you search for your server, hoping they haven’t left you to rot (eventually, after a lot of digestion) behind bars. But hey, I guess if you can’t afford your meal they have an easy way of keeping you there! This was the Old Salt Lake City Jail restaurant in Salt Lake City. Even though I went when I was 10 or 11-years-old, it is still to this day one of the greatest dining experiences I have ever had.

Now I live in New York City. I live in a place known for having every food you can every think of (all all the others you could have never imagined). Some are simple holes in the wall that just have food so superb the order line runs down the street. Some provide views of the entire city with delectable dining above it all. New York restaurants are featured in late night shows, TV shows and movies. Needless to say, when dining in New York City, you have very high expectations.

Buddakan is one such place. However, it is deceiving in the beginning. While the entry/bar area is decorated very tastefully, it’s nothing to make you truly excited for your evening ahead. With your first round of drinks down the hatch, the host comes to take you to your table and you stop in your tracks as you approach the staircase.

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The picture just doesn’t do it justice

You finally hustle down the stairs as you realize the rest of your party is already at the bottom of the stairs and you will definitely get lost if you aren’t with them. Walking past the grand table with its chandeliers emitting the perfect soft glow, you imagine a feast with royalty seated around (or the cast of Sex and the City apparently as well). Walking through an archway you see tapestries draping some walls, scenes of angels taking you back to the 14th century, while another wall features many faces and colors of Buddha. You smile, you’re completely at peace and your stomach hasn’t even been satisfied yet!

I would proceed to post a picture of the food and discuss how delectable it is (and it truly is), but we ate it all to quickly for me to capture it. Instead, I’ll skip to dessert and just tell you that you NEED to eat here. If simply for the jaw-dropping view at the top of the stairs, it is a must experience while in New York City. It’s an amazing experience that stimulates and satisfies every sense, leaving the diner with nothing more to desire (rather than maybe just to stay and admire the scenery a little more while you try to finish that last bite of of your sweet dessert that has capped off everything so perfectly.

Buddakan dessert

I almost couldn’t eat it it looked so cool (almost that is)

So close your eyes, open your senses, and find yourself at Buddakan where the vision can never leave you, and if you’re afraid it is, you’ll just want to come back again for a refresher.

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