Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why I win the award for having the sweetest sister

I have this sister.  She looks like this:

Ashley and Andy Photo Shoot 227

Well.  She did last May.  Hair’s a little different now.  But she’s still awesome.

You see, my sister tickles me to no end.  Partially because she’s the cheapest person I know.  I’d go so far as to say that she is cheaper than my dad.  I think she probably still has her allowance from when she was seven saved in a jar in her bedroom.  And she calls the electric company every month to verify/complain about her rates (in her defense…they ARE ridiculous).  But this sister of mine, she did something very special for my birthday this year.  Something that made me cry.  That’s still making me cry just a little bit when I think about it right now.

Do you remember this post?  Where I explained all of the baby gear that I’m excited about?  And the stroller that I have a crush on?  The guy who looks like this?


Well, that guy is in my house.  He came on Monday.  And he is even more wonderful in person.  And he’s all mine—my very special birthday present from my very special sister. 

Seriously.  Best.present.ever. 

Poor Andy.  He’ll never be able to top that :)

And that’s why my sister is the sweetest sister ever.

Lauren—Liam is so lucky to have you as an aunt.  This kid won the aunt lottery!  You’ll be his favorite—no question about it.  You’re already my favorite :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Strange Morning

So this morning, we did something a bit odd.  We did a photo shoot for a local musician who is trying to sell his t-shirts on his website.  One of Andy’s co-workers is friends with this musician, and told him he knew  a good photographer (Andy…who shoots all of their work images and edits them to be lovely…because clearly anyone who can shoot ATV parts can do people too ;)) who could do it….so we did.

Did I mention that it was 11 degrees outside this morning?

And that both models (Andy’s coworker and his female friend) were wearing t-shirts and t-shirts only to get their picture taken?

And that there are still totally 5 inches of snow everywhere?

And that the girl weighed 12 pounds dripping wet?  Seriously.  She makes my sister look heavy which shouldn’t be humanly possible.  She had to pin back her extra-small t-shirt because it was too big.

And I had to haul my hugenormous pregnant self around out in the snow?  Wearing two layers of pants and three shirts.  So I looked even more whale-like. 

Honestly, though, it was fun.  All of those were the things I was thinking BEFORE we started shooting.  It was actually sort of fun to do.  Andy was funny.  He finally realized the beauty of the lens he bought me for my birthday last year—he never got it before, but now he does.  It’s fabulous.  Also, I don’t know how to choose an appropriate white balance.  I need practice.  But I’ll wait until temperatures rise above freezing.

Now we’re home and thawed out, and I’m going to go make a spring-like lunch of pita and hummus and tomato salad and convince myself that it’s not freezing outside….until we go to Lowes later, that is.  Because then we’ll get cold all over again.  This whole day makes me feel like we’re sort of odd….taking pictures of people in t-shirts in the freezing cold and gearing up for an exciting trip to Lowes (I hate to admit how much I love Lowes trips with my husband…it makes me feel old).  What a weekend. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baby Fun

So forever and a day ago, I posted the baby toys that make my heart go pitter-patter.  And I planned on looking at the gear that I thought looked super awesome (especially so I could feedback—this is looking right at you Mrs. Eddie).  And then I didn’t.  I got busy.  Lazy.  Tired.  Other things.  So I put it off.  But my very first baby shower was scheduled last weekend (the first Sunday in April…with our church ladies—it’ll be here quick!) and it made me start to think about registries and such.  Since we should probably do that sometime in the next month or so.  (Sidenote: I love registries….I think they are fabulous and wonderful and I have my own gift buying code that I think the whole world should follow (of course they don’t because some people just don’t think like I do…and I’ll post about it later)  So without further ado, the baby gear (the big stuff….not the little) that will probably most likely be making it’s way onto my registry:

Most of these things are sort of a general, and I’ll pick a specific once we’re at the store.  But this first one is a total specific.

The Joovy Scooter Stroller.  I am for real in love with this little guy.  I was in love with the Kooper, until I saw the Scooter.  The Scooter answered the one concern I had with the Kooper—the ability to attach a carseat.  I would love for us to be a one stroller family—I don’t see the point in having lots of extra stuff around (you fit in our 10 sq. foot house), so the Joovy Strollers were speaking to me as great all-purpose strollers.  And the fact that the Scooter works with the Graco Snugride carseats makes it a done deal for me.


Since we want the Scooter, the obvious choice for a carseat is a Graco Snugride.  I will probably go with the Snugride 32 or 35…since the regular one only goes to 22 pounds, and that sounds too small.

graco snugride

A Babyhawk baby carrier.  I may not register for this one.  I might design my own and just purchase it myself through their website.  It might be my birthday present to myself.  I know for sure that I want a carrier because I will want to take Oliver and Liam for walks together next summer..and there is no way I am going to try to use a stroller with Oliver when I’m by myself.  That kid is nuts.  I like the versatility of the Babyhawk—and the fact that it comes in pretty fabrics and can be folded up and put in a diaper bag for easy transport unlike the solid carriers.


A Bumbo chair and a Boppy pillow.  The Bumbo is great for when Liam can hold his head up, but can’t support himself.  He can watch the world around him.  And the Boppy seems like nothing short of brilliant—good for propping a baby, for breastfeeding, and for tummy time.  How can you go wrong?

boppy pillow bumbo I

A crib soother of some sort and a motion monitor.  The crib soother is sort of obvious.  The motion/sound monitor seems like a good choice for us.  We’re planning to try sleeping Liam in his crib from the very beginning because we really don’t have the space for a portable crib or bassinet.  I think the motion monitor will be bring me peace of mind if nothing else—it sounds an alarm if the baby has been still too long.  SIDS is a real concern, and I like the idea of the monitor.

crib soother monitor

My mom’s favorites—the high chair/shopping cart cover and the portable diaper pad cover.  For those out in public with all the icky germs times.

51qSfX1WPVL__SL500_AA300_ Diaper Changing Cover

And a portable swing.  I feel like the portable does the same thing at the full sized..for half the size and cost. 

portable swing

So there are some of the things I’m planning on adding to our registry.  Andy and I realized this weekend that we registered for wedding gifts on my birthday date (the date to celebrate my birthday) four years ago….and I think we should do it again to keep up the tradition :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Discouragement and Hormones

Is it just me or does January feel forever long?  I feel like this month just keeps coming….like it’s never going to end.  I don’t know if it’s because we’ve had two major snows already so I feel like winter should be over, or what.  But January is not my favorite this year.  And if we’re honest, I don’t hold out high hopes for February either.

This month just feels miserable right now.  It’s cold outside.  My clothes are all weird.  I have to bend over funny.  And I think  I’m just bored.  With life in general.  I have moments that are nice, but overall,  I think my attitude could use some serious adjusting.

I got sick over the weekend.  I think it’s safe to say I had my first migraine since I was sixteen.  And Andy was gone….like three hours away gone.  It was horrible.  I wanted to call my mommy and ask her to come take care of me.  I didn’t, though, because I knew she would, and I would feel bad asking her to drive three hours for that.  I spent all day Saturday on the sofa.  I cried a lot.  A LOT.  For the first time, I was actually desperate and devastated that we didn’t live closer to one of our parents because I really could have used one of my moms.  Ollie could have too.  The poor kid laid with me all day trying to help me feel better.  I went back and forth all day about calling Andy and asking him to come home.  I have since been informed by a large number of people that they would have been more than willing to come over and help me out, and that I should have called. 

Beyond that, I think I’m just hyper-sensitive right now.  My hormones are definitely kicking in a variety of ways.  I feel the need to cry often.  Not over anything, really.  Just to cry.  Some mornings I cry when I get ready for work.  Sometimes it’s in the afternoon.  Sometimes just because. 

And I’m tired.  And I miss the sunshine.  I could really use some sunshine.  And my friends.  I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve had any sort of quality time with someone my age.  I was so jealous of Andy (more excited for him, but if I’m being honest, jealous too) that he was with college friends this weekend.  It was fine when I was supposed to be in Louisville with the wife of one of those friends….but then I got sick and couldn’t go, and it was devastating.  I think I just needed the chance to be normal, to hang out with a friend and do regular things…like go to a mall and get lunch.  I don’t even remember the last time  I did that.  It’s definitely been over a year.

So yeah.  January.  It’s forever long and I’m struggling. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dear Dominos Girl

Dear Dominos Girl,

I think I might owe you an apology.  I mean, you poor thing.  I don’t know how much they pay you, but I can say that no amount that is enough to make me want to walk through neighborhoods in a polyester uniform leaving coupons and sales ads in the middle of January.  So I feel for you already.  But then you got to my front door.  And I’m afraid there was a boy in the window who was terribly rude.  And I’d like to apologize for his behavior.

You see, Domino’s girl, that boy is named Oliver.  He’s usually fairly well-behaved, but he does bark at strangers in the window.  Usually it’s a regular bark, you know, just to sound a little tough and scary.  Unfortunately for you, this isn’t a usual weekend.  You see, Oliver’s daddy is gone this weekend hanging out with some friends from Purdue.  So Ollie is the man of the house.  And he takes that job very seriously.   Any noise out of the ordinary puts him in a real tizzy.  He wants to make sure that his mom and little brother are taken care of, and he will bark as loud as he can to make sure that happens.  Last night he laid in bed barking and growling at nothing for two hours just to make sure no one would come near.  Also unfortunately for you, his mommy has been very sick all day.  She’s been crying a lot because of the pain she’s in (headache mostly) and that is making him even more sensitive.  You see, he hasn’t left her side, and has been very cautious to make sure she’s okay.  But that really put him on edge…so when you walked up to our front door, you saw our boy unleash his crazy bark.  I’ve never really seen him puff out his chest at anyone like he did you.  It was interesting to say the least.

So….I guess what I’m saying Domino’s girl, is that you picked a bad day to approach our house, and I apologize for any stress or trauma caused by our family this afternoon.  We’re generally very nice people, and we love coupons.

Thanks for understanding,

Oliver’s Mom

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On being 21 weeks pregnant

I realized that I would really like to have some things written down for the future….when I’m not right in the middle of pregnancy and these things are just memories.  So here are some things I thought I would want to remember.

MOVEMENT: I felt Liam for the first time the morning after Christmas.  We were at my mom and dad’s house, and Andy was in the shower.  I was still in bed, and I started to feel a fluttering.  Since then it has progressed and he moves a whole lot.  I feel him several times a day.  Andy hasn’t felt him yet (he’s still too small, I think), but he loves it when I tell him what’s going on.  During our ultrasound, he was spinning in circles and I could feel it as we watched it.  It was a really special moment.

CRAVINGS: I think I’ve narrowed down the category of my cravings: salt and fresh.  I have been obsessed with fruit/avocado/and anything that gives me a nice cool refreshing flavor.  Mostly citrus fruit, but I did buy blueberries yesterday and they have been wonderful.  As for salt, meats, cheeses, and nuts seem to be the tops here.

SYMPTOMS: I have a weird spasm in my back on the lower left side.  It’s incredibly painful at times, and makes my leg tighten up.  If I smell weird/gross things, I gag (this predominantly happens in the teacher’s lounge at school).  I’m starting to feel tired a little easier again.  That’s really about it.

CLOTHES:  Liam is sitting REALLY low…so even before I was showing, my pants were fitting funny.  I’ve been in maternity pants for several weeks already.  I had been fine with my regular shirts, but I reached a point in the last few days (literally last Friday) where most of those don’t work either.  A lot of what fit fine a week or two ago is now lifting up really high, and I won’t do the pregnant girl with her belly out look.  I may live in Southern Indiana, but I don’t have to look like I’m from here.  I just sorted through the maternity tops I am borrowing, and figured out what I need.  Sweaters.  I don’t think I have a single one.  So I need to start doing some looking/shopping.  As much as I don’t want to buy anything, I think I will need some….since that’s what I wear every day in the winter.  Of course, I haven’t found much that I love either, which makes it harder to want to spend money.  So I’m just kind of eh about the whole thing.

FUN MOMENTS: Seeing Liam, choosing his name, getting the stuff I ordered for the nursery in the mail, hanging out with Andy and talking and dreaming about the future, opening Christmas presents for our little boy.  All sorts of things, really.

MOMENTS THAT WILL BE FUNNY LATER: One of my high school students looked at me yesterday and said, “Gosh, you’re getting bigger and bigger every day.”  We had a brief class discussion about tact and class and things you just don’t say to people ever, and I threatened them all with a lunch detention if they are rude again.  Sneezing and peeing.  Gagging and peeing.  Rolling off the couch gasping when my leg spasm acts up and it hurts to stand up.  Tipping over or moving awkwardly because my center of balance is off.


Our sweet boy’s name:

Liam Robert Cook

Liam was the only boy name that Andy and I ever agreed on.  We narrowed it down to a favorite four….and we both had different favorites within the four, except for Liam.  It topped out both name lists.  His name means “strong willed warrior” or “protector” depending on where you look.

Robert is obviously Andy’s grandpa.  One of the last things he said to Andy’s mom the day before he was admitted to the hospital was that he was glad there was going to be a little boy to carry on the Cook name.  It was something that stuck with Andy and I both, and we wanted to honor his grandpa and carry on his whole name.  So Liam’s middle name became an easy decision from there.

And there’s the story behind our boy’s name. 

(Also…..I think Oliver loves him already….he snatched an ultrasound picture off a table and ran around the house with it in his mouth and wouldn’t give it back….clearly, the rotten boy is already enamored with his baby brother.  Or he’s just rotten)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Family Weekend

Andy's grandpa did pass away last week.  It was a long week, and the internet was the last thing on my mind.


We were in Indy for the funeral over the weekend, and it was honestly one of the most special, sweet services I have ever attended.  I married into a pretty awesome family.  Each member of the family wrote a letter to grandpa containing some of their favorite memories and lessons from over the year, and a family member read excerpts of them during the service.  I don't know that there was a dry eye in the room.  Several things became a constant theme, almost a refrain of the important moments and ideas in Grandpa's life.  So many wrote about his love and adoration for Grandma.  Each of his sons and many of his grandsons wrote about his passion for his work and his family, and how he strove to provide for them and care for him.  His passion for woodworking and the lessons he taught his kids and grandkids in the shop.  All of these things and so much more were repeated throughout.  It was really incredible.


We ended up spending the weekend in Indy, staying with the family.  It was such a nice time.  I have so appreciated the opportunity to get to know Andy's aunts and uncles and cousins these past few weekends.  His aunt and uncle from California are seriously Oliver's favorite people.  Probably mine too. J They are so sweet and loving and so much fun.  Watching the way his uncle Jim's family has banded together and works together brings tears to my eyes.  His sons are incredible.  They have grown up so quickly as a result of their dad's accident, and are just phenomenal kids.  I got to do the crossword puzzle with the older son in that family yesterday, and it was such a sweet time.  He's applying to and being accepted to colleges and it was fun to talk about that process with him.  We talked books and life and all sorts of things.  I got to hear stories and watch them all interact with each other, and it just blew me away.  I've never seen a family like this one.  They are making plans to find ways to keep everyone together…plans to get together somewhere at least every other year or so.   I really hope it happens because this is a really extraordinary family and I want our son to grow up knowing them, and knowing where he came from.

Monday, January 3, 2011

When Life Meets Lists

 I started Friday strong.  I made a few lists.  One of them called "House Projects 2011" that's well over a page long.  Another for my groceries.  Another with my schedule for this week.  And one with the meals I could make based on the groceries I had purchased.  I had my coupons sorted and ready to go.  I knew what I needed for my different errands around town.  I had plans to get the Christmas decorations down, to do the laundry, and to do some serious work in baby boy's room.


And all that went awry.


Friday night, Andy's mom called to say that they were rushing Grandpa to the hospital, and that things weren't looking good.  By Saturday morning, the diagnosis was clear: renal failure.  His last coherent thoughts and words were to tell the doctor that he didn't want to just exist, and that he's been existing and not living for a while now.  That pretty much settled it.  He was transferred to a hospice center nearby in the middle of the night.  Andy's dad called Saturday morning to tell us that if we wanted our chance to say good-bye, we needed to get to Indianapolis.


So we went.  And we stayed.


We spent Saturday in the hospice center.  We spent Sunday in the hospice center.  We were with Andy's family….his grandpa was surrounded.  One son had sent his children back to California while he and his wife stayed behind.  A daughter reached her home in DC and turned around to come back.  Nearly all of the grandkids have been to Indy in the last week, and had their chance to see him.  We left yesterday, a heaviness in our hearts, realizing that we'll never see his grandpa alive again. 


That's a hard pill to swallow.


So now we're home.  Faking normal.  Meals will be made.  Dishes will be done.  But all with the knowledge that things aren't normal.  They aren't okay.  The lists aren't going to get finished this week.  And that's okay.


Because instead, our hearts are sitting in that hospice center with the rest of the family sitting vigil.  We're thinking about grandpa, laughing at the memories.  Realizing that his funeral will be a celebration of a life well-lived.  Feeling sad as we realize that we'll never get to walk in his patio door and hear him say, "Well hello there" in the way that only he does.  It'll be a week spent waiting.  Waiting for the sad, the inevitable.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


So…as soon as we found out for sure that our little boy was indeed a little boy, my ideas started to solidify.  I totally have the nursery all planned….and it will be ready way early and I can’t wait to share it.

Beyond nursery ideas, though, I have some very specific baby blankets that I adore.  They are cotton on one side (with a pattern) and minky dot on the other.  They sell for like 40 dollars all over Etsy.  My mom has agreed to make a few, I just need to decide what I want.  So…here are some of the cotton patterns that have caught my eye….once I narrow it down to a reasonable number (maybe two or three…mama?), I can pick the coordinating minky dot pattern and order it with all the other fabric I need for my other projects.  So….tell me what you think!

fabric1 fabric2 fabric3 fabric4 fabric5 fabric6 fabric7 fabric9 fabric10

Our boy

So I have a disk full of pictures, but something tells me that sharing all 40 whatever would be an overshare.  So here are two sweet ones (I have a pretty awesome diaper shot, but something tells me that our little boy would not appreciate me putting a picture of his little winkus up on the internet for all the world to see.  So I’ll keep that to myself…just know that he wasn’t afraid to show off the goods, and totally mooned the ultrasound…..he’s so his dad’s son :)).



A New Year’s Announcement!