one can’t forget about us.

This is a story I’d never thought I’d tell, either because it was too sacred or it would scare people off. A woman hearing voices while driving on the freeway tends to land her in the “yay! crazy!” sub genre of society. But allow me to explain.

Cody and I had been married several years. I was having some sort of early 20′s crisis over “is this it? this is all there is? an eternity more of this?” Don’t get me wrong, “this” was good, but a lifetime of Hamburger Helper (I didn’t know how to cook yet) and Friday night movies (come back Friday night movies!) seemed…well…boring.

I was talking to a friend about my crisis (I feel the needs to put air quotes around the world “crisis”) and he said “Did you ever think maybe it’s time for you guys to consider having kids?

PFFFFFFFFFFFFTTTTTT!!!!!!!” with a bunch of spittle sprang forth from my mouth. “KIDS? ME? I don’t even like kids! Why would I make one of my own that I am responsible for!?” (There was also an underlying fear that I wouldn’t be able to have kids due to several surgeries to remove benign tumors from my cervix.)

But after I was done talking to him I started to think, “Kids…huh. There has to be a reason people have them.” So when Cody got home I brought the topic up. He was totally not opposed to the idea, especially considering how babies are made. But we were still unable to look each other in the face and say “Let’s make a baby.” So we decided to go to the temple separately to pray for an answer.

My drive to the temple was a sunny one, blue sky, big puffy white clouds. I was mulling this kid business over in my head as I was driving when I heard “Yay! Mom’s going to know about us!” in the tiniest sweetest little voices. To say the wind was knocked out of me would be a dramatic understatement. I’ll also say it was a good thing I was already sitting.

The tears started…”Mom’s going to know about us.” and they didn’t stop. Not when I got to the temple, not when I went through the session and especially not when I was able to bow my head in personal prayer at the end. When I finally lifted my head I noticed I was surrounded by nice old ladies who worked in the temple, worried about when the snotty lady in the corner would finish it up already and “I wonder if she’s really okay?

I mean, there’s being touched by the spirit and then there’s being knocked flat to your knees I dare you to feel any other emotion but the overpowering love of God touched by the spirit. Whew, still wears me out to think of it almost eight years later.

I knew Cody and I had someone waiting for us. He had gotten the same answer but with far fewer emotions attached to it. Addie came into our lives within the next year (not without struggles of course) and we were happy. But I never forgot that those little voices in the car that day said “Mom is going to know about us.” Meaning more than one.

That tiny little moment filled with those tiny little voices carried me through the last six years. Addie was meant to be part of a them. Part of an us. A pair. Of course I was frustrated that I was promised an “us” and that “us” came much slower than any of us expected.

But I grew up, I changed, I learned. I was shaped by the experiences and the people I met and even now I am learning more and more about my capacity to love and hope and dream. Both of my babies have been trapped inside my broken body at some point. While they’ll never remember the experience, I will. There are times when I hug Addie and remember how we made it through one of the darkest times of my life together, literally.

The same will be true of Mozzi. That first moment I hold her I will be able to look at her and say “we did this, together.

I was talking with a beloved friend this last week and she mentioned that her first baby was her heart and her second baby was her soul.

Addie is my whole heart and everyday with Mozzi inside me the capacity for my soul to thrive grows.

moosh 1.0 t-shirt and moosh 2.0 onesie

I will never be able to thank them enough for letting me know about them before I even knew of my capabilities and blessings that would result from being their mom.

silver underwire lining.

The average bra size in America is somewhere between a 34B and 36C. In fact 72% of ladies fall within the B/C cup realm.

I was complaining the other night that the underwire on my 34D bra was entrenched between my ever expanding belly and my enormous pregnancy rack. It’s pretty much the pregnancy equivalent of wearing too tight pants that make you fart.

Very uncomfortable.

Twitter suggested I get thee hence to Nordstrom for a proper fitting, so last night I did just that.  As soon as I took off my shirt so I could be measured, I heard “Oh honey, what is this a C cup?”

“It’s…it’s a D.”

“Oh honey, that D is tired.”

She measured, poked, prodded, asked about my underwear and went out to gather up some possibilities.

She came back with a pink lacy bra that could have easily caught fallen trapeze artists at the circus and slingshot them back up to their starting point.

I’ll admit, once it was on it looked nothing like my old bra. Instead of cleavage coming up to my chin I had two perfectly lifted and separated ladies. (I also admitted in the dressing room that my ladies are named, Mildred and Unis, apparently it’s not normal to name them, or at least if people do they don’t admit it while a stranger straps them into a couple of pink shopping bags.)

I took a deep breath to look at the price…Nordstrom isn’t exactly the cheapest place to buy bras, but damn they know their stuff.

When I looked at the tag I didn’t see dollar signs. I saw five different sizes in five different languages.

what I've been reduced to. (enlarged?)

All of them proclaiming me to be so far past average I had entered the porn star realm of chest sizes.

Suddenly I could hear a faint but distinct cheer from the children’s section where Cody was patiently waiting with Addie.

I had completely skipped several letters of the alphabet, while my band size stayed the same. When I let out a horrified gasp my fitter said “Oh honey, you’re not even done either, just wait until you come back for your nursing bras.”

The “Oh, honeys” really took the edge off, it was as if she were standing there staring at my 39″ belly, my giant fun bags and sending out a sincere “bless your heart” to my back.

She brought in more bras to try but the hilarity of their enormousness overtook me and I had to get out.

The one I bought fits on my head like a strange little Lycra helmet.

Addie woke up at 5 am today to play with a new Barbie that Tiny Gramma had given her. Shortly after I got Addie back in bed with threats of Barbies sleeping with the fishes when played with at 5 am I crawled back into my own bed to a sleepy cheer, apparently Cody was excited about his new toys too.

I fell back asleep attempting to appreciate my newest blessings as much as my darling husband and I came up with a few bonuses.

- Cody now has two pillow pets, whereas Addie still only has one. (Don’t tell her though please.)

- When this pregnancy is over and they’re back to their deflated belly button skimming position, I’ll have an excellent reusable cantaloupe/honeydew/pumpkin/watermelon carrying bag.

- Maybe this time they’ll work for the purpose Mozzi requires of them, they never did work with Addie, more on that one later.

- The more I have in front the smaller I look in the back (optical illusions!)

- Given gravity, the amount of time I spend horizontal is only doing my ladies (and my back) giant exponential favors.

- Cleavage is natures pocket for when you don’t want to carry a purse. My pocket has been upgraded to a mid size SUV.

Alli has been demanding that I be pushed around the Opryland Hotel (compound) in a wheelchair this week at the Blissdom conference. My pride says “NO WAY ARE WE BEING PUT IN A WHEELCHAIR!” However everything below my neck says “SCREW YOUR PRIDE AND SIT YOUR BUTT DOWN.”

And right now I can tell you that my boobs alone are bigger than my pride.

(look! me upright (wishing I weren’t) speaking at the monthly Social Media Club meeting in Indianapolis! photo by Joe.)

how to be depressed. part 2.

I have been medicated for almost two weeks. “They” say that it takes about 21 days for any new treatment to really make a difference. Hopefully “they” are right, because while I do feel much better and Cody hasn’t come home to me crumpled in a corner sobbing for two weeks…I still feel as though I am watching instead of fully participating in my life.

You need to give yourself time to get better. I need to give myself time to get better. In a perfectly medicated world I would be able to take a pill and 2 to 3 hours later be fully participating in life. Like when I would take vicodin tylenol for cramps. But the brain doesn’t work that way. Emotions don’t work that way. The best way I can think to describe it is when Addie was six weeks old I tried to go out for a night of dancing, dining and general merriment. I could barely keep myself upright. Babies eat your abdominal muscles for lunch and just because the baby has been out for six weeks doesn’t mean your abdominals are back to their pre baby dancing shape. It would be ridiculous to think otherwise.

The same with depression. It eats your brain for lunch, knocks you to your knees and until you hit rock bottom where the ground is cold and hard and slimy you can’t begin to work your way back up. Even more importantly you can’t work your way back out quickly. Even with medication.

Imagine being trapped in a 1,000 foot jello mold with nothing but a toothpick to get yourself out. You can see a blurry reality through the jello and so you start digging your way out with your toothpick. If you have someone supporting you, your toothpick can be bumped up to a chopstick. If you choose to go to a doctor for help your chopstick becomes a plastic spoon. As you continue on with your therapy your plastic spoon becomes a wooden spoon and soon it turns into a ladle. Digging has become easier, but you still have a lot of digging to do to make it to the sunshine on the other side.

Right now I feel as though I have a sturdy wooden spoon in my hand (I also suddenly have an insatiable craving for red jello) and I can’t thank the friends around me who have jumped into the jello with me with their toothpicks made up of dinners, encouraging notes, baked goods and emails that have helped me dig my way out with just a little more spunk.

I have to remind myself that I have a lot of people relying on me to get this right. Especially mozzi. To try and speed up my recovery wouldn’t be fair to her. I have to heal properly. I have to recover as fully as I can. I have to be whole when she’s placed in my arms.

A giant jello mold is no place for babies.

my ladies.

*driving in the car listening to Christmas music*

“Mom?”

“Yes?”

“Christmas and I have the same first name.”

(Her actual first name is Mary…)

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*snuggled up singing her ‘Silent Night’ before bedtime*

“Silent night, holy night, all is calm all is bright…um…all is calm, all is bright…shoot…”

*she turns and barks out in a whisper*

GO ROUND UP YOUR VIRGINS!

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*singing along to Taylor Swift’s ‘Sparks Fly’*

Proper lyrics: “Drop everything now, meet me in the pouring rain, kiss me on the sidewalk, take away the pain.

Addie’s lyrics: “Drop everything now, meet me in the pouting rain, kiss me in the sidewalk, take away the paint.

“Mom, why does she want him to take away the paint? Is it the wrong color?”

**********

“Addie! Sissy and Thomas are coming to see us!”

“OH! Make sure Thomas brings his fancy gel.”

However no one’s really sure what fancy gel is.

**********

Also, this just in. Mozzi is lazy. Or she has way too much room in there for her little stunts.

Emily is giving away the world’s coolest diaper bag in celebration of Mozzi, you have until Saturday to enter, go!

sixth grade dreams and a lifetime of reality.

Why don’t you brush your teeth?

That was the first thing out of the mouth of the boy I was hopelessly head over heels for in sixth grade.

I tried to explain that I did brush my teeth, in fact I had never had a cavity! But I had too much fluoride as a kid and what resulted were mottled splotchy teeth, a condition known as hyper fluorosis.

I walked home that day with my friend Amy, fantasizing about the day that my little ugly duckling self would evolve into a swan.

I’ll get my teeth fixed! I’ll get contacts! I’ll let my hair grow long! I’ll get new clothes! Tim will never know what hit him!”

Circa 1992

Of course it took nearly five years to get my teeth fixed and once we finally did my mom could only afford to have the front two veneered. I finally got contacts my junior year of high school and my hair didn’t get long until I was married. *sigh* But during those seven-ish years I learned that my happiness wasn’t based on my hair, my teeth or what I wore on my face. And slowly…confidence came. (I mean, I still TOTALLY cared about my hair, teeth, clothes and glasses…but they weren’t everything.)

Through the magic of facebook I found Tim, but with nearly twenty years between that stinging comment that helped shape/destroy my confidence through the rest of my adolescence and now? I didn’t really care. And I really doubt he does either. Or that he even remembers saying it.

But man, it hurt. And it’s obviously stuck with me.

Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults, if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.” -Baz Luhrmann

My little kid is in school now, with other kids who may not take her feelings into consideration. One day she will probably come across a Tim and he may try to destroy everything she knows to be true about herself in less than ten words. I work consciously every day to show my little kid that happiness doesn’t come from what you wear, what you look like or even more importantly what others say about you. Happiness comes from how you feel about yourself, and how you treat those around you.

It may be our most important job as her parents to help her realize, and hold onto, her self worth. Even when others attempt to destroy it. Of course I want my kid to be wicked smart, but above all else? I want her to be kind, to herself and to those around her.

I had the opportunity to talk about self confidence in myself, my little kid and the others around me with four other ladies. We all want the best for our kids, but at the same time we all realize that awkward growing pains are a part of life, and we’re going to do our best to get our kids through them.

How do you attempt instill an unshakable confidence in your kids?

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Are you a parent to a teen? Could their confidence be vastly improved with a new smile? Blissfully Domestic and Invisalign Teen are giving away a full treatment (up to $5,500) to one deserving teen. Get the full details at the Invisalign Teen contest page on Blissfully Domestic with several ways to enter.

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I was fortunate to be able to participate in this campaign with Invisalign Teen. I was compensated for my time in sharing my story and the Invisalign Teen contest with Blissfully Domestic, not for promoting a specific product (although you have to admit it’s a pretty darn cool product.) The statements and opinions are my own.

loce.

When Cody and I were first together I felt the need to justify our relationship, to make the good exponentially awesome and pretend the bad didn’t exist. A lot of people (pretty much everyone who had ever known me) expected us (specifically me) to fail. I had gone from a wild and reckless existence to married in six months.

Most anyone will deny the possibility of knowing you were meant to marry someone in one single clarifying moment.

But that’s exactly what happened with Cody, three weeks after our first date. In one moment I saw us getting married, me having his babies and us growing old together. I can remember it with perfect clarity.

Cody often tells me how hard that first year was…I don’t remember much of it. Because it was also the first year that I was forced to face my emotions without drugs or alcohol. Of course it was hard for him, he had to watch his new bride fall apart and (at the time) he felt there was nothing he could do for me.

But he never gave up on me.

When I mentioned divorce in passing he always responded with “Ending will never be an option.”

Years went by, jobs came and went, apartments came and went, our waistlines came and went and finally I ended up pregnant with Addie. Again, he had to sit on the sidelines and watch as his wife crumbled around the tiny baby growing inside her. He was within feet of me as my body tried to get rid of all the pills I had taken to end not only my life, but his daughter’s life as well. When I woke up he asked if I wanted to watch Oprah and when I was finally released if I wanted to go to the baby store to pick some things out.

Unfortunately I was transferred to an inpatient facility for the next three days where there was no Oprah, baby stuff or Cody.

The night I was released he was never more than an arms length away from me.

More time went by, me falling back on him through postpartum depression, moving and finally going to law school. He always caught me. Law school wasn’t kind. I was forced to fall other places, Cody had to focus on school. It was for our future, for our family. Unfortunately one of the places I fell more than I should have was onto credit cards. By the time school came to an end I think we had both forgotten how to love each other. We both made mistakes. We both acknowledge them.

Love cannot be shown in deed and duty alone.

By October of 2009 we were on the thinnest ice possible. I was ready for the end. 8 years…we did good. We tried. It was going to end.

But Cody stayed true to what he said our first year. “Ending will never be an option.

He promised me that from that day forth I would never go a day without knowing just how much he loves me.

Once again I was washed over with clarity and this sense of peace, we would make it through this. We would grow old together. We would be okay.

Getting back to okay was hard as hell. For once we both had to lean on each other when each of us were at our most weak and vulnerable. But we made it. Some days hour to hour, until it became day to day…and now. We are just us, we will always be us, for time and all eternity.

His hands make me melt. His smile causes pitter patters. I get giddy when he walks into a room. He has become the safest, strongest most reliable thing I know. Of all the things on this earth he is my most prized possession. And our babies are a tangible extension of two people so in love that if the rest of the world fell away we’d still be complete because we have each other.

Oh how I love him.

(photo by Kim Orlandini)

there’s a party in my tummy, no wait…

Apparently there’s a reason to party in my tummy.

Did you see this?

Apparently a crap ton of you are in on it and have been since like, forever and I had no idea.

Cody included.

HOW DO YOU PEOPLE KEEP SECRETS? Can you write a book? And can I get a galley copy of said book?

Because secrets? Are not on my “major life skills list.” Also not on that list? The ability to sit through A Capella performances. Or watch commercials that feature monkeys dressed as humans acting as humans.

So anyway. I’m overwhelmed with emotions. And with love for my Emily, and for everyone who has agreed to help her.

Michael, me, Emily.

I must have done something right somewhere in my life to have such amazing people in it.

Thank you. All of you.

(Also, this post about infertility is easily the best one I have ever read. Ever. Emily sent it to me.)

socked in the gut.

Baby’s moving like crazy?”

“Yes, but I don’t remember feeling everything so low last time.”

Yeah, it’s because it’s your second. Everything’s looser in there.

Which led me to this.

the sock uterine comparison.

If your family is anything like mine, there’s reminders of your stretchy, stretchy uterus on the floor in every room. Especially right in front of the couch.