Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sushi and Sweethearts

As I wiped the night time from my eyes and untangled myself from the pool of sheets wrapped around my body, I rolled over to the sweetest smile I have ever seen. My little blue-eyed Valentine (and my big blue-eyed Valentine) had crawled into bed with me this morning. My sweet girl was grinning from ear to ear, so proud of what she and her daddy had created for me. She was waving a sheet of white paper that had been folded into the shape of a greeting card. There is no better way to wake up than right beside the sweetest two people on the planet. Valentine's day has never been a holiday that I have made a big deal out of, but have used it more as an excuse to go out on a date with Chris and buy him gifts. I also enjoy the occasional pink and red decorations and the endless possibilities when it comes to cookie decorating and red velvet cupcakes. Besides the desserts, dates, and decorations, it has never been an incredibly meaningful holiday to me. This year I did spend a few minutes reminiscing about the first Valentine's day Chris and I spent together. These thoughts then turned into a conversation between us about all of the Valentine's Days we have spent together complete with dinners out, a limo ride, a sneezy bouquet of lilies, sweet gifts, and last year's quiet night at home recovering from a C-section and enjoying decadent chocolate truffles made by my sweet husband.

This year, Valentine's weekend has been spent with both of my Valentines. We enjoyed sushi last night, and Chris made dinner at home tonight. More than the "Hallmarkness" of the holiday, this year, it has just been more of reason to cling to each other and revel in the beauty of family. This year, every minute I have spent with my two Valentines has been a lesson in giving and receiving unconditional love.

My handmade card this morning said it all, and made me truly appreciate this season of love:

We want you to know that we love you and appreciate all you do in our lives. You go out of your way every day to ensure that we have the special love we need to get through our day. We love to hear your voice and look forward to your beautiful face. Thank you for being such a strong mother and incredible wife. You make our lives easier and more enjoyable. We feel so blessed to have such a special person like you.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cake and Career

It's been a long time since I have posted anything. Much has happened, and things are changing every day around here. Several times I have sat down to write, and I can't make myself type the things I need to say. I can't seem to wrap my brain around all the thoughts swimming around in my head.

My little blue-eyed girl turned one about three weeks ago. I can't believe how much she has grown. I can't believe I am the mother of a one year old. She is on the verge of walking, and she is picking up the signs we are teaching her very quickly. "More" is the favorite, and she is also doing and understanding "down," "food," and "please." I am working on "thank you," but that one seems to baffle her still. We had a beautiful "Winter One-derland" first birthday party. It was filled with warm winter soups and breads, blue snowflake cupcakes, and blue and silver ribbons, cascades of snowflakes, and glittery snow everywhere! Dear friends and family joined us to celebrate, and everything was absolutely perfect!

That little Layla never ceases to amaze me with her kisses, love pats, curiousity, and sweet spirit. She pulls up on everything, laughs like a crazy woman when her daddy plays with her, and figured out just today how to open the wrapper of a Lindt truffle. By the time I got to her, the entire truffle was in her mouth and her little cheeks were puffed up like a chipmunk storing up for the winter. I wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time when I saw her.

My family, my Chris and Layla, are my rocks, my stability, my inspiration. Over the past weeks I have been wondering, "what next?" And I still don't know. I have been fortunate to have a whole year at home working hard to teach my little girl everything I can and love her as much as I can every single day. I have been able to make my home comfortable and welcoming. I have learned how to be a healthy cook and supporting wife. I have learned what it really means to be a mother, and what it really means to love unconditionally. I have spent a lot of time taking care of everyone, and I would not trade any minute of that for the world. But, I am learning now that I have to take care of myself too. If I can do that, then I am better for all the other people I take care of.

The one thing I have done for myself all along is exercise, eat right, and work hard to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I have hit that weight, and am working to lose about 5 more pounds. It is so wonderful to fit into the designer jeans Chris bought for me 5 years ago on Valentine's day! That makes me so happy, but there is more to life than fitting into designer jeans. I have always known this, but I am really starting to understand now just how much more.

I am in this constant battle in my mind these days. I am struggling with where to go next. Thus far, I have pretty much just floated through life, settling where I land. My first job after college was the first and only job I interviewed for. The job I took next was one that just fell into my lap. I was not even looking. A friend told me about this job, I sent in my resume, interviewed, and accepted the job all within a 5 day period of time. In the past 8 years, these are the only 2 jobs I have had. Four days after Layla's birth, my company closed its doors. I have not been back to work since.

Now, the time has come to find a new career. I can't imagine taking Layla somewhere and having someone else care for her. I know where we choose to send her will be just fine, and that she will be very happy. But, I dread the day I have to drop her off, walk away, and go to work. I know that my family needs me now to help pay the bills. I have to find my place again in the real world, and not just in my little world of Willow Pond. I just don't know where that place will be. Soon enough I will figure it out, and soon enough our lives will change, yet again!
*Photo courtesy of Ryan Justice*